Introducing XKits: Adobe Creative Cloud toolkits for ASU faculty

Tristan Ettleman

As an Adobe Creative Campus, Arizona State University is leading the way in imparting 21st-century digital literacy skills to students of all disciplines. Crucial to this work is using a suite of tools — packaged together under ASU’s Digital Backpack of “future-self” technologies — that are standard across numerous industries. 

Over the summer, a new course for ASU instructors approached the process of bringing Adobe Creative Cloud into an ever-increasing number of classes. The course brought together 15 ASU faculty members across five departments to design resources for fellow instructors to better incorporate Adobe’s suite of tools into their classroom.

Led by UTO’s Learning Experience Design team, the course is part of the group’s efforts to support faculty and students in leveraging technology toolsets to evolve teaching and learning. 

Breaking down the course

Digital Fluency Creative, or DFC, was a “12-week hybrid course focused on creating digital fluency champions across ASU,” explained Audra Carlisle, UTO Learning Experience Designer and the instructor of the course. 

The Adobe Creative Cloud, which is available to all students for free at ASU, is a suite of software tools geared towards the creativity of the digital world, such as photo, video and audio editing, graphic and web design and more.

Carlisle worked with the 15 ASU faculty members to teach the ropes of Adobe Creative Cloud, design new classroom strategies using the suite of tools, and publish open-source teaching materials in the form of Learning Experience Kits, also known as XKits.

During the course, instructors had to “rethink our pedagogy and the way we build assignments,” said Chelsie Schlesinger, a New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences instructor and DFC participant.  

XKits are now available for ASU faculty to create or modify their assignments to incorporate the various tools available in the Adobe Creative Cloud. 


The course brought together 15 ASU faculty members across five departments to design resources for fellow instructors to better incorporate Adobe’s suite of tools into their classroom.

XKits in action: ASU students use Adobe Audition to create podcasts

One approach to creating an XKit utilized Adobe Audition, an audio editing software. Schlesinger and Karla Murphy, a co-instructor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, redesigned an assignment that teaches students the rhetorical moves used in writing: invention, organization and revision — these same principles are used in podcast creation.

“Students discovered very quickly that they have a place in a conversation ... and the technology allowed for that,” Murphy said, comparing the process to a typical essay format.

With the 10-minute requirement on the podcast, students found their transcriptions came out to be around 1,500 to 1,800 words, Murphy explained.

“Another essay on why you think something is important, or how you’re connected to it, is flat,” Schlesinger added. “But when you put them in a space (like a podcast) where they’re able to have a conversation, their ideas and competence grow.”

Murphy elaborated further.

“You can talk in class, that’s one thing, but to have that artifact (the podcast) afterwards, that became really powerful,” Murphy said.

The podcast assignment ideated by Schlesinger and Murphy was brought into an XKit, now accessible for all ASU instructors through Canvas Commons. 

“I know that some of the instructors in Karla and Chelsea’s department have seen the work that they’re doing and gone, ‘Oh, that looks really cool; I’m going to do that,’” Carlisle said. “That’s exactly what we want people to be doing: We want these teachers to be our champions for this sort of work.”

From design to deployment: XKits now available to all ASU faculty

Additional kits across a variety of tools and projects are available. From demonstrating the use of Adobe Spark to craft Public Service Announcements, to using Adobe Portfolio to pull together a diversity of voices for a website, to exploring InDesign to create lecture series posters and more, the XKits are available to help instructors better design exciting new learning opportunities.

And today, each of the participating instructors are using Adobe Creative Cloud in the classroom. Coupled with their 15 new XKits and reach through their courses, more than 500 students are now impacted by DFC. 

Instructors across all disciplines can search for XKits within Canvas Commons, a space within ASU’s Learning Management System Canvas. To find more resources and trainings from the learning experience team, visit lms.asu.edu. You can also find more information on Adobe Creative Cloud at ASU on UTO’s site.

About UTO’s Learning Experience

The Learning Experience Design team is one of four groups housed within UTO’s Learning Experience (LX), which comprises Design, Environments, Spaces and Space Success. Today, LX has over 200 team members, employing a mix of staff and student workers. 

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