Streaming Feature Films in Your Online Course with Swank Digital Campus

Have you ever wanted to use a full-length feature film as instructional material for your online course, but didn’t go for it because of copyright worries?

Well, worry no more! The USF System has a subscription to Swank Digital Campus. This is a streaming film service that integrates with Canvas and allows us to rent feature films for students to view in our online courses.

The selection is vast! From classics, to foreign films, to movies just released on DVD; you name it and they’ve probably got it!

Screen shot of swank website

So this means you can stream all eight Harry Potter movies for fun, right?

harry potter saying you wish

I do wish! But understandably, no.

Here are the criteria for use of the films:

  • Priority is given to online courses
  • Student enrollment should be over 50
  • There is a maximum of 5 titles per course
  • The film(s) must be used as instructional materials for a course activity

There is some flexibility with these guidelines, so talk with your Instructional Designer about  your specific goals.

To view a list of currently available titles, visit the USF Libraries Swank Rental Listing. If the title you are looking for is not listed in the current rentals, you can search the Swank Digital Campus Catalog to see if your desired film is available for rent.

Once the tool is integrated into the course, students will be able to visit the “Course Reserves” link on the left menu of your course throughout the semester. The films you have rented will be linked there and can be viewed upon signing in with a USF NetID and Password.

Also, all of the films through this service have Closed Captioning to improve accessibility (Karla approved!).

To learn more, or to integrate this tool into your course, contact your Instructional Designer at Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services.


Atomic Learning: Online Technology Tutorials for Students & Faculty

As we get further into the semester, students may find themselves in need of training on certain software programs to be able to complete major course activities and assignments such as creating presentations with Prezi or analyzing data using SPSS. When it comes to facilitating that participation and grading assignments, faculty may want a refresher on those programs or how to use certain feedback features in Canvas.

Through the USF system subscription to Atomic Learning, all members of the USF St. Petersburg community have unlimited access to online tutorials for commonly used web and software applications. These online training resources teach you “how do I do that” through a library of thousands of short, easy-to-understand tutorial movies.  Topics include Microsoft programs, Adobe programs, Apple programs, Canvas, mobile apps, and much more.

To access this resource, log into Atomic Learning using your USF NetID and password.

Once logged into the Atomic Learning site, you will be able to browse or search for specific programs.

searching atomic learning

After finding the program you wish to learn more about, click on the Series Title to view the available tutorials.


Then click on the title of the tutorial to load the video and learn more about the topic.


For more help with getting started, view this text getting started guide (PDF) or video orientation.

If you have trouble with accessing this resource, contact the USF System Help Desk at 813-974-1222 or

If you have any questions about how to best use this resource for you or integrate it within a course, contact Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services at 727-873-4409.



68 Tips for eLearning Engagement and Interactivity, Free e-Book

Book coverEngagement is a critical element of learning. If we can get people to pay attention to what we’ve developed or what we’re saying and engage with us, the content, and each other, learning follows.


Gaining and maintaining engagement in the physical classroom seems straightforward: If learners look bored or inattentive, we adjust our style on the fly or call on people to recapture their attention. But in eLearning, especially self-paced eLearning, driving engagement requires much more planning, monitoring, and, most of all, creativity.

Looking for some quick tips for effective engagement in your online courses? Check out the eLearning Guild’s new publication “68 Tips for eLearning Engagement and Interactivity.” This e-book is available as a free download and is full of ideas and suggestions to increase meaningful learning interactions within your course.

Turning on Turnitin

Writing professors question plagiarism detection software | Inside Higher Ed.

Software to detect student plagiarism is faced with renewed criticism from the faculty members who may confront more plagiarism than do most of their colleagues – college writing professors.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed – Ry Rivard

Texting in the Classroom

Tough Questions on Texting in the Classroom

It’s time we started exploring some of the tough questions on texting. The May issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter contains highlights from a survey of almost 300 marketing majors about their texting in class. The results confirm what I’m guessing many of us already suspect. A whopping 98% of the students reported that they had texted some time during the term in which the data was collected. They did so for an unimpressive set of reasons, the most popular being “I just wanted to communicate.” Fifty-six percent of the cohort said they were currently taking a class in which the teacher banned texting. Forty-nine percent said they texted anyway.

Read more at The Teaching Professional

Education Technologies


We are in the midst of one of the greatest paradigm shifts in history, a technological revolution that is changing how we learn, work and communicate. Just over 10 years ago, about 42% of United States households had Internet access; today, that number has almost doubled, making the Internet a common denominator to unite nearly all homes in the country. As educators, it would be foolish to ignore this explosion of technology, which offers any classroom the chance to become a more collaborative, engaging and effective environment for the students and their instructors.

In a recent meta-analysis study, The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement, authors analyzed more than 500 individual research articles, and noted some significant findings:

  • On achievement tests, students tested at a higher percentile when using computer-based instruction, as opposed to students receiving traditional instruction in their classrooms.
  • Students learned material in less time when using computer-based instruction.
  • Students had an overall higher positive attitude towards learning when using computer-based instruction.
  • Students in technology-rich environments had higher achievement levels, from preschool to higher education.

Education for the Future

When presented with the number of benefits to integrating technology into classrooms, the question is not whether to introduce more technology, but where to do it and how. Some of the most popular technologies used in today’s classrooms include:

  • Online learning and blended classrooms – is there a YouTube video that can explain neural activity better than a drawing on the overhead?
  • Game-based learning – it is hard to match the euphoria of winning at something, but why not try?
  • Web-based projects – students no longer need to slave for hours in order to find scholarly articles for research papers.
  • Collaborative online tools – groupwork is dynamic and engaging with video chats and collaboration documents over the Web.


Miniwatts Marketing Group. (2013). Internet World Stats. Retrieved from
Schacter, J. The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement. Milken Exchange on Education Technology.