Tool Spotlight

Tool Spotlight: Adobe Firefly

The newest addition to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Adobe Firefly is a browser-based app that uses “generative AI and simple text prompts to bring your ideas to life.” Firefly, drawing on the extensive Adobe Stock image library, can generate artistic or photorealistic images of almost anything you can imagine. 

AI generated image of a blue plate of chocolate chip cookies and a frosty glass of milk on a wooden table with a roaring fire in the background

AI-generated image created using Adobe Firefly. Prompt: a blue plate of chocolate chip cookies and a frosty glass of milk on a wooden table with a roaring fireplace in the background

AI-generated image created using Adobe Firefly. Prompt: two lemons with arms and legs shopping for dresses. Layered paper affect used.

Adobe Firefly also offers a generative fill function, which you can use to edit your own images by adding or removing objects, changing the background, and editing existing aspects of the image, such as color. 

Picture of a black cat on a tan couch pillow

Original photo


Photo of a black cat wearing a small gold crown and resting on orange and purple velvet pillows

Photo edited with Generative Fill in Adobe Firefly


Adobe Firefly is also incorporated into other Adobe apps, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Adobe Express, to power new features such as generative fill and text effects.  

How do I access Adobe Firefly?

In your internet browser, go to and sign in with your Clark account credentials.  

Students: Please note you’ll need to use a public computer, such as those in the library or lab spaces, to access Firefly and any of the Adobe apps. 

Where can I learn more? 

Click here to learn more about Adobe’s AI practices and app integration 

Click here to view Adobe Firefly Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning 

Click here to learn more about how to properly cite AI-generated content 

Click here to learn how to write effective AI prompts 

Tool Spotlight: Adobe Audition

Screenshot of Adobe Audition software, with audio waves shown in green

Ever thought about starting a podcast? This form of audio entertainment has exploded in popularity in recent years and continues to grow: in the next 5 years, Statistica predicts there will be over 100 million podcast listeners in the US alone. The software Adobe Audition is one of the most popular tools used to create and edit podcasts, and it is available to Clark faculty and staff. It can also be accessed by students on public university computers.  

In Adobe Audition, you can record or upload audio, remove background noise, add effects, trim and rearrange audio clips, and much more. Audition also works with Premier Pro, Adobe’s video editing software, to edit the audio track of a video clip to make sure whatever you’re recording sounds its best.  

To learn more about Adobe Audition and test it out, ITS recommends the following resources: 

As a reminder, all members of the Clark community have free access to LinkedIn Learning through their Clark account. Click here to sign in and activate your account. 

Tool Spotlight: LastPass

illustrated image of a computer and phone with password locks and checks

Recently, Clark University has partnered with LastPass, a password management application, to help students, staff, and faculty on campus protect their passwords and keep their accounts secure. There are multiple ways to access LastPass on your device or phone for ease of use.  

Why should I use LastPass?

We’re often told to create strong, complicated passwords and avoid reusing the same ones for different sites and apps in order to make our online lives more secure. Since most of us have so many accounts for different purposes, however, it can be difficult to create and remember so many passwords. 

Fortunately, LastPass can store all your passwords securely, so you don’t have to worry about remembering them. This allows you to use unique, strong passwords for all your important accounts (rather than using the same password for all of them, which you should never do). 

In addition, many password managers are helpful because they can: 

  • synchronize your passwords across your different devices, making it easier to log on, wherever you are, and whatever you’re using 
  • help spot fake websites, which will protect you from phishing attacks 
  • let you know if you’re re-using the same password across different accounts 
  • notify you if your password appears within a known data breach so you know if you need to change it 
  • work across platforms, so you could (for example) use a single password manager that would work for your iPhone and your Windows desktop 

How secure is LastPass?

Clark’s implementation of LastPass has been designed to maximize the level of security, to the highest possible. Multiple departments, including ITS, rely on LastPass to protect credentials. The combination of LastPass and its integration with your existing Clark credentials in Microsoft, required password complexity, and multifactor authentication offers enhanced security of your content within LastPass. This architecture requires both LastPass and Microsoft be compromised to access our Vaults.   

Is there a difference between letting my browser save my passwords and letting LastPass save them? 

Yes. Because “very few people ever log out of their browser profile,” passwords stored in your internet browser such as Chrome, Safari, or Firefox are left “decrypted and available” most of the time, according to LastPass employee Amber Steel. With a password manager, “encryption and decryption happen locally on the device” and therefore provide an extra layer of security.  

How can I learn more?

Click here to check out the Lastpass page on the ITS website! 

Tool Spotlight: Microsoft Sway

Lesser known than its older siblings such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Sway joined the Microsoft family in 2014. Since then, it has grown substantially into an intuitive and unique app perfect for newsletters, announcements, portfolios, and presentations.  Sway is an online app that can be accessed through your Clark Microsoft account.  

How do I access Sway? 

  1. Log into
  2. Under Web Services, click Email
  3. Click on the grid of dots in the upper left corner of the screen
    1. Screenshot of Outlook for Web application
  4. From the listed apps, select Sway. If you don’t see Sway in this list, click Explore all apps at the bottom of the pane.
    1. Screenshot of Microsoft 365 apps pane

How do I create a Sway?

