Spring 2015 Digest

As the Spring 2015 semester comes to a close we have included in this digest a recap of our weekly learning shorts series along with other helpful information.
In this digest:

About Scholarly Technology and Resources (STaR)

Our mission is to support teaching and learning in the online environment.
We provide:

  • Opportunities for training and professional development
  • Instructional design and course development services
  • Assistance with creating engaging content
  • Blackboard administration
  • Technical support for faculty and students

Our support team is ready to answer questions related to Blackboard, UALR’s learning management system, or any of the supporting tools such as Collaborate, our web-conferencing solution, and Kaltura, our streaming media server.  Our instructional design team is available to assist faculty with design and delivery best practices.

We encourage faculty to include our student support contact information in their syllabi, invite their students to contact us, visit the Blackboard Student Support website, or come see us for assistance.  All students are enrolled automatically in a Blackboard Orientation which can be accessed by logging into my.ualr.edu and clicking on “Courses”.

Blackboard Faculty Support

Help Desk

  • website: ualr.edu/star
  • email: star@ualr.edu
  • phone: 501-916-5885
  • walk-in assistance : Dickinson Hall, Room 105

Resources and Assistance Available

  • Blackboard “How To’s” (video/print tutorials for Bb Tools)
  • One-on-One Appointments
  • Face-to-face & Online Training
  • Open Lab every Wednesday, 9 AM to 4 PM

Blackboard Student Support

Help Desk

  • website: https://ualr.edu/blackboard/
  • request support: https://ualr.edu/blackboard/contact/
  • phone: 501.683.7602
  • walk-in assistance:  Dickinson Hall, Room 105

 Resources and Assistance Available

  • Blackboard “How To’s” (video/print tutorials for Bb Tools)
  • One-on-One Appointments
  • Online Blackboard Student Orientation

Additional Services for Faculty

Instructional Design Assistance

In addition to answering questions about goals, methods, materials, and assessments in the online environment, our instructional designers will provide guidance for designing and delivering a high quality course.  We can also assist your college or program with creating a customized course template designed to best practices.

Quality Matters Resources

As subscribers to Quality Matters, we have access to the QM rubric, course review management system, and discounted trainings. Our instructional designers have received specialized QM training that is incorporated into our course development process.  For more information about QM, please contact Dr. Donna Kay, our Quality Matters Coordinator, at 569.683.0888.

STaR Studio

The STaR Studio provides a space for faculty to produce, create, and edit multimedia content with one-on-one assistance from our STaR staff.

  • Computer lab—two computer stations with content authoring software (Adobe Creative Suite 6, Adobe Captivate, Camtasia, Articulate Storyline, Articulate Replay)
  • Studio productions—“live” in-studio shoots for interviews, demonstrations, etc.

Reminder: Summer Upgrades 2015 - Service Interruption Expected

As part of our normal upgrading process, we will be moving to the October 2014 Release of Blackboard on May 19th.

To complete this upgrade, Blackboard will be inaccessible from May 19th at 11:30 PM – May 20th 5:30 PM. This entire window may not be needed to complete the upgrade so we will notify you as soon as Blackboard is available again.

Learn more about important changes this summer including enhancements to Kaltura and a new course archiving procedure. 

Learning Shorts Series: Universal Design

During the spring semester our learning shorts series explored several aspects of universal design. We have conveniently posted the series below. The information will challenge your perceptions about disabilities and provide helpful tips to deliver better learning experiences to students.

Our many thanks to our guest bloggers for their contributions and to our partners, Department of Educational Leadership, Disability Resource Center.


Reframing Disability        DRC, Director, Sharon Downs

Disability Support Center, Director, Sharon Downs

In her blog, Sharon Downs compels us to consider our notions about disability and how the media portrays disabled persons. When we work to remove barriers whether they are physical, social, or educational a better quality of life is experienced by everyone. Can disability enrich our lives? Yes, when we understand that disability is normal.


Understanding Universal Design for Learning

women planningBy Leadership Development Facilitator for UA CURRENTS,
Melanie Thornton

Consider for a moment the everyday lives of the disabled. Melanie Thornton provides us with a different prospective. Instead of a world based on accommodation she focuses on how we transition to a world of universal design that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

This is why design matters. Planning and implementing the principles of universal design in courses means anticipating and creating content that provides learning that benefits diverse student experiences.


Take a practical look at using universal design with our
STaR Performer, Chemistry Instructor, Ronia Kattoum


Accessibility and Blackboard     Illustration of hands holding a tablet with closed caption symbol in the center

During April we explored how to create accessible content in Blackboard which provides a screen reader friendly platform. We discovered that while closed captions are beneficial to the hearing impaired they also help those whose native language is not English, visual and verbal learners, or for learners who may experience background noise.

It is also possible for instructors to reinvent their course notes and with a little effort transform them into transcripts or .SRT files. Finally, we gained a better understanding of the importance of alternate text to describe images used to support course content.

Making Your Online Courses More Accessible
Director, Scholarly Technology and Resources, Kati Molnar

Creating Accessible Video Content with Closed Captions
STaR Digital Media Specialist, Jennika Smith

Pre-captioning Video Lectures
Data Analyst, Aaron Baker and Systems Administrator, Daniel Spillers

Prewriting Alternate Text for Images
Systems Administrator, Daniel Spillers and Data Analyst, Aaron Baker

Posted in: Blackboard News, Digest, Featured

Comments are closed.