Adobe Creative Cloud will be available to a select group of students free of charge beginning Monday.
The university is making the software available to students in the Departments of Journalism and Mass Communication, Art and Design, Digital Entertainment Technology, as well as part of the College of Business Administration as a pilot before making it available to the whole campus.
Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost of the university, approved the contract between the university and Adobe, making it possible to provide it free to students.
“One of the things we want to be sure of as we talk about innovation here at ACU is that it’s not just based on hardware and devices,” Rhodes said. “Much of the innovation has moved from just having the devices to having access to software and technology that is more about the programs and the software that’s available.”
In the past, ACU has provided students with iPads and iPhones as part of an initiative to have technology incorporated into curriculum. The university no longer offers students free Apple devices, but to continue the learning initiative, faculty of the university decided to approach Adobe and make a deal.
John Weaver, dean of library services and educational technology, has been a key players in negotiating with Adobe and making the software available to students in hopes that it will better prepare them for the future.
“ACU has a reputation in higher education for purposefully connecting its students and faculty to emerging technologies in the broader culture, such as the iPhone and iPad, which have direct and meaningful application to teaching, learning and preparation for the job market,” Weaver said. “The focus on innovative and impactful technology is now continuing with ACU’s campus-wide licensing of Adobe Creative Cloud, which itself is a pioneering transformation of established, market-leading software.”
According to a survey conducted by Adobe in 2014, more than a thousand hiring managers reported that 94 percent of the managers agreed creativity is key when evaluating candidates, and 82 percent agreed the ability to communicate through digital and visual media are becoming essential skills.
“For a number of departments on campus, and for many corporations, the skilled use of Creative Cloud tools is required knowledge,” Weaver said. “This initiative with Adobe brings the power of these professional tools to all of our students, for whom multimedia creativity is an increasingly essential skill, regardless of academic discipline.”
Weaver said ACU’s provision of Adobe CC is one new component in a broader strategy to foster digital creativity and other innovative skills for real applications in a global context.
Alongside Weaver is Marisa Beard, director of educational technology. She has also taken part in the negotiating process with Adobe.
Though the software is planned to be available for all students by the spring semester, Beard said it is only available to about 500 students to allow time to test and improve, if necessary, the technical process for accessing, downloading and troubleshooting the software.
“The reason we did that is so it would only affect 500 and not 4,000,” Beard said.
Adobe CC will be accessed from remote servers and downloaded to students’ personal computers. The software, which includes InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, usually costs $240 for students. The software has been available for use on all campus lab computers, but this is the first time the software will be available for students to download in their personal computers.
“The university was able to arrange partnership pricing with Adobe that is a fraction of the cost of the retail price for students and most other universities,” Beard said. “It was a deal offered by Adobe to a small number of other partner universities around the country.”
Weaver said he and Beard are still in the process of negotiating the deal with Adobe and plan to meet with them next week to discuss more details of the agreement.