Once you open the Sway app in your internet browser, you can create a Sway based on a template, or view tutorials to get started.

Screenshot of Microsoft Sway homepage in internet browser  

What makes Sway unique?

Sways are designed to be viewed online, unlike most documents or presentations, so no software is required to open, edit, or view them. Each Sway has a specific, stable, and user-friendly link you can share with students or campus partners so they can follow along or revisit your presentation, article, or report later on. Best of all, it’s easy to embed media like images, videos, links, and documents within the Sway itself  

How can I learn more?

Check out this sample Sway from ITS below, or Book an appointment with the technology training specialist!


Tool Spotlight: Adobe Express

Looking for an intuitive, powerful, and creative tool to help you create flyers, infographics, or social media posts? Check out Adobe Express, a web-based app included in Adobe Creative Cloud and available to all faculty and staff.  

Adobe Express has thousands of templates for presentations, videos, stationery, learning aids, business cards, webpages, and more. The app allows you complete control over every aspect of your design and even includes new AI tools to edit or create graphics and text effects.  

AI generated cartoon image of students wearing red walking across a college campus in the wintertime

Image created in Adobe Express using AI

Click here to check out the university’s style guides, including logo usage and approved color schemes 

How should I use Adobe Express?

  • Plan social media posts for your club, department, or event 
  • Provide learning aids like short videos, timelines, or graphic organizers in your Canvas course  
  • Demonstrate your learning with an infographic or brochure 
  • Level up your LinkedIn posts with eye-catching visuals 
  • Play around with your presentations 

How do I access Adobe Express?

For Faculty/Staff: 

  • In your internet browser, go to  
  • Sign in with your Clark email and Clark password 
  • Start creating! 

Where can I learn more?

Click here to view and save a LinkedIn Learning course on Adobe Express 

Activate your LinkedIn Learning account by clicking here 

Keep an eye on the ITS Events page for workshop in Spring 2024! 

Tool Spotlight: Microsoft To Do

Grab coffee, return library book, reply to email…whatever’s on your to-do list, Microsoft To Do can help you stay organized and find time for all your tasks.  

Microsoft To Do is a relatively new feature included within your Clark Microsoft account. You can access it from Outlook online by clicking the blue checkmark, or by visiting in your internet browser and signing in with your Clark credentials.  

To Do is linked with your Clark email and calendar, so any flagged messages in your inbox will automatically be collected in your Flagged Email list. The My Day list includes any tasks or flagged emails due on that day, while Tasks is a complete list of every item currently on your to-do list. You can also create new lists if you’d like to organize tasks differently, such as by project or class. 

To create a new task, start typing anywhere you see the words Add a task. Once you’ve added a task, click on it to see your options, including setting a due date, adding a reminder, jotting down any notes, or repeating the task again in the future. 

View To Do in Outlook mail or calendar online by clicking the checkmark icon in the upper right toolbar. This way, you can see important tasks and messages as you respond to email or plan out your week.  

Tip: Drag a task from the To Do window into your calendar to block off time to complete the task and build your schedule.  

Microsoft To Do is also available as an app from the App Store (for iOS) and the Play Store (for Android) so you can keep track of tasks on the go.  

Learn more about Microsoft To Do by… 

Tool Spotlight: Adobe Creative Cloud

aptop computer displaying logotypes of Adobe Creative Cloud, a set of applications and services from Adobe Systems

Clark University ITS is proud to now offer Adobe Creative Cloud on all public computers in addition to Adobe licenses for all faculty and staff. Creative Cloud includes many powerful tools, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Acrobat, Audition, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, and more!   

All Adobe applications do different things: Lightroom and Photoshop, for example, are designed for photo editing, while Acrobat is designed for editing and creating PDFs. As the collection’s name suggests, however, all of them support creative pursuits, such as podcasting, graphic design, video editing, and more.  

Since Adobe Creative Cloud includes several complex applications, ITS has a few tips and tricks on getting started and making the most of this technology. 

Tips for Getting Started with Adobe

  • Identify 1-2 app(s) that best fit your current projects. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to learn more later! 

Happy Creating! If you have any questions, please contact the Help Desk by emailing or calling 508-793-7745. 

Tool Spotlight: Microsoft Forms and Qualtrics

You may be familiar with Qualtrics, an online survey and research tool. Qualtrics is incredibly powerful, especially for research intensive projects. Companies such as Volkswagen and MasterCard use it to determine detailed customer information and filter response data. 

However, Qualtrics is not the only tool available to the Clark community: all Clarkies also have access to Microsoft Forms, a simplified, online data collection software perfect for less intensive projects.  

What’s the difference between the two? 

Qualtrics is ideal for research projects, surveys with multiple parts, or surveys that take a long time to complete. It is also ideal for surveys in which you’d like greater control over grouping, reminding and tracking participants, and filtering or manipulating the results. Some, however, may find it complicated.  

