Blackboard Online Course System Upgrade Available Now
Kent State University faculty members are urged to adapt their online courses as soon as possible to the updated course management system – Blackboard Learn 9 – to take advantage of the new version’s many benefits.
“New Blackboard Learn features will improve the virtual classroom experience for students and faculty,” says Preeti Palvankar, who manages support for Blackboard. “Faculty who upgrade to the new version early will realize those benefits sooner and will be able to get comfortable with the system on their own time schedule.”
All online courses must be moved to Blackboard Learn by the end of summer 2012, but the sooner the upgrade is made, the better for both faculty and their students.
The upgrade, from Blackboard Vista 8, makes classwork more mobile and interactive. The Mobile Learn feature gives students and faculty access to many of their course features on the go, which allows students to stay connected to the educational experience 24/7, and make best use of their time.
Learn also features an improved user interface, and enhanced capabilities for interactive blogs, wikis and the integration of videos, photos and other media from multiple sources to add to class dynamics.
A special benefit is access to the Wimba Classroom suite, including Blackboard IM instant messaging system. Wimba provides synchronous virtual class sessions in which the teacher and students share documents, have online discussions and can see the whole class through group IM capability.
“Wimba Classroom provides instant feedback, instant help from faculty and instant support from fellow students on individual or group classwork,” says Paul Albert, executive director, Information Services.
To get help in making the upgrade to Blackboard 9, faculty can refer to the course migration Knowledge Base article at support.kent.edu/bbmigration or submit a ticket at support.kent.edu to request support.
Help is also available at www.kent.edu/blackboard. Information Services will also offer drop-in sessions for faculty who need hands-on help with Blackboard or other information technology issues. The schedule for the drop-in sessions, available at the start of spring semester (Jan. 9 -13), can be found at www.kent.edu/blackboard.
In addition to Blackboard help, Information Services support for general technology questions is available 24/7 by visiting support.kent.edu or by calling 330-672-HELP. Faculty and staff may also contact their department tech support person. The departmental support list can be found at support.kent.edu/localsupport (Kent Campus) or support.kent.edu/help (Regional Campuses).
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Nominate Your Graduate Applicant for the New Graduate Dean’s Award
The Division of Graduate Studies has announced a Graduate Dean’s Award for newly admitted graduate applicants for their contribution to diversity in their discipline or program at Kent State. The Graduate Dean’s Award seeks to attract and retain highly qualified graduate students from underrepresented groups and serves as a supplement to the assistantship stipend provided by academic programs.
Ten Graduate Dean’s Awards will be offered each year to selected full-time (20 hour per week) graduate assistants. Each recipient will be awarded $5,000 over two years. Recipients in one-year master’s programs will receive $2,500 distributed over the course of the year. No services or duties beyond those required of the assistantship are expected.
Nominations must be initiated by an applicant’s academic program. The priority deadline for nominations is March 1, but nominations will be accepted through June 15, depending on availability of funds. Programs will be notified of the outcome by March 15 and are required to notify Kate McAnulty, director of Graduate Student Services, by April 15 whether or not the recipient accepted the offer.
Click here for eligibility information and for requested nomination materials.
For more information about the Graduate Dean’s Award, contact McAnulty at email@example.com.
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Kent State United Way Campaign: And the Countdown Begins …
With more than 67 percent of its United Way campaign goal achieved, Kent State is beginning the countdown to the close of the campaign. If you haven’t already given to support the campaign and our neighbors in Portage County, now is the time to. Every small donation goes a long way to help make a positive change in the lives of people in our community.
Remember, deans Douglas Steidl and John Bracken will dye their heads blue and gold if we exceed our campaign goal by Dec. 9. It is not too late to give to support our local community, and dye the deans’ heads in Kent State colors.
As the excitement for the holidays builds up, please take some time to remember your neighbors and support the United Way campaign with your donations. Among other community efforts, your donations will make food and toy distribution to about 585 families possible this holiday season.
Help Kent State meet its goal by Dec. 9. Log in to FlashLine, click on the My HR tab, and then click on the United Way logo to make a donation today. Payroll deduction is available, and you have the ability to designate your donations to your specific agencies of choice. Payroll deduction pledges made in 2011 do not automatically roll over to 2012.
Together we can make a big difference. Thank you to everyone who has already given to support the campaign.
For more information about Kent State’s United Way campaign, visit www.kent.edu/unitedway or contact Randi Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kent State Faculty Receive Federal Grant of More Than $219,000 to Improve Access to Digital Resources
Two faculty members in the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University, Professor Marcia Lei Zeng, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor Karen Gracy, Ph.D., have received a National Leadership Grant in the amount of $219,386 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funds will be used to help improve access to digital resources within and beyond the library world through what is known as Linked Open Data (LOD).
