Digital Me Learning Journal By Julie Terry

My Thoughts About Adobe Gen Pro Classes

Adobe Gen Pro courses are top notch. I just find it difficult to have enough time to go through all the content, do all the assignments and keep up with everything in a timely manner because I have a very demanding full-time job and lots of home responsibilities (Like everybody else!).

But these courses are worth putting in the extra time and effort and making them a priority. Technology is changing so fast. These online classes are an ideal way to stay on top of it, get inspired, make new friends and learn awesome new skills. The resources, links and information are incredible - can't believe it's all provided free of charge!

As a college professor, I believe the better I am, the better off my students will be. I don't want to handicap my graduates because I didn't expose them to something they should have learned and practiced while in school.

Welcome to the Course Assignment - Video on Personal Branding

This is a video I made with Spark Voice for our first assignment in the "Digital Me" course. My thoughts on Personal Branding.

Personal Branding has been around for a long time, and yet the term is rather new. We all know about branding products and places. Today each of us needs to foster and develop our own personal brand, guard it carefully, and continually update it. When I graduated from art school, our work was on canvas, paper and objects we made with our hands. We placed our work in zipped up cases to show potential employers. Today's students and young professionals need much more than that - a digital presence across many different platforms. And I'm also seeing that mature workers also need a strong and attractive digital presence to stay competitive and connected.

Class 1 Assignment: Headshot

Original photo on far left. Retouched photo in the middle, and posterized treatment on the right.

I enjoyed this first assignment. I like to retouch photos and make them look better - sharper, more contrast, more colorful, cropped and angled. You can do a lot if you start with a decent shot and then add some Photoshop magic. When you're happy with the result, save a version of the retouched image, and then try out artistic effects too.

Class 2 Assignment: Create a Graphic Resume

I left out actual contact information and names of the companies I've worked for. When I go back to finalize it for actual use I'll put in the missing information.

This is my first graphic resume. I'm very happy with it, although I still consider this a draft that will be further refined and filled in.

I'm embarrassed to say I've presented class lectures about preparing both a traditional and a graphic resume - although I've never actually layed out a graphic resume myself! I spent about 12 hours preparing the layout you see above. I watched the InDesign tutorial and started working with inDesign, but after a while I realized I really needed to be in Illustrator so I could touch up and recolor the icons and also create some new icons of my own. Also, my brand mark, which is made from my signature, is in Illustrator, and I needed to colorize it to match the color scheme of the resume. So I ended up switching the whole operation to Illustrator. I was very pleased to be able to access the free social media icons font pack from www.fontfabric.com. Huge help! That's why I love these Adobe Gen Pro classes so much - they point you to people, resources and sites that you don't even know exist!

I advise everyone to keep your resume current. Keep track of your accomplishments and your stories. During the Great Recession I was suddenly layed off from a job I loved and had been with for 15 years. What a shock! And, of course, I didn't have an up-to-date resume or portfolio. I spent weeks putting things together so I could be ready for my job search. I realize that if you have a digital presence you keep up with - your Behance account, your digital portfolio, your social media feeds, your LinkedIn profile - you're way ahead of the game. You're positioned to move ahead quickly instead of having to create your personal branding and marketing materials from scratch under intense pressure!

Class 3 Assignment: Personal Logo and Social Media Headers

I stumbled upon Aaron Draplin's Skillshare classes a couple of years ago. I love his work and his attitude! I made his Family Crest and Logo projects assignments in my Branding and Identity class. Then I was very excited to meet him last May at the How Design Live conference, where I purchased some posters and his new book and got to talk briefly with him. And unbelievably, while on his book tour this year, Aaron stopped in my locale last month for a logo design workshop, which I attended. I'm a Draplinite for sure! Try to follow his advice about using basic shapes and colors to make logos.

Circular logo I created to promote my Graphic Design program.
My brandmark, made from my signature, to make it sincere! The little flower graphic represents the creative, fresh ideas I bring to projects.
Twitter Header - it's basically an advertising billboard.
Facebook header.
YouTube header. More room, so I added a panel at the bottom with a quote that reinforced the message about communication and storytelling.

Class 4 Assignment: Digital portfolio (Adobe MyPortfolio)

So, since I have a Creative Cloud account, I am able to use MyPortfolio. This was my first venture into MyPortfolio. I was delighted to see that my works from Behance automatically loaded into MyPortfolio. But it got tougher from there. I explored the workspace for several hours, got lost, got confused, but overall learned a lot. There are many options to personalize and fine tune your presentation, to organize and expand and add links to social media accounts - I've only touched the tip of the iceberg. I'm glad I have a start - and with only three weeks of classes left before summer break - I'm looking forward to improving MyPortfolio when school is out and I have more time.

