Department of Applied Communication

Degree Spotlight: Applied Communication

Degree Spotlight Applied Communication

Dr. Gerald Driskill provides an overview of the applied communications program.

The BA in applied communication is a versatile program that focuses on professional writing, organizational communication, and developing and analyzing messages. For Dr. Gerald Driskill, a professor in the Department of Applied Communication, it’s all about creating a better social world through learning positive communication.

“Fostering better social worlds through positive communication is a mission we carry across our programs,” Driskill said. “From every classroom to every syllabus, it’s all about creating better worlds.”

Dr. Gerald Driskill, Program Coordinator/ Photo Christopher Bailey

Co-Creation

The concept of co-creation is central to the applied communication program. Driskill explained that co-creation is more than teaching content knowledge or preparing students for exams; co-creation is a collaboration of students and instructors.

“When we say co-creation, we’re asking students what forms of communication will make your organization better or your family better,” Driskill said.

Driskill makes it clear: co-creation is not solving problems or fixing problems; co-creation is about listening and understanding what the problems are, and then identifying ways to move forward with communication.

Mentoring

A key aspect of co-creation is mentoring and building a relationship with the student.

“One of the practices we take into our online program is we make sure students have individual contact the first week or two with their instructor. It is a requirement,” Driskill said.

Nigel Spears, Communication Skill Center assistant director and former student of Driskill, credits the applied communication department for much of his academic success.

“It wasn’t until I met this department that I began to understand that what I learned in the classroom can apply to my everyday life,” Spears said.

Driskill further noted, mentoring is not offered directly to students, but the mentoring that develops with a student comes with being an instructor in that department.

“It’s mentoring, but it runs deeper than that,” Driskill said. “It’s how we want our classes set up, how we want our relationships set up, so those wanting help can get it.”

Students that need extra help can reach out to the Communication Skill Center — an on-campus resource designed to help students overcome difficulties associated with public speaking. Online students who are having trouble may receive help through video chats via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. To receive help students must book an appointment first.

Courses Offered

The applied communication program has courses that are geared for today’s job market, such as ACOM 3316 Interviewing. This course develops the student’s ability to effectively prepare for and participate in a variety of interview situations. Another course, ACOM 3330 Professional Communication, focuses on building positive relationships in organizations.

Students can complete the applied communication degree online or on campus. Courses are available in 16-week and 7-week (accelerated) formats.

For more information call 501.569.3158

Communication Skill Center (CSC)

At Your Fingertips: Communication Skill Center

Communication Skill Center Communications Skills Center

Spotlighting the UALR Communication Skills Center

 If you struggle with communicating clearly and effectively, the Communication Skill Center (CSC) may be just what you need. The CSC is a free student resource aimed at helping students through the speech creation process.

“We understand that a lot of people struggle with public speaking and anxiety,” said Nigel Spears, CSC assistant director. “We just want to help people manage their anxiety and stress when it comes to communication.”

Spears goes on to say the CSC can also help students with outlining, PowerPoint, conducting research, and brainstorming topics.

CSC Assistant Director Nigel Spears/ Photo by Chris Bailey

Online Students

The CSC is not just a resource for on-campus students. Their services also extend to online students. “Everything the CSC offers face to face, we can also do online,” Spears said. Online services are provided through video chats via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Video chats are booked by appointment only. Students can request help or schedule a video chat by emailing the CSC at communication.skill.center@gmail.com.

Looking Toward the Future

According to Spears, the CSC is looking at various ways to improve the services provided to online students. “For a lot of online students, it is hard for them to grasp information when they can’t ask a question right away and get a response,” he said. “We are currently looking at ways to improve on that delay time.”

For more information on the Communication Skill Center, call (501) 569-3158. You can also reach the center by email at communication.skill.center@gmail.com

Staying organized is key to online success

Tips for online success

Dr. Timothy Edwards gives his tips for online student success.


There are a lot of benefits to an online education, but according to at least one professor, students need to have good organizational skills to be successful in an online environment. Dr. Timothy Edwards, interim director of the School of Mass Communication, shared some tips on how students can stay organized in their online courses. 

Edwards explains being organized is more than just keeping up with your assignments. 

“The most important thing is keeping up with the schedule,” Edwards said. This can be a major issue for online students if they’re not careful, according to Edwards. Edwards explained it is important that online students “keep up with the schedule in your syllabus.” 

