In the spotlight: New Website for Distance Students
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Decorative image: Robby Fuselier In this year’s series of newsletters, we’ve addressed the key goals of our strategic plan, including academic integrity, student support, accessibility, quality, and affordability. We close out 2019 with a glance at growth.
Our goal is to help facilitate the expansion of the university's catalog of online courses and programs. Increasing online offerings provides benefits for the whole campus community. Students enjoy the scheduling flexibility and potential for a reduced time-to-degree. Instructors benefit from more control over how they schedule their workday. In addition to competing in new markets, online programs expand opportunities for talented students unable to move to campus.

Over the next five years, the university will invest in the development of new fully-online programs and in individual courses meeting liberal studies requirements. As part of this objective, we’re redesigning our course development model, using an annual grant process. We’re fine-tuning this initiative, so you’ll read more about it next spring.
In this issue of Distance Up Close, you’ll discover—our new website that targets prospective students. Aligning with our goal to expand distance learning and increase online enrollment, we hope that this site will serve to reach students both near and far.
In other news, we’re excited to share that the FSU Testing Center has achieved status as a nationally certified testing center! I’m proud of how our Assessment & Testing staff have worked to ensure that academic integrity and student success remain an essential part of our center.
If you’re thinking about developing an online course, sign up for our Quality Matters workshop and learn how to incorporate principles of quality in your course. You can further ensure course quality by registering for one of our spring workshops or webinars, including a new session on Zoom. After the fall transition from Collaborate, our Zoom web conferencing is up and running. Read below for a closer look at this new tool.
We wish you a happy winter break and look forward to supporting you next year in all things distance!

Robby Fuselier


New Website Promotes Online Programs

The Office of Distance Learning’s new student-centered website serves as a comprehensive resource for students interested in learning about FSU’s online programs. The website promotes our graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs to prospective students in Florida and beyond. Students can browse our online offerings by degree level and read more about each individual program, including a brief description and number of credit hours required per program. A link to each program website provides additional details.

“The new site helps us focus outreach efforts on prospective online students, a group with its own unique profile and needs,” said Kim Houghton, ODL Business Analyst and project lead. “Our goal is to highlight what makes an online education at FSU desirable and then to connect future students with their program of interest.”
Student Centered Website Decorative ImageThe website’s FSU Distance Campus section is a one-stop virtual campus for students, with links to support services such as career assistance, financial aid, libraries, and technical support. The new student checklist provides all the information students need to get started at FSU, from getting their FSUCard to ordering course materials. Students can read about how to succeed online, including tips for taking advantage of available FSU study resources. Additional sections cover admissions and tuition, state authorization, and university policies.
ODL collaborated with University Communications to design and code the site, and the Graduate School helped develop the contact form and integrate it with Slate, the customer relationship manager used by Graduate Admissions to track and facilitate communication with students throughout the inquiry, application, and enrollment process. Not only do inquiring students get a personal response from an academic program specialist, but those interested in online graduate programs get customized follow-up information about applications and deadlines. Together, we ensure prospective students get the data they need to make decisions about their academic future.
If your students express interest about online programs, please direct them to They can fill out the contact form to be connected with an academic program specialist to learn more about distance learning at FSU.

Testing Center Earns NCTA Certification

The FSU Testing Center has been awarded Test Center Certification by the National College Testing Association (NCTA). NCTA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting professionalism and high quality in the administration of testing programs.

National College Testing Association LogoTo achieve certification, the Testing Center demonstrated compliance with NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines, which were developed to guide postsecondary testing centers in the delivery of quality testing programs. Certification involved documentation of processes and procedures, as well as a site visit from volunteers. Factors in evaluation included a mission statement, physical facilities, policies for maintaining test integrity and confidentiality, and staff training and procedures. Certification is valid for five years and can be renewed by showing continued compliance to NCTA’s rigorous criteria. 
Ann DelRossi, Academic Affairs Administrator with the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement, and Holly Sudano, Assistant Chair of Accounting and Senior Lecturer in the College of Business, assisted ODL in the certification process by conducting the site visit and completing an evaluation report. “We’re very grateful to Ann and Holly for the time they put in learning about NCTA standards and studying our submission materials in advance so they could conduct the evaluation in a thorough fashion,” said Joe Clark, Associate Director for Assessment & Testing. “Their outside review lent additional rigor to NCTA’s assessment of our compliance with standards.”