Class 5 Assignment: Create an Assessment Video

Creating a feedback video in Spark was something new to me! My typical ways of giving feedback to students include: walking around, looking at what they're working on and talking directly to them; showing student work on the big screen and discussing it during class; writing comments to each student in Blackboard so he or she will see it along with their grade for assignments and tests.

Let me add that I don't like my voice! If I drink hot tea, lower the register, take deep breaths and practice a script, I can sound halfway decent. But my normal voice, speaking quickly, is sharp, high-pitched and far from dulcet!

The Pros of providing feedback to students in Spark: It's personal - it's their work being shown in the video and it's the teacher's voice speaking directly to the student. It's short and to the point. It's high tech, so students will pay attention. It's visual and auditory. It was fun to make this short assessment video, and a new approach to keep things interesting.

Possible Cons of providing feedback via Spark: I couldn't find how to turn off the music - there may be times when it would be better not to have music in the background. It takes additional time to gather together the visuals you want to include, organize the presentation and record your comments. For teachers with smaller classes and a normal course load, you could probably set aside some time each week to create a Spark feedback video for each student. But for teachers with larger classes who are also teaching overload courses, you probably don't have the time to make this kind of video for each assignment each week for each student. Also, Spark urges you to keep the recordings short - on one hand, it forces you to stay on point, but on the other hand, you may abbreviate or leave out information you'd rather include. However, a short feedback video can cover the highlights and may serve as a stepping stone to a deeper conversation.

I can see myself using this approach for team projects - I can address the student team members all at once in an efficient way by putting images and my recording in a video. I also see how the Spark Video would be great for assessing bigger projects rather than just the smaller, weekly exercises. It would show the student that you appreciate the time and effort they put into their major project and took time to create an individual video for them. They could watch it several times if they wish. If they did really well, they could possibly use the video on their social media or website to share their achievement with others.

Final Class Assignment: Reflection on the Course

Hi, my name is Julie, and I am an Education Addict! Yes, I admit it. The classroom is just about my favorite place to be. I love that exhilaration from learning something new, from stretching my brain and applying new skills. I love the feeling of struggling, overcoming problems, solving complexities and completing an assignment that I'm proud of. I get a high from being so focused on a task that time speeds by - I look up and realize that two, three, four hours have just passed.

I enjoy getting feedback, giving input and pitting myself against other students - even though we all know we are competing against ourselves, not each other.

I feel proud to go into the classroom and show my students that it can be done - look, I have a creative headshot for my online presence - let's make one for you. I just made a graphic resume, so can you! I created a brand mark - so can you! I made a Spark video with my own images and recorded my own voice - you can do it, too. I have a Behance account and MyPortfolio - now you do it.

I opened a Behance account in 2015 but was intimidated to actually put anything in it! Until now. This was the right time. I've done some good work the last couple of years, and I completed some solid stuff in this class. And it's not as scary as I thought to put my work in Behance. I still have a long way to go with MyPortfolio, but it's a start. Updating my online presence gives me more credibility as a teacher and a creative professional. This class gave me the push I needed.

The Digital Me class fell just in time to prepare my seniors for their transition from student to professional. They have three weeks of school left, and they've been assigned the task of making a Spark Page portfolio, a brand mark and a graphic resume. I will feel better knowing they have these tools in place when they graduate from my program.

For next fall, I will start the process earlier. I teach a New Media class, which will be perfect for introducing the topic of Digital Me to the students. It will be good for them to already start their Behance account and create a brand mark and head shot - then they can add to and improve their work over time and really be ready for their final semester.

I like how this class emphasized the importance of feedback DURING the creative process, not just when the work is done and submitted - the formative assessment is powerful.

I like the idea of making and using Spark videos in my classes. To introduce myself, to present a lesson, to give feedback.

I like the idea of having my students keep a weekly Learning Journal, like we did in this course. To reflect on what they're learning, what they're doing, how they're feeling. Introspection, reflection, mindfulness - Namaste!

This class made me rethink my rubrics. I love using rubrics, but I haven't populated them with as much detail as the sample shown in this class. It takes time to add all that detail, but in the end, it provides more input to the student - and it helps them self-evaluate. They can clearly see if they met the high mark or not.

Yes, I'm an Education Addict. No apologies. I will continue to learn new things and pass them along to my students and colleagues. It takes time, effort, dedication and sacrifice. I have to say no to things and change my priorities at times, but in this fast-changing world we must keep up with technology, tools and current trends or we'll get swept away and lose our relevance and our value.

I was a Corporate Communications professional for many years - my focus was on writing, editing, planning, managing, selling and making things happen. Now I'm a professor of Graphic Design - so in very short order I had to get up to speed with new software, new technology and dealing with Millennials! Adobe Gen Pro has been invaluable in helping me prepare for my new role in academia and to feel more comfortable talking tech and creating things with Adobe software and apps. I am grateful.

Credits:

The cover image is one I purchased from a digital image site.

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