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Adobe Creative Jam
From left: Seneca students Anita Srivastava, Taha Dharamsi, Rajat Bhatia and Pragati Pise work on their design challenge during the Adobe Creative Jam at the Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

March 7, 2019

Move over, PowerPoint. There are a few new apps on campus.

As part of its digital learning strategy, Seneca has recently become an official Adobe Creative Campus—the first in Canada—equipping students and employees to be digitally literate and creative in the age of personal branding, storytelling and much more.

“The Adobe Creative Cloud suite is well known in the industry and highly accessible, providing options for novices and experienced users,” said Laurel Schollen, Vice-President Academic. “It’s a toolkit that can be used to present ideas, arguments and solutions to problems in a creative and engaging way.”

Schollen has spent the better part of last year thinking and imagining what digital learning would look like at Seneca. She remembers watching a history professor at a conference give a presentation using Adobe Spark, an online graphic design app that allows users to create graphics, web pages and video stories.

“It was one of the most interesting and inspiring examples I saw, particularly since I was expecting the majority of the presentations to be from educators in the creative field,” Schollen recalled. “I thought, if a historian is using these tools to tell her story, to present research and launch an exhibition, then the opportunity for us is infinite.”

Thanks to Seneca’s partnership with Adobe, all employees and full-time students are now enjoying free Adobe Creative Cloud programs.

“This is just one piece of the puzzle of our digital learning strategy, which is designed to move the institution forward,” Schollen said. “We want to support our employees’ and students’ creativity, no matter what programs they are in or areas they work in. These days, it’s important for everyone to have some ability to present their ideas and demonstrate their work digitally.”
 

Adobe Creative Jam 2
From left: Seneca professors Malak Attia, Mauro Spies, Stephen Harris and Kazi Alam work together during the first-ever Adobe Creative Jam hosted for faculty in North America.


Last week at Newnham Campus, more than 40 Seneca professors took part in the first-ever Adobe Creative Jam hosted for faculty in North America. The day of learning and creating included a crash course on Adobe Spark and Adobe Premiere Rush, an entry-level video editing tool. This was followed by a two-hour design challenge on creating lessons or guides.

“The jam was interactive,” said Professor Julie Mcguigan, Academic Adviser, Faculty of Applied Arts & Health Sciences. “It allowed us to dive into the program and create a presentation that was fresh and new. I feel it opened up a door to a whole new approach of creating lectures and presentations. I will now integrate Adobe into several projects I’m working on.”

Like Mcguigan, Professor Kazi Alam, who teaches in the School of International Business & Management, hopes to use the apps “meaningfully” in his in-class or online course activities.

“Even though Spark and Premiere Rush were new to me, I feel so connected with the tools,” he said.

In addition to the faculty session, a separate Adobe Creative Jam for students ran simultaneously at Newnham and Seneca@York campuses as well as online. The students learned how to use Adobe XD, a vector-based tool for designing and prototyping, and tackled a design challenge on creating a user experience.

For students like Anita Srivastava, it was an opportunity to get a jump on the latest technology.

“Seneca has given us an opportunity to access Adobe apps with no charge and learn the platform even if it’s not part of our program,” said the Business Administration – Marketing student. “Nowadays, Adobe is considered an industry asset and a fabulous way to communicate and visualize your ideas and projects. Even if you think you lack creativity, Adobe will change your point of view.”

This is exactly what Schollen hopes for.

“We want our students to graduate with digital acumen, digital IQ and professional digital presence, and to give employers a sense of who they are as a person,” she said. “We want students to craft their stories as budding professionals. It’s about thoughtful curation of their learning experiences and recognizing that what you leave out is as important as what you put in. And in today’s digital age, what you put in never goes away.”

Check out our photo gallery of Seneca’s inaugural Adobe Creative Jam.