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Searching for people using DPS in the education market

jzhang2016
Level 5
Level 5

Hello. I have been searching for others in the education market utilizing DPS in classrooms. We have taken on this challenge in creating immersive educational resources to enlighten todays student in our small niche market and would love to connect with others doing the same. I have searched the web for hours over the past couple years to see what others are doing and how this platform could work in classroom environments as apposed to magazine or business models. Our challenge hasn't been creating engaging content, but getting the instructors onboard in utilizing this new technology and pedagogy in the classroom.

Thoughts?

Jeff

12 Replies
Grant_Fritch
Level 3
Level 3

Hey Jeff - Engaging students is a challenge.  We have used Adobe Captivate to build interactive quizzes. We have also used HTML 'rub off' images as well.  We have also used Video and Audio and links from websites that already have great content.  What exactly are you trying to do in your classroom App that differs from your traditional textbooks?

jzhang2016
Level 5
Level 5

Hi Grant. We have been doing some research on this topic for a few years now and have begun to create content that is nothing like traditional textbook pedagogy. Todays students are not too interested in reading text, memorizing terms, and taking tests. We are creating content that is story based and relative to users lives. We are creating experiences as apposed to a static product with interactive content. We are producing our own audio and video, building HTML interactions (we have utilized and incorporated BookWidgets to create HTML interactions - you need only remove the .wdgt extension upon export and it turns into an HTML folder with an index.html file to point from indesign), as well as Edge Animate and Hype to create animations. We also link to good sites and have even incorporated instant feedback overlays for teacher/student surveys or class discussions quizzes utilizing Kahoot.

In short, we are breaking away from the mold of the traditional teaching and immersing ourselves into new ways of Instructional Design and eLearning course development and using DPS as our deployment. With BYOD becoming more and more prominent in schools these days, we want to offer students good cross-platform educational/experience tools for all. So just I'm just in search of anyone else using DPS in this way successfully.

Jeff

Saint Mary's Press of Minnesota

lynnc49520837
Level 1
Level 1

HI Jeff,

There is quite a bit going on in the EDU market with DPS.  There is a DPS team at Adobe working directly with the EDU marketplace.  To mention just a few examples:  The latest release of DPS showcased UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School's new Leadership app using the new release of DPS.  (Mobile apps marketing, success stories | Adobe Digital Publishing Solution) Also, The University of Texas at Austin is using DPS to deliver (and monetize) their Energy 101 course app (as pre-req for courses at Stanford & Duke, new hire at Exxon).  Tablets, smartphones and mobile devices represent a fundamental shift in how institutions interact with students, faculty and all their stakeholders.  The challenge is developing engaging, interactive experiences that maximize learning outcomes.  Adaptive learning technologies are the future.  There's a very interesting workflow using Adobe's Creative Cloud for Enterprise, Digital Publishing Solution and Adobe Experience Manager -- institutions can ensure educators have the tools they need for curriculum development and distribution, tracking learning outcomes, and maximizing student success.  Students benefit from accessing content across a range of devices and course resources and materials can be more dynamic and engaging.  You're researching some interesting and rewarding use of DPS.  You might want to check out the MAX conference in October, there will be pre-conference workshops on DPS.  Might be interesting experience.

imjeffp
Level 1
Level 1

I'm the guy who did the production on the Energy 101 app--thanks for the shout out! Our next DPS project is Thermo 101.

One of the issues we're running into in our group is the low adoption of tablets in the college classroom. Lots of phones and laptops, but nearly half the students prefer to access the content on a non-mobile platform. The lack of a web viewer in DPS 2015 is throwing a wrench in our upgrade plans.

chaik
Employee
Employee

imjeffp, that's a great app so well done!

We're hard at work on the new web viewer so stay tuned! I'd love to hear your feedback, so I'll reach out to you privately.

Brian

lynnc49520837
Level 1
Level 1

One more thought because you shared:

"Our challenge hasn't been creating engaging content, but getting the instructors onboard in utilizing this new technology and pedagogy in the classroom."

is to speak with an Adobe Education Leader.  The AELs are educators using Adobe tools for teaching and learning.  They are a rich community of experts and practitioners.

jzhang2016
Level 5
Level 5

Hi and thank you for your insite! I will certainly look into these resources.

Jeff

Herbert2001
Level 1
Level 1

I am an instructor at a couple of colleges, and have been teaching for the better part of 15 years. And my experience with technology in the classroom tells me that DPS is too closed an environment to succeed as an instructor tool.

One college where I teach gives every student a free iPad, and ebook versions of reference books from a respected publisher. Even though the college administration is trying to enforce the use of these books in the classroom, most instructors and students do not see the point of using the platform in that way at all.

DPS produces closed-off apps which resemble classical flip books and offer relatively shallow interactivity (unless html/css/js produced content is added), and it takes a lot of effort and skill on the part of the instructor to create a half-decent result. They are also relatively difficult to update in terms of content (compared to a web platform and a decent backend). The fact remains that InDesign is meant mainly for static page designs and content - overlays do not change this in any realistic sense.

Many of my colleagues are very technically inclined (developers), as well as design savvy. Even with that level of knowledge, I just do not see them use DPS to generate apps for their classes or deploy the content through a content viewer.  I certainly would never think of using DPS this way - and I teach DPS! Point in case: the Adobe Content Viewer is a far too limited viewing platform (just compare to a browser), and unsuitable for anything but testing an app.

DPS just cannot compete with the flexibility of a browser environment, which offers excellent viewing options, can display 2d and 3d content with ease (animated or not), many tools exist to leverage html5 within the browser, and so on, and so forth. My experience also tells me that most of my students tend to check out class related files on their desktop and laptops, and use their cell phones for social media and quick tidbits of information, games, etc. (many do not even touch their tablets during class time).