“With Linked Data technologies, libraries can efficiently reach a much wider range and more diverse data universe, and more effectively provide services to their users,” Zeng says. “Libraries can enhance their existing digital collections and services with linked data technologies and LOD resources without significantly increasing the library’s workload or requiring them to reengineer their existing bibliographic databases and websites.”
Zeng and Gracy’s project will develop effective strategies and prototype tools to help libraries and museums connect to the unfamiliar data and metadata resources in the LOD world. In particular, their research will address the question of how libraries can benefit from resources that have been made available in the Linked Open Data universe.
“In this project, Dr. Zeng and I will be aligning metadata terms from different and diverse namespaces, which means that we will be analyzing semantic relationships among many different metadata schemas to identify areas of overlap and degrees of similarity,” Gracy explains. “Our primary goal for this study will be the development and testing of a tool, the Metadata Vocabulary Junction, that will help librarians and archivists understand unfamiliar metadata schemas and discover new data sources. These librarians will then be able to help users discover and use the rich information found in the Linked Open Data universe by following the paths that we will be creating through the M-V Junction."
The resulting resource will encourage all libraries, regardless of their size and technical status, to tap into the riches of Linked Open Data.
IMLS Director Susan Hildreth says, “We look forward to much exciting work from this round of [National Leadership Grant] awards, including projects that will support learning and 21st-century skills relevant to a new generation of digital natives, enhanced access and ability to interact with digital content, and providing innovative services for existing and new types of library and museum users. We believe that each of these grants will advance the museum, library and archive professions through new research, and the creation and dissemination of innovative tools, models and activities that can be shared broadly."
Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science has the only American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree program in Ohio. The school is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top 20 graduate schools in the field, and the youth librarianship program is ranked 13th.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.
For more information about Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science, visit www.kent.edu/slis.
For more information about the IMLS, visit http://www.imls.gov/.
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Call for Nominations for Mothers, Mentors and Muses Awards
The Women's Center at Kent State University is seeking nominations for its annual Mothers, Mentors and Muses awards that honor Kent State University women who have served in any of three roles. As a mother — one who has helped birth ideas, thoughts and academic endeavors in others or who serves as a nurturing individual to others; as a mentor — one who serves as a trusted counselor, colleague and role model; and/or as a muse — one who inspires creativity and artistic or academic passion in others.
The deadline for nominations is Jan. 20.
Nominees will be honored at the annual Mothers, Mentors and Muses reception on Tuesday, March 6, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony. In the past, more than 90 Kent State women have been nominated and honored.
School of Journalism and Mass Communication Associate Professor Barb Hipsman, who is a past honoree, says “What was truly amazing about Mothers, Mentors, and Muses was that it was like ‘old home’ week — dozens of us had not seen each other in years and yet, we knew each other like old friends. Maybe it was a student in common — who needed counseling. Maybe it was a committee, a dreaded committee where we shared a few smiles and thoughts or perhaps it was in a learning setting where we learned from each other. We all wish we had more time with each other around campus and said as much that night. “
Patricia Dennison of the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, who is also a past honoree, says “Being part of this event was a realization that I can and do in my role as a Mother, Mentor or Muse make a difference in someone else’s life by encouraging and inspiring others on their journey — a wonderful opportunity to sow life-changing, positive seeds into others.”
The Women's Center was established in 1996 and has been a motivating force toward the advancement of women in higher education. An integral part of the center’s efforts is to empower women with financial assistance in obtaining a college degree.
At the Mothers, Mentors and Muses reception, funds will be raised for the Women’s Center Endowed Scholarship Fund that provides two Kent State University female students with a $500 scholarship. Sixteen students have benefited from the scholarship funds since inception in 2003.
For more information and to nominate a colleague, visit www.kent.edu/womenscenter/index.cfm.
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Lactation Rooms Now Available for New Moms
Faculty and staff who are nursing mothers now have the option of using a lactation room. Kent State recently designated several lactation rooms on the Kent Campus.
The resource for new mothers is part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the federal health care reform law). The legislation requires employers to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk for the first year following the birth of a child. A room must also be provided to express milk and the room must be shielded from view, free from intrusion by co-workers and the public and cannot be a bathroom.
There are three designated lactation rooms on the Kent Campus, with additional rooms planned. The locations are situated in various parts of the campus, to make access easier for employees. The existing locations, along with contact information, are:
- The Women’s Center – this room is also available to students and has a breast pump machine (330-672-9230).