While it is important to keep up with scheduling, Edwards said it is also important for students to know what is expected of them. 

“You must know the expectations of the professor,” Edwards said. “If the professor says check in every week at a certain time, you make sure you check in every week at a certain time.”

Edwards added that if you are an online student who’s struggling with adjusting to classes online or you are feeling alone in your struggles, a simple email could be the answer to your problem.

“If you are having issues, you must communicate with your professor regularly to stay ahead,” said Edwards. “That’s what your instructors are there for; use them.” 

UA Little Rock currently offers more than 400 courses online. For more information on fully online degree programs call (501) 569-3003.

 

Time-management tips for student success

Cartoon about time management with kidsBetween school, work, family and social obligations, finding time to get everything done can be a challenge. This is especially true for students taking online courses that have a lot of work-at-your-own-pace assignments. However, with a time-management plan this doesn’t have to be an obstacle. The following tips can help you develop a basic strategy for completing your online courses (and other tasks!), reduce stress and work more efficiently.

Get a planner or calendar.

Calendars are a great way to keep track of tests and assignment due dates. iStudiez Pro is one of many great digital options (you can also try the lite version for free), or you can order a traditional planner online through the UA Little Rock Bookstore when you order your textbooks.
Blackboard also has a built-in calendar feature that allows you to create date reminders. Read our Calendar tutorial for more information about the Blackboard Calendar. Continue reading “Time-management tips for student success”

5 myths about online classes

Whether someone has taken many online classes or none, everyone has different opinions about them. For example, one person may believe online classes are easier than traditional classes, while another may find them more challenging. This article addresses 5 common myths about online classes.

1. You don’t need to have any experience with computers to take an online class.

While you don’t have to be a computer expert to take an online class, you will need to have a basic knowledge of computers. If you are considering taking a class online, first ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you comfortable using a computer on a daily basis?
  • Do you have regular, reliable access to a computer? How about to an alternate computer should something happen to your primary?
  • Do you have good written communication skills?
  • Continue reading “5 myths about online classes”

Military Student Success Center

Sign saying 'Home of the free because of the brave" above door

On December 16, 2016, UA Little Rock opened the the Military Student Success Center. The center was made possible through the generosity of a grant from the Student Veterans of America and Home Depot along with the support from campus leaders, veterans, students, and Veterans Villages of America.

Previously, UA Little Rock housed the Offices of Veteran Affairs, the Military Academic Advisor, and the Military Ombudsman. The center combines these offices to streamline the enrollment, retention, and processing of VA documents. Military and veteran students of both the main and online campuses can visit the center to socialize, study, and get information about available resources.

The facility has a 1,634-square-foot lounge, study area with computers, conference room, and kitchen. According to the center’s website, they serve “over 700 Active Duty, Reservists, National Guardsmen, Veterans, and their family members.” Continue reading “Military Student Success Center”

BAS Degree Promotes Skills for Career Advancement

Louis Scivally, B.A.S. Advisor
Louis Scivally, B.A.S. Advisor

Designed with the working adult in mind, the Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) is an online completion program designed for students hoping to transition from their technical fields to a bachelor’s degree.

According to the B.A.S. website, “This interdisciplinary program is for students who desire to enhance their knowledge, analytical abilities and critical thinking skills for upward mobility in their field.” Students in the B.A.S. degree program will complete 18 hours of required organizational leadership courses and 18 hours of professional course electives. Required courses include Principles of Management, Writing for the Workplace, and Professional Communication. Options for the professional course electives include Data Analysis/Visualization, Organizational Psychology, and Persuasive Presentations.

To qualify for admission, prospective students must have an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree from a regionally-accredited college or university, or at least 40 hours of technical military credits. These credits will be applied to the 120 credit hours required for the B.A.S. degree. Continue reading “BAS Degree Promotes Skills for Career Advancement”

Course Spotlight: Information Visualization


“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. To put that into perspective, 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years alone…”

– via study published by International Business Machines Corp.


