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.



Online Course Design Evaluation

Feedback pictureSeeking feedback from students is a key component to assist in determining necessary refinements to a course; however, you may find that the Student Assessment of Instruction that the USF System distributes to all students at the end of the semester is not designed to seek feedback in regards to the design of an online course.

OLITS Instructional Designers have developed a brief Online Course Design Evaluation with questions that seek meaningful feedback from students regarding common elements of an online course. The results can then be used by the Faculty member (and in consultation with an Instructional Designer if desired) to identify and implement refinements to improve the student learning experience within that course.

The questions on this evaluation include:

  1. How would you rank the structure, flow, and navigation of the course?
    1. Exemplary (perfect as is, change nothing)
    2. Commendable (overall above average and very strong)
    3. Adequate (does the job, but could be improved)
    4. Needs Improvement (requires a complete overhaul)
  2. Please share any comments regarding the previous question.
  3. How would you rank the written course materials? This includes the textbook, articles or any other forms of instructional content within the course.
    1. Exemplary (perfect as is, change nothing)
    2. Commendable (overall above average and very strong)
    3. Adequate (does the job, but could be improved)
    4. Needs Improvement (requires a complete overhaul)
  4. Please share any comments regarding the previous question.
  5. How would you rank the online course presentations? This includes the lecture presentations, examples, and any guest speakers.
    1. Exemplary (perfect as is, change nothing)
    2. Commendable (overall above average and very strong)
    3. Adequate (does the job, but could be improved)
    4. Needs Improvement (requires a complete overhaul)
  6. Please share any comments regarding the previous question.
  7. How would you rank the engagement of the course activities? This includes discussions, quizzes, and assignments.
    1. Exemplary (perfect as is, change nothing)
    2. Commendable (overall above average and very strong)
    3. Adequate (does the job, but could be improved)
    4. Needs Improvement (requires a complete overhaul)
  8. Please share any comments regarding the previous question.
  9. How would you rank the instructor’s presence throughout the course? This includes announcements, email communication, grading and feedback and any other instructor engagement.
    1. Exemplary (perfect as is, change nothing)
    2. Commendable (overall above average and very strong)
    3. Adequate (does the job, but could be improved)
    4. Needs Improvement (requires a complete overhaul)
  10. Please share any comments regarding the previous question.
  11. What in the course has been the most beneficial to you as a student?
  12. What could be done to this course to improve it?
  13. How many online courses have you taken?

Feel free to download the ZIP File to import the evaluation directly into your course in Canvas and use it as an anonymous survey. Or, contact your Instructional Designer today to learn more about how to customize these questions or implement the evaluation in an alternate format.

Canvas Quick Video Tutorials: Instructor and Student

Atomic Learning LogoCan’t make it to one of our Canvas Open Labs? Need a quick answer to a quick question about how to use a Canvas feature? Well…do you have a minute or two? Literally, just one to two minutes!

Atomic Learning, available for free through USF, offers short video tutorials on several Canvas features including Assignments, Groupwork, Quizzes, Communication, and much more. If you have an hour, you can watch the whole series in sequence, or watch one of the specific tutorials, none of which are longer that 2.5 minutes.

Accessing these tutorials is quick and easy. Just visit the Atomic Learning: Canvas Instructor Training Page. Log in with your NetID and Password. Click the “+” icons next to your desired topic to view the available videos. Then click on the title of the video to view.

Atomic Learning Expand GroupAre you ready for even better news? Atomic Learning also has a series of Canvas Video Tutorials for Students. You can share the link and remind students that they will be asked to log in with their NetID and password. Or, if you have a specific tutorial you want them to view, click the “Share” button on the left side of the video viewer and send them the direct link.

Atomic Learning Video Share Link



Plagiarism, whether you agree with it or not, is a hot button issue in both the professional and academic world. Someone is always looking for the easy way out when writing a paper. Unfortunately, people will turn to plagiarism in order to make it easy for them.

According to Merriam-Webster, plagiarism is defined as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own.” In other words, you are stealing someone’s work and stamping your name on it. Plagiarism is a terrible thing that a lot of people do. Whether it is out of laziness or lack of creativity I’m not sure. One thing I do know is that there is many ways people plagiarize.

Before I get into that though, I’d like to share my own personal experiences. I have never plagiarized in a major assignment that I had to turn into school. Granted, I may have barely paraphrased a sentence or two in my day, but never on such an obscene level. At USF, if I were to plagiarize and get caught, I could have a ‘FF’ added to my records. A ‘FF’ is the worst thing possible. Not only would people see that I failed a course, but that I failed it due to cheating.

