Student success in creativity and tech.
Full Sail University invests in Adobe Creative Cloud to give students hands-on experience with professional tools.
Stay relevant in the fast-evolving media and entertainment business
Set students up for career success with practical knowledge and industry experience
Give faculty and students resources to enhance their creativity and work faster
Invested heavily in digital technologies and virtual learning for decades
Provided Adobe Creative Cloud to familiarize students with industry-standard tools
Created new potential for visual storytelling with expanded access to the Adobe Stock collection
Technology becomes a tailwind for Full Sail University
Full Sail University helps students find real-world success in entertainment, media, arts, and technology with project-based coursework taught by industry veterans and accelerated degree programs so students can start their careers sooner. The approach is different than a traditional university — and it works. Full Sail graduates have made their mark on pop culture with award-winning music albums, popular films and TV shows, emerging technologies, and top-selling video games.
The university has come a long way since 1979, when it launched a small workshop program in the recording arts. Today, Full Sail offers full degree programs in art and design, business, technology, film and television, game development, media and communications, music, sportscasting, and more. Its programs are steeped in technology, and Full Sail has always had the vision to invest in digital tools of all kinds.
“Everything we do is geared toward student success, so we invest in technology that’s relevant for them and helps them achieve their dreams after graduation,” says Scott Dansby, Director of Industry Relations at Full Sail University. “We’ve offered virtual learning for more than a decade, and we’re always evolving our degree programs to keep up with emerging technology — such as computer animation and game design.”
The university was earlier than many educational institutions to implement a learning management system (LMS). In 2007, Full Sail Online was built from the ground up to replicate the unique campus culture at Full Sail — a media-rich digital environment enabling project-based learning and one-on-one interactions among students and faculty. Launching that platform was a big turning point for the institution, opening the door to virtual degree programs for students around the world. In addition, Full Sail has a university-wide program called Project LaunchBox that provides students with powerful technology.
“Project LaunchBox starts everyone out with the same laptop and software based on their specific degree programs,” says Casey Tanous, Director of Public Relations at Full Sail University. “That removes many of the hurdles faculty face when they’re teaching students, and it paves the way for seamless collaboration.”
One of the “goodies” students acquire through their LaunchBox is Adobe Creative Cloud. Full Sail has provided Adobe Creative Cloud for students since 2014. As industry-standard tools of the trade, Adobe Creative Cloud apps are essential to many of the degree programs Full Sail offers. That makes for a large user base that is constantly shifting as new students arrive every month and others graduate. Through its Creative Cloud subscription, the university uses the Adobe Admin Console to give immediate license access to eager new students as they matriculate. And the university’s connection with Adobe goes beyond more than the apps themselves.
“Adobe has always been a great partner to Full Sail University, helping us connect with other industry professionals who are using the products in unique and important ways,” says Dansby. “The relationship is a great resource for guest speakers and lecturers, as well as special projects and Adobe Creative Jams.”
“Adobe has always been a great partner to Full Sail University, helping us connect with other industry professionals who are using the products in unique and important ways.”
Director of Industry Relations, Full Sail University
Classes stay on course during a pandemic
Full Sail’s investment in technology paid off for students and staff, especially when the university seamlessly helped over 5,000 campus-based students transition to a fully virtual learning model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had the foresight and vision to go online over a decade ago, and we’re extremely grateful now to have such a robust platform in place supporting over 17,000 students,” says Dansby. “We moved everyone to virtual learning in a matter of days, and students were able to continue with their coursework without interruption.”
As students and faculty adapted to virtual learning, their access to Adobe Creative Cloud kept them on track and even gave them new ways to approach their assignments. In particular, Full Sail saw a big spike in sourcing assets through Adobe Stock during the pandemic — a result of students and faculty not being able to conduct as many in-person photo shoots.
“Having access to Adobe Stock was a huge benefit to many students attending full time and trying to meet project deadlines,” says Dansby. It also helps faculty prepare instructional materials faster, as they can grab assets they need without creating them from scratch. And integration with tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro makes it easy for students and faculty to license assets and add them directly into a project sequence.
Recently, Full Sail extended its Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and that has opened up its Adobe Stock collection access to include video, motion graphics, audio clips, and 3D elements. Now students have even more resources at their fingertips, helping to drive their creativity whether on campus or at home.