Integrating highly interactive "html5" content in DPS is a hassle and far less flexible compared to a web app that is integrated in a web page. And any html/css/js/svg/canvas content can be relatively easily converted to or created for either a web app which runs responsively on most platforms (either mobile or desktop), or compiled to an actual app through the use of Cordova, PhoneGap, etc.

InDesign exports to epub (zipped up html and css files) and html - which can be easily integrated in a web platform experience, with all the additional benefits that the web platform offers us educators. And it is a platform that allows for easy bidirectional communication and asset creation: students can amend the instructor's content using a variety of tools. Browsers offer a multitude of viewing possibilities, bookmarking, favourites, content management plugins, and what not, to assist students in their learning. And this is exactly what most of my students do: they use the browser as a tool to organize their content and assets. Adobe's content viewer is a joke compared. 99% of that functionality must be manually recreated by hand in an app. Madness.

The Energy 101 eBook (I would not want to call it an app(lication)) looks great, but is in effect a flip book with a bit of interactivity bolted on top of it. I am certain it took a lot of time and effort to create through DPS (heck, I built many "Multimedia CD-roms before the advent of the web), and it looks like an impressive example of what can be done with the platform, but I still remain convinced at this point that it offers little more over a printed edition in terms of usability and readability.

Throughout my years as an educator, I have witnessed many technology based educational efforts and systems, many much more focused on (e)learning compared to DPS - most failed to make even a dent in the classrooms (on any level from grade school up to university). As educators we have to be extremely careful not to fall in the "technology" trap.

Anyway, my point is that we already have an open platform with open standards which allow teachers and students to produce just about any content, interactive or not, in a collaborative environment which works on ANY device that supports a web browser. DPS is and remains, in my opinion as a teacher, communicator, and technologist, a far too static, proprietary, complicated, closed-off, and unidirectional platform for it to succeed as an educational publishing solution. And all this aside from the obscure and opaque licensing costs attached to DPS.

jzhang2016
Level 5
Level 5

Thanks for your input Herbert2001. I am in a slightly different situation then you as I work for a publisher that produces both print and digital text books as well as applications for k-12. We have an Enterprise account with Adobe and can create unlimited applications each year. Production apps have more features and flexibility then the content viewer. We do incorporate advanced interactivity into our app content as well as that of which is available in Indesign. We also work with plenty of HTML content to enrich the experience. As far as being a closed environment, DPS 2015 offers us the flexibility to have dynamic content so we may keep our users up to date at any given moment.

The problem with using the web to deliver out educational resources is that they are harder to monetize then an app or digital book. So we create content that will work on the web and can be packaged inside of a DPS environment to sell.

jeffreyp6484616
Level 2
Level 2

Yes!!

Look at the app as an updatable textbook that sells for less than the printed version, but generates more profit for the writer/publisher.

Herbert2001
Level 1
Level 1

Funnily enough I considered writing about the one caveat in relation to (traditional) publishers: many are still stuck in the 20th century business model of monetizing on their content. Others in the educational market have adapted, and are inventing new and original approaches.

It would be relatively simple to provide a web app, or web-based experience which is partly free, and asks for a registration fee or subscription service in order to access the rest of the content (Lynda). Freemium models are also a possibility.

That way, the content becomes automatically part of the web, and even though segments may not publicly available, it will still attract attention and readers/viewers, with the option to lure them into registering their personal information in exchange for one more free chapter - while with a closed-off app, it is far, FAR harder to monetize on such an interactive ebook.

On top of this, currently the app markets are absolutely swamped and overly saturated, and it is very, very difficult to earn money with any app. Every day tenths of new apps are published, and attracting attention to your app is a tough nut to crack, and monetizing on it is a bit of a lottery. It has, ironically, become much more dependent on "classic" advertising techniques. Often an additional website is required as well. Of course, your app might be part of a very focused market, which might make it easier.

In the end though, an app may be much more costly to maintain, advertise, and produce. And prove to be incredibly difficult to make any money with. Point in case: the Energy 101 ebook/course app has not even been purchased enough times since Nov 2014 to warrant any user reviews yet on the iStore (it takes 5 reviews comments, etc, by the way after an update), and the number of Android installs remains a paltry number: between 10 and 50.

So much effort and costs made, and so little return. This is a major reason to stay away from apps, aside from all the other disadvantages I mentioned earlier.

Mitch_Green
Employee
Employee

Herbert 2001,

I encourage you to take a look at the recently released update to DPS (now called Digital Publishing Solution). While this complete rewrite of DPS introduces a lot of interesting capabilities, these in particular may interest you:

1. Enable content to be pure HTML authored using any HTML authoring tool or system without any requirement that content be based on fixed-layout pages generated from InDesign. InDesign can still be used to create fixed-layout pages, but we've opened the door to pure HTML as well. Anything you can do in a web page you can do in a DPS HTML article.

2. Enable content producers to publish Articles at a time, not just issues of a magazine. At the same time, we introduced the notion of adding images (and soon video) into the app, and introduced Collections to organize Articles and images into topical areas. Now, the "atomic unit" in the system is an Article and a Collection is just a defined set of Articles and images displayed in a dynamically drawn layout called a Browse Page.  The end result is a much better user experience.

3. We are close to releasing a browser-based viewer for Macintosh and Windows computers. This totally rewritten web viewer will display HTML content as HTML but will still leverage the entitlement and analytics services provided as part of DPS.

You can read about it here, Digital publishing software | Adobe Digital Publishing Solution.

Mitch Green

Director of Product Management, Adobe Digital Publishing Solution