Forms, on the other hand, is ideal for shorter projects, such as registration, RSVPs, informal quizzes, or quick feedback. They are especially great if you want to quickly restrict participants to Clark users. Surveys on Microsoft Forms is easy to complete and view on mobile devices, and many find it more user-friendly and quicker to set up. While the results in Forms are easy to understand, they are not easily filtered or manipulated. 

Which one should I use?

The best survey tool for your project depends on the nature of the survey or research you’re creating. Ask yourself the following questions to decide which would work best for your needs: 

  • Do I want this survey to be short or extensive?
  • How much metadata do I need or want?
    • Metadata is data about data – for example, the type of computer and browser used by someone completing the survey. Qualtrics gathers more metadata than Forms.
  • Do I need to create groups of participants and track their participation?
  • Am I comfortable with manipulating response data and creating my own results report?
  • Am I interested in qualitative or quantitative data?

How can I learn more about Forms? 

Staff and faculty can schedule an appointment with the technology training specialist if you’d like to learn more about Forms, or if you’d like assistance deciding which tool to use. ITS also has a curated playlist on LinkedIn Learning. Please be sure to activate your free LinkedIn Learning account first.  

Click here to view the LinkedIn Learning playlist on Microsoft Forms  

How can I learn more about Qualtrics? 

As a complex tool, Clark contracts with Qualtrics to provide support for all users. Qualtrics Support offers extensive videos, how-to guides, and survey best practices on their website (Qualtrics Support) and their YouTube Channel.  Additionally, you can receive personalized support from a Qualtrics expert by chat, email or over the phone. Click here to learn more about getting Qualtrics Support. 


Office 2021: Available Now for Faculty and Staff

Office 2021

Microsoft Office has been available since 1990. Over the past 33 years, the tools included in the Office suite, such as Word, Outlook, and Excel, have expanded and improved (to see just how much, scroll through the visual history of Microsoft Word).

ITS is excited to announce that Office 2021 is now available as an optional update on most Clark-provided Windows computers for faculty and staff. Labs and public computing spaces will be updated over the Summer.

How Do I Update?

Update to Office 2021 by following these step-by-step instructions. If you’d like further guidance on using the new features and functions discussed in this article, please contact

Why Should I Update?

Curious about what this update has in store? Keep reading to learn more about the exciting changes coming to a (Windows) screen near you!

Accessibility Checker

Microsoft’s accessibility checker is now available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This tool identifies ways you can make your document or presentation more accessible for everyone, including adding alternative text for images and optimizing file format for screen reading. You can see these suggestions by going to the “Review” tab in any of these three tools.

Dark Mode in Microsoft Word

Late night writing session? Turn on dark mode in Microsoft Word to reduce blue light exposure, which can contribute to eyestrain and headaches. Bonus: using applications in the dark mode can save battery power on your laptop, tablet, or phone.

XLookup in Excel

If you’ve ever used HLookup or VLookup in Excel, you know that they are extremely powerful and frequently tricky functions. XLookup is their sleeker younger sibling, which doesn’t require you to specify the direction of your data and simplifies formula input. Check out this YouTube video to learn more about how this function can save you time.

Cat with a crown

A cat with a crown

Improved Drawing and Ink

Do you like to scribble over your data or lecture slides? Office 2021 includes improved drawing and ink functionality in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can even replay your annotations if presenting information to a group or enhance existing pictures for research (or for your beloved pet).

Translate emails in Outlook

Many Clarkies communicate in multiple languages or collaborate with international colleagues. Outlook for Windows can now quickly and easily translate incoming or outgoing messages into another language to improve communication. Follow Microsoft’s instructions to learn how to enable this feature.

Tool Spotlight: Whiteboards in Virtual Meetings

Screenshot of a whiteboard

These days, Clark classes, meetings, and events often take place virtually in Teams or Zoom. While many of us know about the basic features of these online spaces, such as chat and screensharing, including a digital whiteboard in your next virtual gathering can be a unique, collaborative, and fun way to engage your fellow Clarkies. Whether you’re brainstorming ideas for a group project or outlining goals for a staff initiative, whiteboards can help the ideas flow!

How do I create a whiteboard?

In either Teams or Zoom, navigate to the screen-sharing option. When you opt to share your screen, the software presents you with a few different options: you can elect to share your whole screen, one app, or a whiteboard. Choose the whiteboard option, and everyone in the meeting will be able to see it and, if you choose, interact with it.

What can I do in a whiteboard?

The beauty of a whiteboard is that it is more open-ended than a traditional Word document that is typically used to take meeting notes. Once the whiteboard is open, everyone will have access to a toolbar. By selecting different options from this toolbar, meeting participants can type new text, draw diagrams, and add shapes such as hearts or arrows to draw attention to different parts or ideas. These functions vary a little between Teams and Zoom (in Teams, for example, you can add images or add flow chart templates to your whiteboard), but both are intuitive and easy to use.

What happens next?

Zoom users can choose to save the whiteboard to their device as a picture or PDF. Those who work in Teams will notice that the whiteboard will be added to the meeting chat after the meeting itself ends, and, depending on your account settings, may also be automatically saved in OneDrive.

I want to try this, but can I practice first?

Yes! Please reach out to to learn more about this wonderful tool and how to use it.