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.




Higher Retention and Better Student Success? Yes Please.

In Higher Ed we are constantly trying to find ways to help students be successful while also trying to increase enrollment and retention. With budget and time constraints it can be difficult for universities and professors to achieve these goals. Universities are trying to tackle these problems with what may seem like unconventional approaches.

Successful Students

Successful and Happy Students

An article from Inside Higher Ed chronicles the efforts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to break the “Iron Triangle”.  The triangle they are referring to is the balance of quality, cost, and access. It often seems that one of the three parts of the triangle has to be sacrificed. UNC Greensboro is challenging that assertion with a project they have been running the past two years called CRAFT.


CRAFT is short for create and curate Content, Replace lectures with Active, and Flipped, Team-based learning. Specifically the project focused on general education courses and courses with high rates of students withdrawing or receiving low marks. They have had positive results and found that this format allows for more students to be enrolled in the class as well.


This type of strategy certainly seems like it could help bring quality, cost, and access together without the need for one of them to sacrificed. This is Higher Ed, however, and nothing is quite as simple as it sounds. Developing these courses takes a lot of time and support. It would be asking a lot of a professor to use the CRAFT method on their own.


The bigger message of this article, however, is that you can serve more students, retain more students, and help lower achieving students be more successful with a focus on active learning. When students are actively involved in the learning process they are more likely to be successful. There is research to back this up as a report from the National Academy of Science shows. They examined 225 studies and found that 3500 more students would have passed if active learning was used in those courses. That is certainly compelling data.


It can seem daunting when considering how to start or increase active learning in your courses. The good news is that here at USFSP, OLITS is here to help. We offer trainings on active learning and can help you add active learning to your courses. Check the OLITS Professional Development website to see when upcoming trainings are available or schedule an on-demand training with us. If you want to learn more about active learning, check out this blog post by our very own Otis Wilder.


QM Course Certification for USFSP Faculty

ImageThe Distance Learning and Instructional Media Services department of the Nelson Poynter Library is thrilled to announce that Dr. Barbara Jolley’s second course has met the highest national standards and was awarded the QM seal of the Quality Matters Program.

Dr. Jolley’s Cultural Studies and Popular Arts (LIT3301) is now on the list of award-winning courses from colleges and universities across the nation. This course makes number six to receive QM certification for USF St. Petersburg. Earlier this month Dr. Jolley’s Twentieth Century Literature (LIT 3155) course also received QM certification.

The QM seal of recognition will now be proudly displayed in Dr. Jolley’s online course. Additionally this course will be listed on QM’s site, bringing positive exposure to USFSP’s College of Arts and Science and to the campus.

QM’s review process is designed and implemented by faculty who teach online courses throughout the U.S. to ensures quality and alignment with accreditation standards and best practices in online learning. USFSP first joined QM in 2010 as a way to assist faculty with the development of high quality online courses.

Please contact the Nelson Poynter Library’s Instructional Media Services department for more information about QM and to learn how this program can assist you with your online course development and refinement.


This Week’s Distance Learning Professional Development Schedule (Jan 29th, 2014) ….

Compfight, add visual inspiration to your online courses – Tuesday, January 28, 2pm-3pm, POY 234.
Collaborate, web conferencing in Canvas – Thursday, January 30, 12pm-1pm, POY 234.

We hope you will join us!

Distance Learning Professional Development Spring Catalog: PDSpringCatalogv2


Law & Business I, Nicole Stowell Receives Quality Matters Certification

Nicole StowellInstructional Media Services at Nelson Poynter Library is very pleased to announce Nicole Stowell, Esquire, as a recipient of the Quality Matters Certification. Law & Business I, BUL 3320, received QM Certification on August 13, 2013.

Mrs. Stowell is a leader and early adopter of online learning at USFSP. She has collaborated closely with IMS over the years to continuously analyze and improve the teaching and learning experience in her course through the incorporation of engaging media, interactive learning objects and activities, and learner centered course navigation. She also partners with IMS on research to improve the accessibility of online learning at our institution.

Mrs. Stowell’s course is the fourth course to receive QM Certification at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the third course from the College of Business.

Quality Matters LogoThis QM Certification process consists of a rigorous peer review guided by a research based rubric for high quality distance learning course design. The eight elements of the rubric include: Course Overview & Introduction, Learning Objectives, Instructional Materials, Learner Support, Accessibility, Learner Interaction and Engagement, and Assessment & Measurement.

IMS strives to provide excellent support and guidance to Faculty at any stage of the Quality Matters review process; from the start of course development to the implementation of the QM Seal of Certification within a course upon completion of the peer review.

“Working with Karla Kmetz, David Brodosi, and all of the wonderful Distance Learning department is a pleasure.  Karla and David are very knowledgeable about the QM process which was extremely helpful when we were initially setting up the course.  Also, it was very helpful to have my course reviewed internally before sending it to the external reviewers for their review.  Once the course was sent for review, Karla and David guided me through the process to the ultimate approval by QM.  I really appreciate all that they did in getting the course a QM designated course!”

– Nicole Stowell, Esq.

Congratulations to Nicole Stowell! To learn more about Quality Matters, visit our Professional Development page or contact Instructional Media Services.

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


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.