Oct 24 2023

How Creative Cloud and Generative AI Are Impacting Higher Education

Tools powered by natural language processing can enhance instruction and prepare students to harness artificial intelligence in their post-college careers.

Generative AI had higher education scared at first. Would students abuse this powerful creative capability? But now that the worry has largely subsided, colleges and universities can focus on the opportunities.

Just as calculators and the internet once upended teaching and learning, generative AI represents “a new, major disruption,” says Mike Prizament, senior product marketing manager at Adobe. “It’s also an opportunity to tackle the main challenges in higher education.”

Software Tools Rise to Meet the Generative AI Challenge in Higher Ed

With generative AI, students can use ordinary-language inputs to create images and other media. That has significant potential.

“Colleges and universities want to increase student engagement with learning material,” Prizament says. “Schools need to ensure that students are prepared for their careers with critical workplace skills, and they also need to provide access and equity to learning opportunities.”

Generative AI can support all of these goals.

DISCOVER: How to better support students and educators with help from Adobe Creative Cloud

Mike Prizament
Generative AI gives every student the ability to bring their ideas to life, regardless of technical skills.”

Mike Prizament Senior Product Marketing Manager, Adobe

Take student engagement, for example. With generative AI, educators can incorporate creativity and digital storytelling “as alternatives to traditional ways that students show that they understand the course material,” Prizament says. “Rather than writing a 10-page essay, they create a video story, an infographic, a poster.”

When it comes to career readiness, graduates will be expected to have some fluency in generative AI when they enter the workplace.

“Industries recognize the productivity benefits of generative AI and they are going to expect every graduate entering the workforce to know how to use it,” Prizament says. “Ten or 20 years ago, you needed to know how to use email and the internet. In the next couple of years, generative AI will be in the job description.”

In terms of equity, generative AI removes barriers for students who may not think of themselves as creative.

“Generative AI gives every student the ability to bring their ideas to life, regardless of technical skills,” Prizament says. “Creative control that was once only available to industry professionals is now open to everyone.”

EXPLORE: How AI could impact student success in higher ed.

Emerging Toolsets Help Schools Incorporate Generative AI

Adobe is making these new capabilities readily available with Adobe Firefly, the generative AI technology that’s part of Adobe products, including those that make up Adobe Creative Cloud.

“Firefly lets students use their imaginations to come up with any sort of creative expression,” Prizament says. Need an image for a book report cover or an image to represent an idea on a poster or in a presentation? With Firefly’s Text to Image feature, “you describe what it is you want, and Firefly will give you several options based on what you described,” he adds. “Do you want photorealistic? Do you want an illustration or comic book-type layouts? You have ultimate control to get a very unique image.”

Another feature, Text Effects, lets users describe how they want something to look and creates a brand-new font style based on that input.

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“You can describe ‘fireworks with fire shooting out of it,’ and your font can demonstrate the idea in a more visual way,” Prizament says.

The generative AI capabilities are embedded into the Adobe tools, including Adobe Express, Photoshop and Illustrator, with more to come. There’s also a standalone Firefly web app. With generative AI incorporated across Creative Cloud applications, Adobe supports career readiness by putting needed tools in the hands of every learner.

This approach likewise helps schools meet their goals around digital equity.

“Every student can leverage the power of Firefly to alleviate blank-page anxiety, to remove the barriers and to streamline the creative process,” Prizament says.

READ MORE: How AI helps streamline university contact center operations.

Best Practices for Incorporating Generative AI in Higher Education

Educators seeking to implement generative AI can look at it as another tool in the pedagogic toolbox. “It’s there to serve the mission of supporting creative expression in academic work,” Prizament says.

Faculty members, for example, may want students to demonstrate understanding of a concept beyond just writing an essay or putting together a couple of bullet points in a slide deck. Generative AI makes that possible.

“Rather than asking students to write a report, you can ask them to visualize that concept using an infographic with different visual elements,” Prizament says.

University leadership, meanwhile, should be thinking about how to make those capabilities widely available.

“Look at how students will access this,” Prizament says. “If you don’t provide it to the students, they’re going to look elsewhere, so it’s best to have a common platform, where everyone is looking at it from the same angle.”

Overall, educators should not hesitate to experiment with generative AI.

“This enhances productivity, it streamlines creativity, and it gets students more engaged and more creative,” Prizament says. “Don’t be afraid to jump in.”

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