SJSU to Host Virtual Adobe Creative Jam Oct. 11-12

Donna Caldwell, a senior solutions consultant, leads the Adobe XD bootcamp for students who competed in the Adobe Creative Jam April 18, 2019. Photo by Robert C. Bain

Donna Caldwell, a senior solutions consultant, leads the Adobe XD bootcamp for students who competed in the Adobe Creative Jam April 18, 2019. Photo by Robert C. Bain

San Jose State University will host a unique virtual Adobe Creative Jam this month with participants from seven additional California State Universities. The event will kick off on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m. in Dwight Bentel Hall 117, and will end on Oct. 12. 

This two-day event builds on the success of a spring Digital Detox event in which SJSU students learned how to use Adobe XD, received portfolio and resume reviews, and created their own prototype app.

Spartans have many reasons to join the jam. John Delacruz, Associate Professor, Advertising and an Adobe Education Leader, sees this as a valuable learning opportunity for SJSU students who will eventually step into fast-paced industries. 

“The Adobe association adds value and weight to the student experience,” he said. “The digital badge they carry on their LinkedIn profiles and resumes that the company may provide them as participatory evidence is something that they don’t just get from the most progressive classroom. The value from collaborations like these give students a step up once they are looking for jobs.”

The jam is designed to be a fun event for students coming from diverse backgrounds and disciplines as they connect virtually. In true Spartan spirit, the goal is to rise above challenges, learning to work in a team, and developing creative skills and their applications in a time-sensitive environment. And the icing on the cake is that students can win cash prizes, will receive free food, and revel in the camaraderie on the team. 

How the Adobe Creative Jam will work: 

Students who sign up will be grouped into teams of three to five to work on a creative brief that’s topical and relevant. Speakers from Adobe and other design professionals will join the students via Crowdcast to share tips and advice on the field. There will also be a tutorial, a deep dive into Adobe XD—a design software required to accomplish the project.

Teams will then have two hours to brainstorm ideas, think of solutions, and come up with a prototype design, following which each team will get two to three minutes to present their ideas. 

A set of finalists from each campus will improve their ideas overnight and present them again to the judges virtually on Saturday. A fresh set of judges will select overall winners. The winning teams will receive $250 each, giveaways from Adobe along with plenty of other goodies. 

Delacruz is an advocate of engaging students in experiential learning and pedagogy, peer mentoring, and other exciting activities that happen in the creative field. He stresses that industries work on quick turnaround of projects, and students need to be aware of certain tools to get the work done effectively, and

“This is where Adobe chips in with the tools that creative industries are built on,” he said.

 

SJSU Students Shine at Adobe Creative Jam

Donna Caldwell, a senior solutions consultant, leads the Adobe XD bootcamp for students who competed in the Adobe Creative Jam April 18, 2019. Photo by Robert C. Bain

Donna Caldwell, a senior solutions consultant, leads the Adobe XD bootcamp for students who competed in the Adobe Creative Jam April 18, 2019. Photo by Robert C. Bain

More than 100 San Jose State University students from a mix of disciplines and majors participated in Adobe’s Creative Jam April 18, at the company’s headquarters in downtown San Jose. The annual event allows students to gather to hear from design professionals, receive a portfolio review and compete in a live design challenge.

The 35 students who participated in the Creative Jam competition arrived at 3 p.m. for a deep, but quick tutorial on Adobe XD, a tool that allows users to design, prototype for websites and mobile apps. The tool is focused on allowing collaboration and creating user experience. By 4 p.m., students were divided into seven interdisciplinary design teams and challenged to create an app to help people digitally detox.

A team of SJSU students received the Judges' Award at the 2019 Adobe Creative Jam April 18 for designing a prototype of an app to help people digitally detox. Photo by Nathaniel Agot

A team of SJSU students received the Judges’ Award at the 2019 Adobe Creative Jam April 18 for designing a prototype of an app to help people digitally detox. Photo by Nathaniel Agot

A team of four including two graphic design students, a marketing major, a city and regional planning major, and a journalism and mass communications major approached the competition by designing an app to help people find a way to connect when they are together.

“As a group we noticed that when you hang out, people stare at their phones together,” said Sonam Dhanjal, a graphic design major. “We wanted to create an app that would be more like playtime—hanging out together and doing fun things. That’s the essence of how our app design started.”

Graphic design students Dhanjal and Christine Park said one of the biggest challenges was that they only had 30 minutes to create the visuals. Of the students, only one had used Adobe XD before the competition.

“The biggest takeaway is that we should always be creative and just keep creating,” said Amber Tsai, a business marketing major. “When you are working with people that you’ve never met before, you could build off of it with the energy your group has.”

The Adobe Creative Jam Judges Panel poses for a photo after selecting a winning prototype. Photo by Nanzi Muro.

The Adobe Creative Jam Judges Panel poses for a photo after selecting a winning prototype. Photo by Nanzi Muro.

All seven teams presented their prototypes to a panel of judges that included SJSU Associate Professor of advertising John Delacruz; Mel Day, a visiting lecturer in Art and Art History; Assistant Professor of graphic design Yoon Chung Han; Assistant Professor of media design Tina Korani; and Shannon Rhodes, an experience designer at Adobe.

The panel of judges selected their app “Challenge Accepted” for Judge’s Award. The app encourages groups of friends to accept dares they complete offline such as dance with no music for one minute, hold a funny face for 30 seconds, or other activities.

The other team to receive an award included five students from four majors.

Team Detox received the Audience Choice Award at the Adobe Creative Jam on April 18, 2019.

Team Detox received the Audience Choice Award at the Adobe Creative Jam on April 18, 2019. Photo by Nanzi Muro

“I was really happy to meet my teammates,” said Nhat Nguyen, a software engineering major who joined with a journalism and mass communication major, an economics major and two graphic design majors. “We found this synergy and it felt like a team and I really liked that aspect. We all worked well together and if someone didn’t know what to do, we said it out loud.”

With one hour to develop, design and prototype an app, the students divvied up the work with someone keeping track of time, someone in charge of design and someone in charge or prototyping.

“The hardest part of the competition is that the prompt was digital detoxing, but we were still creating an app,” said Jennifer Lopez, a graphic design major. “We wanted to get them away from social media and out of their regular phone usage to do some other activities.”

The team ultimately won the Audience Choice Award when they presented their app at the end of the evening.

“The biggest take away is that we learned from our teammates,” said Hoi Shan Cheung, a journalism and mass communications major. “The collaboration was really exciting.”

Their “detox” app idea creates a prompt to users that it is time to take a break from social media or online activity, asks them how much time they want to spend offline and offers option of activities such as meditating, breathing exercises or drawing.

While some students were engaged in the design competition, others signed up for a 30-minute, one-on-one portfolio review with design experts. Following the design competition and review, the students listened to presentations from two keynote speakers, Susan Wu, who as worked at CloudNOW, and Sariah Sizemore, a wellness trainer and coach who shared her thoughts on the mental and emotional implications of a reliance on digital products.

All the students on the two winning teams received a year’s subscription to the complete Adobe Creative Cloud suite and all competitors received a three-month subscription to Adobe Stock.

The planning committee for the event included Jennifer Redd, director of eCampus, Debra Caires, computer science lecturer, James Morgan, digital media art lecturer and Korani. View prototypes of all teams as well as more photos from the event online.

eCampus student assistant Thewodros Kebede contributed to this report.