"We are thrilled to have received the NCTA certification," said ODL Director Robby Fuselier. "Our staff and partners in the university have spent a tremendous amount of time ensuring our testing center meets the high standards of the NCTA and we are pleased to be recognized for those efforts."
FSU’s 260-seat Testing Center, which administered over 100,000 exams during the Fall 2018–Spring 2019 semesters, is one of the largest testing centers in the Southeast. The Testing Center facilitates online proctored testing for a broad range of exams. It also provides mark-sense form scanning and administers course evaluations on behalf of the university. For more information about exam registration, proctoring guidelines, and the types of tests offered at the Testing Center, please see our website. You can also contact us at 850-644-3017 or

ODL Offers Quality Matters Workshop

QM Decorative LogoThe Office of Distance Learning subscribes to the Quality Matters (QM) Higher Education Rubric with the goal of developing quality online courses. QM provides rubrics, combined with training and resources, to help ensure quality across courses and institutions.
ODL is now able to deliver the QM workshop “Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR) Workshop” internally. Because we can offer this training in-house, it is free for participants; previously, it cost $200 per person for individuals from member institutions.
ODL will be offering this asynchronous workshop from January 9–23, 2020. The time commitment for the workshop is about nine hours per week for two weeks. Participants will learn about the QM Rubric and its use in reviewing the design of online and blended courses. At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to apply the underlying principles of the QM Rubric and concept of alignment and draft helpful recommendations for course improvement. All FSU faculty, graduate assistants, and staff are welcome to participate in the workshop.
“Learning how to apply the rubric to see if it meets Quality Matters standards equips faculty and staff with the knowledge to develop and assess their own online courses and those in their academic programs, ensuring high-quality course offerings for our FSU student body,” said Dr. Kerry Burner, ODL Instructional Development Faculty. Burner is a QM Certified Online Facilitator and will facilitate the session. Please contact her at for registration information.

Getting Ready for Fall Finals

Fall finals are scheduled for Dec. 7–13, 2019, in the FSU Testing Center. Hours are as follows:
  • Dec. 7–8 from 8 am–8 pm
  • Dec. 9–12 from 7 am–10 pm
  • Dec. 13 from 7 am–7 pm
Students who need a place to study or relax while waiting to take their exams can visit UCC-5301, located on the fifth floor above the Testing Center. This area will be available Dec. 9–13 from 8 am–6 pm.
Testing Center Decorative imageInstructors, you can help reduce test anxiety. Feel free to share our Testing Center Tips graphic in your course communications to remind students about Testing Center policies.

For those needing technical assistance during finals week, ODL Technical Support has extended its help desk hours:
  • Dec. 9–13 from 8 am–7 pm
  • Dec. 15 from 10 am–2 pm
  • Dec. 16 from 12 pm–4 pm
You can also submit a ticket or call 850-644-8004 for help. Be sure and follow us on Twitter @FSUDistance for any Testing Center updates.

Notifying Students of Proctored Fees

Proctored Fees Decorative ImageProctored testing is a common feature of distance and online courses and can be costly to students. Though FSU does not charge its students for testing in the FSU main campus Testing Center, students taking exams outside of Tallahassee will pay fees to an approved testing facility for services provided.
If you’re teaching an online course in the spring, here’s how you can help prepare students for these costs:
  • Post all requirements for proctored testing in the course syllabus, including whether or not a web-based, remote proctor service (FSU’s current agreement is with Examity) will be allowed.
  • Encourage students to estimate the cost of their proctored exams at the start of the course. Students can use the Proctor Selection application on the ODL website to locate an approved, nearby testing center and then follow up with that facility to find out its current testing fees. Keep in mind that some facilities charge by the hour, and students will need to know the length of an exam to estimate their costs.
  • Inform students that they may use financial aid toward their proctored testing fees, just as they would toward books and supplies.
If you have questions or need assistance with proctored testing, please call the Testing Center at 850-644-3017 or visit our web page for more information.

Online in Orlando

Director Robby Fuselier and Instructional Development Faculty Liying Miao represented ODL at the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate conference in Orlando in November, where they learned about the latest in quality digital education. The annual conference celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.


Spring Training

This spring, the Office of Distance Learning is adding workshops and webinars to help instructors get up and running with our accessibility tool Ally and our web conferencing software Zoom. In addition to these new sessions, we continue to offer a variety of training opportunities to help you enhance your skills in the Canvas learning environment. You can register for in-person workshops or noon webinars on our Workshops & Appointments page.

We also offer in-person and online consultations to target your particular needs. Our media team can help you develop course videos, use the One Button Studio, or record a lecture using the lightboard. We continue to offer one-on-one Ally consultations to assist in remediating inaccessible course documents. If you would like to arrange departmental training, please contact John Braswell at 850-645-0469 to schedule a session.

Spring Prep: Upload FSU Emergency Module

FSU Emergency Module Decorative Logo

As the fall term winds down, now is the time for instructors to consider uploading the FSU Emergency Module in preparation for the spring semester. Designed to help faculty and students stay connected and navigate an emergency event, the module can be used in both distance learning and face-to-face courses.

You can read about the module and then import it from Canvas Commons into your course site. Please note that using the module is optional. You may use all or parts of the module to fit your course design. If you have any questions, please contact ODL Technical Support at 850-644-8004 or submit a support ticket.

Your Vote Can Help Improve Canvas

Vote LogoWould you like to be able to view the notification settings of your students to confirm the delivery of important course information? You can make your voice heard by voting for this feature to be integrated into the Canvas learning environment.

Canvas encourages users to submit feature ideas on ways to enhance LMS functionality. Voting for and submitting feedback on these ideas via the Canvas Community is one of the best ways to improve Canvas for the FSU community.

To make voting easier, we’ve compiled the Canvas Community Feedback mailing list. This list recommends specific feature ideas to support within the Canvas Community. You can subscribe to the list and also check out our “Vote Up” recommendations for September, October, and November

Additional feature ideas available for voting include:

  • Disabling submission comments for an assignment
  • Adjusting assignments and quizzes on a single page
  • Automatically assigning peer reviews for physical projects
  • Adding an “on hover” event to the New Gradebook
  • Hiding the point values for questions on a quiz
  • Printing a conversation from the Canvas Inbox

Release Notes

The November production release notes from Canvas describe several updated feature options. Among these are Rich Content Editor enhancements and the Microsoft Immersive Reader, which adds accessibility to Canvas pages. You can access the complete release notes on the Canvas Community page.


Zoom Web Conferencing Is Up and Running

The Office of Distance Learning’s contract with the conferencing tool Blackboard Collaborate expired in November, so we're excited to introduce Zoom as the university’s new web conferencing software. Zoom has similar functionality to Collaborate, is more user-friendly, and integrates with Canvas. Zoom's features include breakout rooms, downloading a presentation for future use, and hosting up to 300 participants.

iZoom Decorative LogoTo get started with Zoom, please follow the steps in our Zoom Overview. Though you can bypass the Canvas integration when using Zoom, we recommend that you try the integration as this will be the simplest experience for your students. If you encounter any issues, our technical support team is ready to assist you in any way.
For more in-depth training, ODL Educational Technology Specialist Chuck McCann is offering one-on-one consultations to help you get up and running with Zoom. To schedule a consultation, please visit our one-on-one technical assistance appointment page. In the registration comments, mention that you would like to set up a Zoom meeting with McCann, and please add the Course ID you’ll be working in. McCann will also be facilitating a webinar on using Zoom meetings in Canvas.
“I think faculty will really like how Zoom integrates with Canvas in a way that utilizes all the features of Kaltura in Canvas,” said McCann. “Zoom Meetings that are recorded can be saved as an MP4 file on a local drive. Uploading the file through Canvas (via the “My Media” link) will create closed captions automatically in a way that will allow the instructor to make edits for greater accuracy and accessibility.”
For more information about Zoom, please see our support article. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact ODL Technical Support at or 850-644-8004.


Kaltura New Groups Feature

Kaltura Decorative LogoWith Kaltura’s new groups feature, FSU staff users can create groups within Kaltura so all staff can have access to the same set of media items, allowing for better collaboration. This feature can be useful for departments that provide their own administrative and technical support to distance learning instructors regarding course materials and/or are looking for a more efficient media management strategy.

Using Kaltura groups allows administrative staff to be co-editors, co-publishers, and even owners of the media items that their department’s instructors create. The instructors simply need to share their media items via the Collaborations tab. The steps for adding a group as co-editor/co-publisher are the same as for adding an individual user as co-editor/co-publisher. ODL Technical Support will need to set up the groups and manage the addition or removal of users from these groups, so please contact us at 850-644-8004 or for assistance.

Support Articles




We are eager to receive your feedback on what you would like to see in future issues of the newsletter, so please send us your suggestions about ways ODL can better serve you.


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University Center, C-3500, 296 Champions Way, Tallahassee, FL 32306
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