 

Dr. Dirk Reiners has been an associate professor at UA Little Rock since 2014. Information Visualization is one of four courses that he teaches with the Department of Information Science in the College of Engineering and Information Technology. Continue reading “Course Spotlight: Information Visualization”

Industry-backed programs prepare future leaders in data quality

Dr. John Talburt
Dr. John Talburt | IQ Graduate Coordinator, Professor and Advisor

The Information Quality (IQ) graduate programs at UA Little Rock are designed to prepare students for the rapidly growing field of information quality by providing a comprehensive education of theory alongside industry-standard training. Students may choose from a graduate certificate in IQ, Master of Science in IQ, or a Doctor of Philosophy in computer and information sciences. 

According to the IQ program page, the programs are “designed to prepare students to pursue a variety of IQ careers such as Chief Data Officer, Information Quality Manager, Director of Data Governance, Data Steward, Information Quality Analyst, and Data Scientist, or to pursue doctoral-level graduate studies in preparation for information quality research and instructional roles.”

Dr. John Talburt, coordinator and advisor for the IQ graduate programs, is a leading researcher in his field and an award-winning faculty member. He is known for helping students not only on their academic paths, but also with establishing thriving careers. Continue reading “Industry-backed programs prepare future leaders in data quality”

Course Spotlight: Business Communications


“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right?
This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

― Jerry Seinfeld

 


In 2005, Sarah Clements graduated from UA Little Rock with a masters degree in interpersonal & organizational communication (now called applied communications) and started teaching within the College of Business. Her course, business communications, helps students with what many cite as a major fear: public speaking.  Continue reading “Course Spotlight: Business Communications”

Doors open for students with business management degrees


Maybe you’re already in a career field you love, but you’re looking for a way to expand your options in the workplace. Perhaps you haven’t chosen a career just yet, and you’re interested in a degree that’s as open and versatile as you are.

If gaining transferable skills and advancing your career are at the top of your wants list, you may be interested in seeking a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in management.

Business administration covers a broad field of study, from marketing and information systems to management and human resources. Business students gain knowledge in all areas of modern business and across all industries. Students also reap the benefits of learning communication skills, team-building abilities, and critical thinking skills, preparing them to be effective leaders in a variety of workplace settings.

The College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers the Bachelor of Business Administration in management in multiple formats, including completely online. Students can choose whether they want to focus on human resources management or general business management.

Dr. Susie Cox, professor and chair of the Department of Management, speaks to the variety of options for management degree holders, even for those who are unsure of where they are headed in their careers. Continue reading “Doors open for students with business management degrees”

The future of college textbooks is open

Stack of books and laptop on wooden tableFor many students and parents, the cost of college textbooks may come as a surprise. A study published by the General Accountability Office in 2013 revealed that textbook costs rose 82 percent between 2002 and 2012. The National Association of College Stores (NACS) says the average college student will spend $655 on textbooks each year. The frustration that comes with these rising costs has motivated educators to provide more affordable and accessible academic resources for their students.

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are defined by the Hewlett Foundation as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” Continue reading “The future of college textbooks is open”

eLearning librarian tackles challenges facing online students

Author’s Note: If you (like Cori) are an auditory learner, please check out our short recording of the interview where Cori discusses ILL and OER, along with some advice she’s learned while on her path as an online student and librarian.

Cori Schmidtbauer knows firsthand the difficulties that online students face. Born and raised in California, she earned her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree online through San Jose State University. Since October 2016, she has been the eLearning Librarian in Ottenheimer Library at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she is also earning her Master of Education in Learning Systems Technology degree online.

As the eLearning Librarian, Cori is interested in making the lives of online students easier. With collaboration from a colleague, she conducted a survey in Fall 2016 to assess online students’ awareness of library services and resources that are available to them. It turns out that many students were not aware of certain services, such as Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Continue reading “eLearning librarian tackles challenges facing online students”

Blackboard Student Support

BlackboardBasics

At Your Fingertips: Blackboard Student Support

By now, you’re probably at least familiar with the concept of “online courses.” However, you may be wondering “How do I access my online courses, and who’s going to help me if I have a problem?”

Blackboard is UA Little Rock’s online learning management system where students can access their course work, such as assignments, media, tests, and grades. You can also communicate with your classmates and instructors through the Blackboard interface via discussions, messaging, and video collaboration.

Blackboard’s technology accommodates a variety of learning environments. While students who take classes on campus may use Blackboard as a digital extension of their classroom, for fully online students, Blackboard is the classroom.

