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Liberty News

Technology partnerships expand opportunities

May 25, 2016 : Liberty University News Service

Liberty University students are awarded for creativity by Adobe.
Liberty University School of Communication & Creative Arts students are awarded for creatively utilizing Adobe products in their academic endeavors.

Earlier this month, Adobe and Liberty University’s Information Technology Department awarded students for creatively utilizing Adobe products in their academic endeavors. It was the first time these awards were presented at any university and demonstrates an ongoing relationship between Liberty and technological leaders.

Over 30 students from two School of Communication & Creative Arts departments received awards in categories ranging from integrated marketing campaign to digital video, animation, game design, photography, and typography. (View the winners from the Department of Studio & Digital Arts and Digital Media & Communication Arts.)

Jonathan Hammond, Vice President for Adobe’s Enterprise Education Business, North America, attended the awards.

“The event was amazing,” Hammond said. “The best part for me was hearing stories about the student digital work and hearing the wonderful success stories presented by several of Liberty’s academic leaders. Liberty remains out in front with Adobe, and out in front with their focus on digital fluency for students across all studies.”

A Liberty professor uses Adobe products to inject creativity into a class.
Jason Leverett, assistant professor of digital media and communication arts, uses Adobe products to bring creativity to the classroom.

Last fall, Liberty partnered with Adobe to offer all residential students and students in select online courses access to Adobe’s large suite of products, which includes software for graphic design, desktop and website publishing, and photo and video editing, as well as a host of Web apps. Across multiple disciplines, students are learning how to use these tools to create professional presentations, network with classmates and professors, and build their résumés. Many faculty members have incorporated Adobe products into their curriculum. These disciplines include English, social work, history, business, education, cinematic arts, studio and digital arts, and more.

“During the upcoming year, we anticipate increased adoption of Adobe tools into a variety of curriculum,” said Connie Allison, Liberty’s director of teaching and learning technologies. “The faculty continue to explore how they can both enhance the teaching and learning that happens in their classrooms, and also how the students can become fluent in 21st century communication tools.”

Liberty was one of just five institutions of higher education to be hand-picked by Adobe to partner with the company in its efforts to learn how to better tailor its products for the classroom. Liberty was selected for a number of reasons, including its centrally managed technology, its cutting-edge approach to education, its quick adaptation in terms of growth and innovation, and the university’s mix of online and residential students.

Other technology leaders, such as Cisco, have also partnered with Liberty. It was Cisco’s interest in Liberty’s high volume of online students communicating over large distances that drew the leading communications company to a partnership with Liberty.

Since the Jerry Falwell Library opened in 2014, it has been outfitted with innovative technology. The library features four rooms equipped with Cisco TelePresence, which helps connect online students and online faculty with residential counterparts more effectively, streamlining communications for a number of academic departments with faculty and students scattered across the globe. They can also use Adobe products to create and share presentations.

The School of Nursing uses TelePresence to connect with its faculty who are scattered across the country. The School of Divinity has hosted intensives in areas of South Korea taught by a Lynchburg-based professor. The Center for Entrepreneurship has hosted guest speakers and allowed online students to participate remotely.

This fall, the College of Arts & Sciences will hold a residential section that allows select online students to join in, testing a synchronous learning model. The College of General Studies is also exploring opportunities for synchronous learning environments that would allow students to “go to class” by logging in from their residence hall or wherever they might be.

Technology partnerships also helped online students from around the world participate more actively in Liberty University Research Week, held March 29-April 2. Using Cisco technology — including Jabber, a platform and device unifying communication software — these distance learning students were able to participate in sharing their research alongside their on-campus peers. Two of these remote presentations, as well as one poster that was presented digitally using Adobe technology, went on to receive Research Week awards (two first place, one second place) in their respective categories, among them a submission from a China-based doctoral student.

  • Read more in the Liberty Journal about how technology partners are giving the Liberty community tools to succeed in the modern world.

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