It was beat into my head. “Don’t plagiarize or you’ll ruin your academic career” they would yell at me. Every paper, essay, or short answer I ever wrote was painstakingly looked over to make sure that I didn’t accidentally copy anything. I appreciated what they were doing for me, but I began to think to myself if it was too much. I get it; plagiarism is bad, really bad. However, sometimes it crippled me to the point that I wrote terrible papers.

I share this because I want to share my story with faculty members. If you have classes where you have your students write a lot of papers, then explain to them what it means to plagiarize. Give them some resources that they can study so they can learn without the panic. You don’t know how much of a difference it can make when you tell someone “hey, it’s okay. Do this and you’ll be fine.”

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the top 10 types of Unoriginal Work!

  1. Cloning
  2. CTRL – C
  3. Find – Replace
  4. Remix
  5. Recycle
  6. Hybrid
  7. Mashup
  8. 404 Error
  9. Aggregator
  10. Re-Tweet

The full list provided by Turn it in provides some great reporting on these types. They do a far better job of explaining it then I ever could. Follow the link below to check out the full report!

Turn it in 10 Types of Unoriginal Work

Scheduler coming soon to Canvas

Coming soon to a Canvas course near you…. The Scheduler!

The Scheduler tool allows instructors to create appointment groups (collection of individual appointments) in the Calendar that students can easily sign-up for. The Scheduler tool may be used by the instructor to create appointment times for office hours or student presentations.

  • Log into Canvas.
  • Select Calendar from the top menu bar.
  • Select the Scheduler option at the top of the page.
  • Click the Create an appointment group button.
  • Enter the name and location of the appointments
  • Select the course for which the appointments are available from the drop down menu.
  • Add details to give your students information about how to prepare for their appointments.
  • Select the date and time range for the appointments.
  • Choose how long you want each appointment slot to be. Canvas will split your time range into appointment slots.
  • Choose whether students should sign up as groups.
  • Click the Save and Publish button when you’re finished.

For more information check out the Canvas Instructor Guide.


According to Wikipedia, typeface is designed as a set of characters that share common design features. Typeface is usually represented by things like style, condensations, width, slant, and ornamentation (among other things). The text on your document, presentation, or website is the crux of your item. People need to be able to read the information that you are presenting!

Much like the information she gave on color palettes, Bianca Woods at Learning Solutions 2013 gave some great information on using typeface in your documentation. Unfortunately, I did learn that despite my best efforts I will probably not be bringing back Comic Sans to the mainstream. Kidding aside, typeface is very important when publishing material online. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a typeface.

Serif vs. Sans-Serif

Both serif and sans-serif fonts have their individual uses. Serif fonts are categorized by the end-caps (actually called “Serifs”) that are placed on individual letters. Serif fonts allow some people to read material quicker as well. Examples of serif fonts include the following:

  • Cambria
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman

Sans-serif fonts do not have those end-caps at the end of their letters. Sans-serif fonts also tend to have less line width than serif fonts. Some examples of sans-serif fonts include:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Verdana

This image helps to delineate the two:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Which font do you use then? Typically, serif fonts are great for paper materials, while sans-serif fonts are the more popular choice for computers, tablets, and phones. Keep this in mind when choosing your fonts! I recommend that you should use one of each (serif and sans-serif) when creating your materials. Find two that complement each other and it can add a nice touch to your materials.


Emphasis can be hard to get across in text. If you had to guess what someone’s go-to strategy for emphasis was, what do you think it would be?


There are plenty of ways beside all capital letters to grab someone’s attention. Here are some tips:

Emphasis Dos:

  • Use bigger sizes to highlight titles and paragraphs. I’m not saying a massive size like 72pt though. Something a few points higher will do the job just fine.
  • Use bold or italics (bold more specifically in my opinion). The darker and stronger the font on screen/paper, the more likely someone’s eye will move to it. The italics also add a nice touch.

Emphasis Do Not’s:

  • Do not use underlining. When someone sees an underline online they automatically assume a hyperlink. Underlining will just cause confusion.
  • Do not use different colors. As awesome as hot pink or neon green is, this can cause issues with readability. Also, using crazy colors will make your website/presentation inaccessible to those with vision impairments.

I hope that you have found these tips helpful. Give some new typefaces a chance! See what you like and see what you can read. A nice typeface can really spice up a presentation.