Prepare students for the modern workforce by teaching them to ethically consume, collaborate, and create digital content
Aim to have all students digitally fluent by 2025
Bridge the digital divide to help all students reach success
Teach students through real-life, experiential learning
89% of composition students exceeded or greatly exceeded course learning outcomes by incorporating creative apps
74% of students said creative apps gave them a better sense of audience
Introduced 100 students to scientific field work with virtual video field trips
Better engaged with patients and the public by bringing medical information to life through web pages
Weber State University (WSU) believes in transformative education for all. For more than 130 years, the school has focused on meeting the needs of students in northern Utah with programs developed to help each student find future success through experiential, real-world learning.
“I believe what sets Weber State University apart from others is the singular focus — from faculty, staff, students, and administration — to deliver accessible, affordable, and quality education that leads to successful post-graduate outcomes,” says Dr. Ravi Krovi, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs at WSU.
Over the past several years, WSU has focused on incorporating digital fluency into the classroom. As noted in research from Adobe and Civitas Learning, incorporating creative and digital literacy skills into curriculum can lead to better academic outcomes. The benefits are even greater for students from under-represented backgrounds.
“At WSU, we are proud to serve many first-generation students, students from low-income or under-represented backgrounds, and non-traditional students,” says Dr. Brad Mortensen, President of WSU. “We embrace ways of bridging the digital divide to lift all students to success.”
WSU became an Adobe Creative Campus due to its strong commitment to digital fluency. By partnering with Adobe, WSU puts Adobe Creative Cloud apps in the hands of all students, faculty, and staff, helping them develop digital fluency by learning to create, consume, and collaborate on digital content.
“We embrace ways of bridging the digital divide to lift all students to success.”
Dr. Brad Mortensen
President, Weber State University
Demonstrating the power of creativity
Dr. Brenda Kowalewski, Associate Provost for High Impact Educational Experiences & Faculty Excellence at WSU, loves how her job allows her to focus on incorporating real-world educational experiences for students. In recent years, this has meant finding ways to make digital experiences accessible to all.
To prove the importance of digital education for all students, Dr. Kowalewski worked with Jason Barrett-Fox, Director of Composition and Associate Professor of English at WSU, on a pilot that incorporates creative apps into the English composition program. All students are required to take a composition class to learn essential academic writing skills. The program also helps close the gap for vulnerable students by getting them more comfortable with writing in general.
For one project in the Introductory College Writing class, students used Adobe InDesign to produce an editorial that incorporated research and citations. In another, students researched and wrote a documentary script, then filmed and edited their documentary using Adobe Premiere Rush.
The results were even better than expected. Around 89% of students in the digitally enhanced sections of the composition course exceeded or greatly exceeded course learning outcomes — much higher compared to students in traditional writing-focused sections. Working digitally also helped students connect more deeply with content; 74% of students said that creative apps gave them a better sense of audience.
“Digital mediums are changing the way that people communicate in the workforce, which changes the skills that students need to learn,” says Barrett-Fox.
WSU continues to develop more digital modules for the composition program, from asking students to create photographic essays to writing and recording their own podcast.
“Adobe Creative Cloud changed the trajectory of my entire degree. It made me realize that my passion wasn’t just the science — it’s communicating the story of science.”
Sophomore, Science Communication and Geology, Weber State University
Bringing field trips into the classroom
Dr. Elizabeth Balgord embraces creative mediums as a teaching tool to bring students into the field. As an Associate Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Dr. Balgord frequently explores the nearby mountain ranges to study the effects of sedimentology and mountain building. Geology demands field research, but bringing an introductory class of 100 students into the field isn’t practical. Instead, Dr. Balgord uses video to bring the mountains to them.
“Virtual field trips are a fantastic, engaging way to show students what I’m doing,” Dr. Balgord explains. “I can zoom in on rock formations, then cut to video of me explaining what it means about the history of the mountains. Not only do they get to see actual geological research for themselves, but they also see how important communication skills are in scientific fields.”
The ability to convey findings to a variety of audiences is critical for science students. And today, much of that communication will happen digitally in diagrams, videos, podcasts, posters, and maps. Dr. Balgord actively encourages students to share their research visually, building technical and creative skills to stand apart from other potential candidates when looking for a job.
Sophomore James Henderson has seen the impact of video firsthand, as he helped edit virtual field trips while working as a professorial assistant to Dr. Balgord. “Adobe Creative Cloud changed the trajectory of my entire degree. It made me realize that my passion wasn’t just the science — it’s communicating the story of science,” says Henderson.
Inspiring the next generation of nurses
Communication is also critical in nursing. Nurses spend a lot of time educating patients or the public about diseases and treatment. In many clinics today, that still involves giving patients a stack of papers. But patients want more from healthcare providers. That’s why Jamie Wankier, MSN, RN, Associate Professor of Nursing at WSU, has started promoting digital assignments in her nursing classes. With Adobe Express, students can create web pages that bring medical topics to life in engaging and visual ways.
“Adobe Express is easy to use,” says Wankier. “I’ve seen my nursing students adapt to the app very quickly, and even use it in other courses to create infographics or presentations. But most impressively, students have started taking it back to their hospital and clinical jobs.”
“Working with Adobe, we can encourage students to elevate their voices to become leaders, no matter where their future takes them.”
Dr. Stephanie Speicher
Digital Fluency Faculty in Residence and Assistant Professor, Teacher Education, Weber State University
Full digital fluency by 2025
Training and support for faculty are critical to encourage adoption of creative apps across WSU. In response, WSU created the Digital District — a space on campus where faculty, staff, and students can find resources to become digitally fluent. People can come to the Digital District to attend training sessions, ask for technical help, or record a podcast in the recording studio.
“At WSU, we want to have all students digitally fluent by 2025,” explains Dr. Stephanie Speicher, Digital Fluency Faculty in Residence and Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at WSU. “Digital fluency — the ability to ethically consume, collaborate, and create content — is important for students to become active citizens in the digital age. Working with Adobe, we can encourage students to elevate their voices to become leaders, no matter where their future takes them.”