Closing the Distance

Fall 2016: Introducing the new Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Closing the Distance with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a joint training venture of Southern Arkansas University, South Arkansas Community College, and Southern Arkansas University Tech.

The Closing the Distance Seminar Series is an online joint faculty training collaboration between South Arkansas Community College, Southern Arkansas University, and Southern Arkansas University Tech.  Online webinars are offered via Blackboard Collaborate.  Participants will require speakers and a microphone.  A webcam is optional.  If you need additional assistance in meeting the technical requirements to join a webinar please contact the Department of Distance Learning for support.  Announcements regarding upcoming seminars will be send out to faculty via email.  Past seminars are listed below.  You may contact the Department of Distance Learning for a URL link to view any past webinar recordings.

October 7, 2015, Bryan Fendley and Ashlyn Dugan, Getting to Know the ArBUG Diamond Award Process View Blackboard Collaborate Recording
April 16, 2015, Jodi Epinette, Online Course Review Process View Blackboard Collaborate Recording
April 2, 2015, Sharon Downs, Accessibility and Universal Design For Courses View Blackboard Collaborate Recording
 Mar 17, 2015, Dr. Robin Smith, Effective Practices for Continuous Improvement in Online Courses View Blackboard Collaborate Recording
Feb 19, 2015, Dr. Cheryl Murphy’s webinar, Engaging Online Students View Blackboard Collaborate Recording
Nov 20, 2014, Steve Dingman, Assuring Online Course Quality with Course Template View Blackboard Collaborate Recording
 Sep 23, 2014, Dr. Denise Robledo, Best Practices for Online/Hybrid Instruction View Blackboard Collaborate Recording

Quality Matters

Quality Matters is a peer-based approach to quality assurance and continuous improvement in online education.  SouthArk has subscribed to Quality Matters since 2010.  As a Quality Matters subscriber, SouthArk can provide faculty training at a discounted cost.  The Department of Distance Learning highly recommends that online instructors complete at minimimum the following two workshops:

  • Applying the Quality Matters Rubric
  • Peer Reviewer Course

Additionally, all instructors are highly encouraged to create a Quality Matters account using their SouthArk email in order to receive monthly notifications regarding free training webinars.  If instructors are unable to attend a webinar, they may gain access to past webinars through the Quality Matters website.

For more information on how to create a Quality Matters account or register for professional development workshops you may contact the Department of Distance Learning or review the Quality Matters website.

Click Here to Visit the Quality Matters Website

Online Learning Consortium

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is the leading professional organization for advancing quality online learning.  This organization sponsors several conferences throughout the year; including virtual participant access.  Additionally, OLC offers a variety of professional development workshops and certifications for online learning.  Instructors are highly encouraged to join OLC.  A free member account provides access to the Online Learning Journal, OLC Newsletter, Volunteer Leadership Opportunities, and webinars. 

Click Here to Visit the Online Learning Consortium Website

Arkansas Distance Learning Association (ARDLA)

ARDLA sponsors a state-wide conference for distance education professionals.  Additionally, they solicit yearly nominations for several Distance Learning awards to recognize excellent online programs, faculty and support staff.

Arkansas Blackboard Users Groups (ARBUG)

ARBUG leads a community of Arkansas institutions in statewide efforts in the development and training of online education. Also, ARBUG recognize excellence in online courses and programs statewide via the Diamond Awards.  ARBUG sponsors a conference in the Spring semester.

Click Here to Visit the ARBUG Facebook Group Page

Arkansas Association on Higher Education and Disability (Ark-AHEAD)

Ark-AHEAD is an organization for professionals working with people with disabilities in postsecondary education settings in Arkansas.  Ark-AHEAD sponsors a yearly conference and brings awareness to universal design principles in online learning as well as best practices for promoting accessibility in higher education.  Be sure to review Ark-AHEAD's website resources on universal design.  Unviersal design is the design of products and environaments to be usable by all people.

Click Here to Visit the Ark-AHEAD Website

UALR Ten Steps Toward Universal Design of Online Courses

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock provides an excellent resource for implementing Universal Design principles in the design of an online course.

Click Here to Visit the UALR Ten Steps Toward Universal Design of Online Courses Website