- Harbourt Hall - Room 116A in the new location for the Office of the University Architect (330-672-3880).
- Schwartz Center – Room 151 (Contact Susan Veppert at 330-672-2444).
The Office of the University Architect will supply each room with a small refrigerator, table and chair. The Office of the University Architect is also working with the Regional Campuses to designate a lactation room at each location. As locations are added, the list will be updated and available online.
Use of the lactation rooms is optional for nursing moms. Employees who wish to use one of the rooms should call the phone number listed above for that location prior to your first visit, to make arrangements and determine a schedule.
While the federal legislation does not require employers to pay employees for the time spent nursing, Kent State employees are permitted to use break and lunch time for this purpose. Additional, reasonable breaks will be permitted as needed.
The Division of Human Resources and the Office of the University Architect worked together to determine the room locations and the guidelines. Nursing mothers who may need other arrangements should contact Carla Wyckoff, Human Resources communications manager, at 330-672-5857 or email@example.com.
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WKSU-FM Honored With 11 Ohio SPJ Awards
Vivian Goodman Named Best Reporter in Ohio
WKSU-FM has received 11 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Awards in a competition honoring work created in 2010. Awards were presented on Saturday, Oct. 22, during a luncheon ceremony in Cleveland at Windows on the River restaurant. Since the addition of broadcast categories in 1998, WKSU-FM has been recognized with more Ohio SPJ awards than any other radio news outlet – including being named Best News Operation five times. WKSU-FM competes in the Ohio SPJ contest with other radio stations and journalists from media markets throughout Ohio and stations broadcasting to Ohio from surrounding states.
WKSU-FM winners of the 2011 Ohio SPJ Awards are:
- Best of Show – Best Reporter in Ohio, Reporter/Producer Vivian Goodman (body of work-2010).
- Best of Show – Best Web Site, Senior LAN Administrator Chuck Poulton, Multimedia Developer Joe Linstrum and Designer Renee Volchko.
- First Place – Best Criminal Justice Reporting, WKSU News Staff for “Cuyahoga County Corruption.”
- First Place – Best Documentary, Reporter/Producer Goodman for “Mean Kids.”
- First Place – Best General Assignment Reporting, Goodman for “Perspective on the Cleveland Orchestra Strike.”
- First Place – Best Medical/Science Reporting, Reporter/Producer Jeff St. Clair for “Cancer, Flies and Dark Matter.”
- First Place – Best Minority Issues Reporting, Goodman for “Dana and Desiree.”
- Second Place – Best Sports Profile, WKSU-FM News Staff for “WKSU on Sports.”
- Second Place – Best Environment Reporting, Reporter/Producer Tim Rudell for “Stealth Neighbors.”
- Second Place – Best Continuing Coverage, WKSU-FM News Staff for “May 4th Remembered.”
- Second Place – Best Feature Reporting, Reporter/Producer Amanda Rabinowitz for “Coast Guard Cutter.”
The 2011 Ohio SPJ Awards competition honors print and broadcast journalists from Ohio and bordering states who best served the public interest in 2010. The awards, which are presented by the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland chapters of the SPJ, were judged by members of SPJ chapters throughout the United States.
WKSU-FM broadcasts NPR and Classical Music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU-FM programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The station broadcasts four HD Radio channels – adding WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel to the analog broadcast schedule. The WKSU-FM website is www.wksu.org.
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Save Time and Money: Elect to Receive Your W-2 Electronically
Kent State will again make it possible for all employees, including student workers, to elect to only receive the W-2 Wage and Tax Statement electronically. This has several advantages:
- Employees will be able to access the W-2 earlier because they will not have to wait for it to be delivered in the mail.
- Employees’ sensitive personal information will not be sent through the mail.
- Natural resources are saved by not printing the forms.
- Cost savings by not printing and mailing the forms.
Employees who wish to take advantage of this opportunity are required by federal regulations to give their consent. This can be done online any time between now and Jan. 9. To sign up, log in to FlashLine, go to the My HR tab and look for the Employment Details box. Once there, click on the link for Tax Forms. From the Tax Forms link, select Electronic W-2 Consent, check the box indicating consent and then click Submit. If there is already a check mark in the box, you have previously given consent and do not need to consent again.
Anyone who does not elect to receive an electronic version will receive a printed W-2. These will be delivered either via U.S. or campus mail no later than Jan. 31. Questions should be directed to the Payroll Department at 330-672-8640 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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