One example of how online students can have an engaging classroom experience without ever stepping foot on campus is through Blackboard Collaborate. Collaborate allows you to engage in real-time discussions with your classmates and instructors using a chat-room format with webcams, microphones, and screen-sharing, creating a face-to-face experience as if you were in a physical classroom together.

Because the technology is potentially new to many students, UA Little Rock offers Blackboard Student Support to assist those who may struggle with accessing or navigating their online courses. Some of the resources offered through UA Little Rock’s Blackboard Student Support include: Continue reading “Blackboard Student Support”

UA Little Rock students help preserve veterans oral history

A group of students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are participating in a project that will help bring veteran stories to a new generation.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., (L) and Dr. Sherry Robertson.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., (L) and Dr. Sherry Robertson.
The Veterans History Project is a program of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center where the first hand, oral histories of veterans, along with pictures or artifacts, are collected and preserved. The project relies on veteran volunteers to contribute their stories.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., visited UALR on March 23 to talk with students, faculty, and veterans about the importance of the project. —>

Mindfulness Group aims to abate student stress

“In the past, as a child, we used to breathe better. We didn’t worry about the future. We stayed in the present—playing and enjoying life. So, maybe it’s time to go back.” – Cai Carvalhaes

We’re halfway through the semester, and this time of the year can often be stressful for students. Luckily, there’s a way to defuse some of that tension and anxiety through UALR’s “Mindfulness Group.”

Cai Carvalhaes with UALR Counseling Services demonstrates a mindfulness exercise.
Cai Carvalhaes with UALR Counseling Services demonstrates a mindfulness exercise.
You may be asking, “What is mindfulness?” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

Cai Carvalhaes, a clinical social worker intern with UALR Counseling Services, leads the Mindfulness Group once a week. Continue reading “Mindfulness Group aims to abate student stress”

UA Little Rock Bookstore

At Your Fingertips: UA Little Rock Bookstore

UALR Bookstore – UALR Online

UALR Bookstore manager Brenda Thomas says her store offers convenient, affordable services to students both online and on campus.


At the beginning of every semester, there’s always one thing that students have to do – buy books. Luckily, the UA Little Rock Bookstore has everything students need, from books and supplies to university apparel.

The UA Little Rock Bookstore is owned and operated by Barnes & Noble and has been active on campus for 20 years. Bookstore manager Brenda Thomas has been working at the campus bookstore for 15 of those years, and she said that the UA Little Rock Bookstore’s purpose is to take care of a student’s book-related needs—whether that student is on or off campus. Continue reading “UA Little Rock Bookstore”

University Writing Center

At Your Fingertips: University Writing Center


College is often more about honing one’s skills than producing a final result. For the past 35 years, the University Writing Center at UALR has provided support for students who wish to improve their academic writing abilities and, as a result, produce more well-written compositions.

The Writing Center staff work with students across all majors and are committed to providing quality feedback to help students improve the clarity of their writing.

Dr. Allison Holland, director of the University Writing Center, said that the goal of the Writing Center isn’t to edit or fix a student’s work; the goal is to provide guidance to students, so they can eventually work on their own.

“You work with the writer not the paper, and a lot of people say, ‘You fixed my paper for me.’ And the answer is: there is no fixing of a paper,” Holland said. “To you this is one paper among many papers you might write over the course of your career as a student. We want to think about this as one of a progression of things that you will do.” Continue reading “University Writing Center”

Disability Resource Center

At Your Fingertips: Disability Resource Center

man using sign language in front of camera
Clint Brockway signs during a Spring 2014 commencement ceremony at UALR.

“The failing is not on the part of the student with the disability,” Reed Claiborne, an access consultant with the Disability Resource Center, said. “The failing would be on not providing accessibility.”

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is one of the many resources available to UALR students both on campus and at a distance. The DRC works with faculty and students to make sure facilities and resources are accessible to students who need them. Continue reading “Disability Resource Center”

Ottenheimer Library

At Your Fingertips: Ottenheimer Library

UALR Ottenheimer LibraryThe Ottenheimer Library website is among many online resources available for UALR students. Not only can you search for materials from the Ottenheimer Library online, but you can also find articles and materials through a number of academic databases, research guides and journals organized by subject matter, and reserved course materials. Additionally, the Ottenheimer Library offers several services at a distance that many students may not know about. Continue reading “Ottenheimer Library”