mc + Sp exploring Adobe Spark as a publishing platform for engaging + research-based stories

Fall 2018 Courses

For the Fall 2018 semester - and to mark our one year anniversary using Adobe's Spark platform - Media Commons partnered with educators at several Commonwealth campuses as well as the Penn State Center in Philadelphia and University Park.

Education 100

Dr. Crystal Ramsay asked her students to create a page that represents what they believe in, and how they facilitate those beliefs through their work. With this assignment, dubbed “PSYou,” students reflected on their semester interactions with other students and community members, and mapped out the story of their experiences. This was all part of a larger push in our university to develop “digital fluency,” with new and existing technologies.

Study Away Philadelphia

Shivaani Selvaraj, Director of Urban Engagement at the Penn State Center in Philadelphia had the first crop of Study Away program participants document not only their time in the city but also the meaningful, semester-long experiences they had working at various community organizations. Each student created their own Spark portfolio full of their reflections, documentation of their work and more, a few of which are available below.

See Yolanda Jackson's portfolio: spark.adobe.com/page/g9kgGpjTD3oi7/

See Rafael Prado's portfolio: spark.adobe.com/page/KFXcXE5KC6GzJ/

See Maura Chadwick's portfolio: spark.adobe.com/page/1BY6EtaRXSWmH/

See Erikah Hurtt's portfolio: spark.adobe.com/page/uvKuRBr4AEJS4/

Each program participant based a live presentation to community stakeholders, interested individuals from the public and University administrators off of their completed Spark page at the conclusion of the Study Away semester.

English 015

For her ENGL 015 course, Cathi Gerhard asked students to use Spark in order to build presentation aids to be used in class discussions of controversial, contemporary topics. Students worked in small groups and developed their pages collectively.

Students leveraged Spark to tie together several disparate facets of a contentious issue in modern America and discuss it with their peers in the classroom.

Science 220

Creating a pitch page to improve teaching and learning at Penn State. Dr. Jenay Robert tasked her SC 220 students to create a page with which to present their ideas for improving teaching and learning. In groups of four or five, they pulled together multiple media resources to support their work.

These pitch ideas were then shown to the relevant stakeholders at the university, as a real push for change and improvement at Penn State.

Biology 110

In re-imagining the BIOL 110 course with more lab activities at Penn State Beaver, instructor Sarah Nilson worked with Cassandra Miller-Butterworth and Media Commons to develop an assignment in which students would use Spark to create guides to various plant traits. Two samples from the first offering of the project are below.

Working individually, students developed field guides to identify flora characteristics using their own photos, charts and graphics as well as researched information, including formatted citations.

Early Childhood Education 479

Conducting a blended course this semester, Dr. Karen Johnson had her ECE 479 students using Spark to create Learning Journals, in which to document their findings and research throughout the semester. Students visited multiple educational settings throughout the semester, and incorporated those pictures, videos and write-ups into their pages. These Journals functioned as effective progress check-ins, pairing nicely with the online portion of a blended class.

Spring 2018 Courses

In the Spring 2018 semester, Media Commons supported six Spark projects at four campus locations, representing five different disciplines/areas of research. Below are examples of this semester's efforts.

Business 322

"Dr A", Rujirutana Mandhachitara asked her BA 322 students to create professional portfolios in that evidence the themes of the course in their own work and educational experiences. These Penn State New Kensington students crafted e-portfolios that will follow them as they finish their studies and enter their new careers. growing and evolving along with them.

Students received in-class training on media production/acquisition resources as well as a follow up session on using Spark to build their portfolios. Rough drafts were reviewed remotely via Canvas and guest-graded as well.

Nutrition 360

Building on the adaptation (by Lynn Klees in Fall 2017) of a WordPress-based exercise, Dr. Dara Ford engaged her students at University Park in exploring the dissemination of health information online with Spark. Students worked individually to produce Spark pages that collected their reflections and to curate related work on Brochure + Journal summary activities as well as capture group efforts in creating Public Service Announcements.

Students received in-class training in a formal workshop setting and also made use of Adobe Spark tutorials which were custom tailored to the assignment. Follow up support was available through University Park consultants, upon request.

TLT Symposium 2018

Media Commons was joined by several of our Fall 2017 pilot instructors for a panel discussion on using the Adobe Creative Cloud in the classroom. Thanks to Lynn Klees + Dr. Martha Strickland (whose projects you can learn about below) as well as Kristen McAuley + Dr. Chrystine Mitchell for providing your stories and insights to the attendees at Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium 2018.

Beaver Campus Event

Instructional Designer, Heather Hughes talks Spark with campus faculty and leadership

Faculty and staff were invited to attend an open workshop on 5 February at the Penn State Beaver campus (as well as online for remote attendees). Our Fall 2017 course pilot instructors presented their outcomes and shared their reflections on using Adobe Spark in their courses as well as fielding questions on lessons learned and upcoming plans with their peers from across the Commonwealth. (We also ate delicious vegan lunch from B52 in Pittsburgh.)

Fall 2017 Courses

In our first semester of offering training and support for Adobe Spark, instructors across six campuses and as many disciplines created and implemented assignments that challenged students to use the platform as a means of publishing their scholarship to a wide audience. These are just some of their results.

Education 314

In her upper-level Learning Theory and Instructional Procedures course at Penn State Harrisburg, Dr. Martha Strickland asked her secondary education majors to create Spark pages that explain classroom diversity topics to a parent + teacher audience. Teams for 3-5 students converted research papers into web presentations that also incorporated three minutes of video content which had to include at least one expert interview.

Student groups received in-class instruction on video-based storytelling and the basics of using Adobe Spark. Groups met remotely with a consultant to discuss both their video storyboards as well as their overall page presentation plans.

Nutrition 360

Lynn Klees adapted a long-standing WordPress-based blogging assignment into a much more approachable exercise in exploring the dissemination of health information online, dissecting personal branding as a nutrition expert and reviewing materials created and shared by others in a global community. Students worked individually to produce Spark pages that collected their reflections and to curate related work on Brochure + Journal summary activities as well as capture group efforts in creating Public Service Announcements.

Students received in-class training in a formal workshop setting and also made use of Adobe Spark tutorials which were custom tailored to the assignment. Follow up support was available through University Park consultants, upon request.

English 015

In her Fall semester ENGL 015 sections, Cathi Gerhard asked students to make convincing arguments on controversial topics as web-based presentations. Teams of 3-5 students researched their issues throughout the semester and then converted their formal paper findings into Spark pages tailored towards a wide audience. Video and photo content further enhanced their cases, as appropriate.

Students received in-class instruction on the basics of using Adobe Spark and made use of online tutorials available from Adobe as well as Media Commons for Penn State-specific needs.

Sustainability 200

At Penn State Abington, Dr. Kathy Fadigan leveraged her own prior positive experience using Adobe Spark to build a conference presentation on her own food waste research to build an assignment for her SUST 200: Sustainability Leadership course. Students are asked to create individual, Spark video reflections on "What Nature Means to Me" in an effort to help them better understand their own connection to the topic of sustainability in all its forms.

Students received in-class training on the basics of using Spark video on mobile platforms (primarily their own devices) at the start of the semester. Follow up support was available, upon request.

To learn more about using Spark in your own classes, reach out to one of our friendly Media Commons campus consultants. We're happy to help!

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