Removing the intimidation factor from professional apps
In many degree programs, Adobe apps aren’t just useful tools, they’re an essential part of the curriculum. That’s why Full Sail requires students to take a New Media Tools class preparing them for degree programs in Media Communication, Entertainment Business, Music Business, Sportscasting, Film, Digital Cinematography, and Creative Writing.
“I’m responsible for making sure no one is afraid to open an Adobe Creative Cloud app,” says Pete Episcopo, Course Director for New Media Tools at Full Sail. “I take students in all of our degrees through a series of introductory tutorials, and they learn how to use six Adobe apps in one month.”
Students start by designing a logo in Adobe Illustrator and animating it in After Effects. They create a composite image in Adobe Photoshop. They process audio in Adobe Audition and edit video in Premiere Pro. At the end, they pull together a portfolio in Adobe InDesign. And they move their files from app to app, becoming familiar with the Creative Cloud Libraries workflow.
Episcopo is working to integrate Adobe Stock into his tutorials, knowing how important stock assets are to the creative process. “Visual metaphors are huge in storytelling, but students don’t always have the specific shots they need to express an idea. Stock assets can help fill in the gaps,” he says. “Adobe Stock is important for everyone right now, big time.”
There’s a reason Full Sail University mandates the New Media Tools course. When students are comfortable using Adobe Creative Cloud, they are more likely to succeed in their other courses — and have fun.
“Visual metaphors are huge in storytelling. Adobe Stock is important for everyone right now, big time.”
Course Director, New Media Tools, Full Sail University
Hands-on design projects with tools the pros use
For students in the Digital Arts and Design and Graphic Design degree programs, using Adobe Creative Cloud quickly becomes second nature. That’s because they use the tools every day, learning to create professional-quality logos, websites, photos, motion graphics, and 3D animations using industry-standard apps. This includes everything from Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop to Premiere Pro, After Effects, XD, Lightroom, Dimension, and more. The experience is invaluable as they prepare for successful design careers.
Eric Rosenfeld is Program Director for Digital Arts and Design and Graphic Design degree programs. Increasingly, he has been introducing students to Adobe Stock — not only as an important resource for stock assets, but also as a guide for what assets are useful to professionals.
“We encourage students to analyze the assets available on Adobe Stock and understand the niches,” says Rosenfeld. “They’re getting a sense of what’s useful to designers and video editors in the industry and starting to produce their own assets for Adobe Stock.”
Rosenfeld also found that Adobe Stock helped enhance his online instruction during the pandemic. “When we moved to virtual learning, we needed to be more efficient in preparing exercises,” he says. “Instead of creating everything myself, I can download examples from Adobe Stock. That saves a lot of time while allowing me to be creative.”
Where tomorrow’s cinematographers get their start
Digital Cinematography is another degree program that draws heavily on Adobe Creative Cloud. One of their first video projects is a 60-second instructional video, created in Adobe Rush. The project gives students a chance to practice the basics of capturing and editing footage. See some of their work here and here.
Students go on to produce more sophisticated videos, including short narratives, documentaries, and commercial campaigns. One student produced a mini documentary on a local barbecue restaurant. Using Premiere Pro, Audition, Lightroom, Media Encoder, and After Effects, students dive deeply into post-production techniques, from color correction to time lapse and slow motion. And they’re even using Adobe Acrobat during filming, enabling people to sign release forms electronically.
But they can’t always get the full list of shots they need. That’s where Adobe Stock comes in handy.
“Students are required to shoot at least 90% of the footage for every project, but they can use stock elements for storyboards and b-roll,” says Bob Truett, Program Director for Digital Cinematography. “With video clips, illustrations, and audio clips in Adobe Stock, students will have a lot more options to help fill out their digital films.”
Like Episcopo and Rosenfeld, Truett also uses Adobe Stock for teaching purposes. “Teachers typically create content. Yet sometimes faculty need a specific asset to demonstrate to students,” he says. “Access to Stock cuts down on course prep time.”
A university prepared to support student success during unprecedented times
Full Sail University is proud that it does things differently — with a student-centric focus on technology and an emphasis on practical knowledge. This focus continues to be a powerful thread for students with ambitious dreams in media and entertainment.
“Full Sail continues to move forward. As we welcome new students each month, our educators have found innovative ways to use technology to make the new student experience exciting and collaborative,” says Tanous. “And during this time we’ve made our graduations virtual — so students can still have the experience of putting on a cap and gown and celebrating with their families.”
It’s all about keeping students engaged and giving them the skills they need to start their careers. Whether they’re on campus or learning virtually, Full Sail is keeping its students at the center of its mission.