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Upcoming Master’s Degree Information Sessions

Information Session

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will hold informational open houses for prospective master’s degree students in January 2014.

Attendees will receive a brief overview of the university, information about specific master’s degree programs, the admissions process, financial aid and other services. There will be complimentary food and beverages in addition to a campus tour. There will also be an opportunity to meet in small groups with the appropriate academic advisors to discuss prerequisites, transcripts and other details pertaining to individual programs of interest, and to meet faculty and graduates.

January 9, 2014                                                         
Master’s in Social Work*                                         
4:00-5:30 p.m.                                                           
Selby Auditorium

January 25, 2014
All Master’s Degrees
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Selby Auditorium

Master’s degree programs include:

  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Education (Human Resource Education or Online Teaching and Learning)
  • Educational Leadership
  • English Education
  • Exceptional Student Education
  • Hospitality Management
  • Social Work
  • Teaching

Note: The Master of Social Work degree program has a February 15, 2014 application deadline. It is a cohort, taught as a group over eight consecutive semesters and hosted at USF Sarasota-Manatee. A fall 2014 cohort start date is contingent upon a minimum number of qualified acceptances; without the minimum number, the start date would be delayed to January 2015. Website: www.usfsm.edu.

Tuesday Talks: Dr. Wilma Davidson, Professional & Technical Communication

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Dr. Wilma Davidson.

Wilma Davidson, Ed.D., Professional & Technical Communication, has enjoyed a notable career in both academic and corporate classrooms, teaching oral and written communication skills in the USA and abroad.  She holds an undergraduate and two graduate degrees in English and Journalism and earned her doctorate from Rutgers University, with an emphasis on Business Communications.

While at Rutgers she also served as a facilitator for a national writing project, instructing hundreds of educators to teach writing more effectively across the curriculum.  Besides teaching, she ghostwrites and edits technical and business material, and she coaches high-level executives in presentation skills.  Dr. Davidson has written more than 75 articles; and her work has been featured and reviewed in prominent publications including The New York TimesFortune, and Business Week.  Besides her published articles, she has authored several books on the art of writing and communicating.

E-Learning Blog: Canvas App for all iPhone Users

by Carlos Montoya, M.Ed

Mobile learning is enhancing the way students and instructors interact with each other and with the course content. Canvas contribution to enhance online learning is the Canvas 3.0 App. This app works with iOS and Android mobile devices. On this post you will find the tutorial for iPhone users.

  • Go to the App Store and download the Canvas Application
  • Two ways to log in:
    • Enter your canvas URL: usflearn.instructure.com
      Canvas URL
    • