In the spotlight: Top-ranked online programs
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Robby FuselierOver the past year, you have likely seen messages from the Office of Distance Learning announcing Canvas news and tips, Testing Center information, and state authorization news. We do our best to send information that may be critical for faculty and students without overwhelming everyone’s inboxes, but there is so much more we would love to share! We offer a multitude of services to assist in the development and offering of online courses.

The ODL Instructional Development faculty regularly offer a number of workshops to introduce new online teaching strategies, technical workshops to get instructors up and running with tools such as Kaltura, and training on universal design and accessibility. They also assist in the development of new online courses and offer Quality Matters reviews to help find areas in courses that may be improved. Our media team is available to instructors for assistance in filming and editing high-quality video for distance learning courses – either on-site or in our studio.

The ODL Finance & Administration team assists in the management of auxiliary budgets and appointment of distance learning support staff. Academic program coordinators assist in handling online program inquiries from students and coordinate with departments regarding the offering of distance courses. You are probably aware that our technical support staff handles Canvas, but did you know that we also support other tools such as iClicker and Collaborate?

This is only a portion of the services we offer to help make FSU’s online programs and courses a success. If you are considering offering a distance learning course or would like to explore new ways to enhance your current one, I invite you to contact us and see how we can help!
Robby Fuselier


FSU online graduate programs among nation's best

Florida State University’s online programs advance in the rankings, with graduate programs in business, criminal justice, and information technology ranked in the Top 10 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Online Programs.

US News & World Report 2018 Best Online Programs imageThe College of Business’s online graduate program (non-MBA) continues to rank among the best in the nation at No. 6, jumping three spots from the previous year. Students can pursue master of science degrees in management information systems and risk management and insurance. The college’s online MBA program held steady in the No. 16 position.

The College of Communication and Information’s online graduate program in information technology moved into the Top 10 this year to No. 7 in the category of computer information technology. The master of science degree is offered by the college’s School of Information.

The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s online graduate program remained in the No. 7 slot. The college offers a master’s degree in criminal justice studies.

The College of Education’s online graduate program placed No. 13 in the national rankings. The college offers degrees in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, instructional systems and learning technologies, and learning and cognition.

The methodology for ranking online programs included five general categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, peer reputation, and admissions selectivity.

FSU joins council on state authorization

Florida State University is an institutional member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), joining the council in December 2017.

The university can now admit students into online degree programs from all 50 states and most territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Educational activities occurring outside of Florida that were previously limited due to physical presence restrictions may also resume. 

Faculty should be aware that not all educational activity is covered under NC-SARA. Each department and/or individual overseeing online or face-to-face activities occurring outside of Florida should have a clear understanding of the limitations of NC-SARA. Supervisors of educational activities should be knowledgeable of Section 5, "Coverages and Limitations of SARA," of the SARA Manual.

For more information about NC-SARA, contact Kristin Carlton at (850) 644-1882 or

Fuselier poised to 'go the distance' as ODL director

Robby Fuselier recalls his first encounter with distance learning.

"I took a correspondence course in algebra in high school," he reminisced. "It was great not having to take the course during school hours, but I always seemed to get the materials in the mail on Friday, so I would spend the weekend doing my homework. My plan to have more time to goof off backfired, but I did learn that distance education was a big commitment and a lot of work."

Distance education has come a long way since that time and so has Fuselier, who was named director of the Office of Distance Learning in December after serving as interim director since spring 2016.

Our Mission: To provide superior support in order to offer exceptional learning opportunities.For Fuselier, support and service are foundational to his vision for ODL. "Our job is to help make all our colleges and departments successful. We want to build relationships and offer a distance learning unit that serves FSU's unique needs."

Building relationships and becoming more involved across campus are part of Fuselier’s vision. He is eager to connect with colleges, schools, departments, and centers that ODL has not previously had the opportunity to serve.

During his tenure as interim director, Fuselier focused on support and service as he implemented various initiatives. He worked closely with the Testing Center to accommodate the high demand for proctored testing and thus better serve students. He supervised the university's successful transition to the Canvas learning management system and is currently involved in creating a campus-wide accessibility workgroup to ensure that courses meet the educational needs of all learners.

Fuselier is enthusiastic as he looks forward to new initiatives. For instructors, he wants to discover innovative ways to support the development of online programs and ensure course quality. For students, he wants to increase and improve services.

"We are advocates for all our distance learning students and instructors," he said. "We need to find areas that have traditionally served on-campus students and make sure that our off-campus students are able to take advantage of these opportunities as well."

Fuselier grew up outside of New Orleans and, after high school, was stationed in Jacksonville for a four-year term in the Navy. His time at sea took him on tours to the Persian Gulf, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. Back on land, he launched his studies at FSU, earning a BS in information studies and an MS in information technology. He became part of ODL in 2009 as a project manager in the Technology unit, moving up the ranks to associate director of Technology before being named interim director.

When not endeavoring to improve distance learning across campus, Fuselier enjoys camping, hiking, serving as a Scout leader, and strumming on his banjo.

Resources can help faculty develop accessible course materials

Florida State University offers several resources to help faculty make their courses more accessible to all students. For assistance, please contact one of the following offices:


Canvas spring training

ODL offers training opportunities to help instructors enhance the courses that they have moved to Canvas. To reserve your spot for an in-person workshop or noon webinar, visit our Registration page. 

For more individualized help, we offer course migration appointments, media consultations, and one-on-one technical support assistance.
Canvas by the Numbers (Spring 2018)
Courses 3,681
Teachers 2,429
Students 36,384
Assignments 40,548
Discussion topics 16,614
Files uploaded 139,908
Media recordings 1,443
Completed ODL tech support tickets 1,365

Canvas Community

The Canvas Community is a place for faculty and staff to learn, connect, and share. This comprehensive knowledge base features the following sections.
  • Find Answers includes guides, release notes, Canvas training, and Canvas Commons. The Commons is a learning object repository where users can discover and share resources.
  • Share Ideas is a place where users can join virtual events developed to help them improve their teaching with Canvas.
  • Join Groups allows users to share practices, collaborate on projects, and network with peers.


Instructors have several options for taking attendance in Canvas, depending on class size and personal preference. One option is to use Canvas’s Roll Call Attendance tool, which is an external app integrated into the Canvas course site. 

This tool is best used for small face-to-face courses in which instructors can manually enter attendance. With a few clicks, instructors can mark students present, late, or absent, and this information can be viewed by students and integrated into the Gradebook. The tool also supports seating charts and allows instructors to run attendance reports.


Support Articles

Check out the most recent articles from our Canvas Support Center:
Have questions? We can help!
Contact ODL Technical Support.


PIE teaching workshops

The PIE Coffee Hour & Teaching Workshop Series offers sessions on strategies that promote excellence in teaching. February's offerings include 90-minute workshops on creating a teaching portfolio (Feb. 7 at 3 pm and 5 pm) and communication and engagement (Feb. 22 at 3:30 pm). For more information and to register, click here.

Alternative textbook grants

Faculty and instructors can beat the high cost of college textbooks by applying for an alternative textbook grant. The application form must be completed by February 16, 2018. Read about the requirements and access the application form. 

Spring conferences


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


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