Underscoring the Importance of Digital Literacy Through the Adobe Creative Campus Program

by Karen McCavitt

posted on 11-03-2019

As the cost of college tuition rises and the admissions process becomes increasingly more fierce, higher education institutions must ensure they provide students with the tools to develop the high-demand skills that will enable them to ultimately build digital literacy and fluency. Their success in today’s – not to mention, tomorrow’s – workforce depends on it.

At EduMAX, Adobe officially launched the Adobe Creative Campus program, which is a deep partnership between Adobe and many higher education institutions participating in the program. The Adobe Creative Campus program includes colleges and universities from around the world that have a commitment to increasing digital literacy and building soft skills that employers seek when hiring.

“Digital literacy is becoming a core competency for employment in the modern workplace, which is why higher education institutions must look to incorporate tools into their infrastructure and curricula that will help students build these critical soft skills,” said Sebastian DiStefano, director, Adobe Creative Campus collaboration. “Our goal for the Adobe Creative Campus program is to shine a light on the leading colleges and universities that recognize the value of teaching digital literacy, and are making strategic investments in the tools like Adobe Creative Cloud that nurture creative and persuasive digital communication skills across disciplines to ultimately ensure greater student outcomes.”

Although many students today have grown up digital, when they enter colleges that haven’t adapted their teaching practices to meet modern day demands, students begin their college careers at a disadvantage using outdated media to complete assignments rather than having access to tools that can expand their skill sets and creativity.

This lack of innovation in the classroom could have a profound impact on preparing students for the future workforce. In fact, the Hays Global Skills Index found that 60 percent of the world’s major economies are experiencing talent shortages, and a Gallup-Purdue poll revealed that only 38 percent of recent college graduates agree their degree is worth the cost. To bridge the talent gap across industries, higher education institutions are teaching digital literacy to foster critical soft skills such as collaboration, creativity and problem solving.

“Creative tools like Adobe Creative Cloud are becoming increasingly essential in everyday life – there are tens of thousands of jobs that name these kinds of tools as required proficiencies,” said Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., Ph.D., Vice President Academic Initiatives and Student Success, University of Arizona. “However, it’s not only the tools themselves that are important, it’s the kind of skills that undergird them, which are transferrable to many different job functions and industries.”

Participating colleges and universities can integrate Adobe Creative Cloud across their curriculum, providing their broader student body with greater access to these digital tools on their personal devices through an enterprise term licensing agreement. In addition, Adobe Creative Campus branding can differentiate a higher education institution from its peer institutions by highlighting its commitment to transforming education through industry-relevant digital tools. Amir Dabirian, vice president of information technology and Chief Information Officer at California State University, Fullerton, says integrating Adobe Creative Cloud into English and business administration courses promoted experiential learning and enabled the university to actively engage students in their coursework. For example, to introduce business students to workplace-relevant digital tools, they were tasked with using Adobe InDesign CC to create their resumes.

“We want to close the achievement gap and enhance the learning process to help all of our students graduate faster and with high academic success,” Dabirian said. “We’ve noticed many studies indicating that creative people make better leaders. They know how to interpret information and use data to make more innovative decisions. We want our students to be in the top echelon of employment, which makes supporting their creative development just as important as their academic specialty.”

Schools from across the United States, including University of Utah, University of Texas San Antonio, Pennsylvania State University, Boston University and University of Miami – to name just a few – have made this commitment to teaching digital literacy across disciplines, to their entire student body. As the demand for digital literacy continues to grow on a global scale, the Adobe Creative Campus program recognizes higher education institutions within the United States and beyond. There is also interest globally with Yonsei University in South Korea, which was the first international institution to participate in the program. One of the latest schools to join the Adobe Creative Campus program is Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, making it the first higher education institution in the country to do so. Swinburne aims to increase access to digital tools, empowering students to gain the confidence they need to become digitally literate.

Adobe hosts a quarterly Adobe Creative Campus Collaboration event where member schools of the program share best practices with other CIOs, deans and provosts on their shared goal of empowering students by nurturing digital literacy. For instance, Jan Holmevik, associate professor of professional communication and rhetoric at Clemson University leads the effort to create a Center of Excellence for the next generation of learning, which allows the university to identify strengths in teaching and supercharge these areas. He has already collaborated with peer faculty and administrators at other Adobe Creative Campus schools to identify new pathways to reach the institution’s goals.

The Adobe Creative Campus program can help differentiate participating higher education institutions by demonstrating to prospective and current students, parents, alumni and employers their commitment to ensuring students gain the digital literacy and fluency skills that give them an edge in a competitive modern workplace. Greater access to modern digital communication tools will help ensure that all students enrolled in an Adobe Creative Campus institution will be set up for success academically and beyond – in today’s workforce, and tomorrow’s.

Please visit our website to learn more about how your education institution can improve student engagement and outcomes by becoming an Adobe Creative Campus.

Topics: News, Adobe MAX, Creativity, Education, Industry, digital literacy,

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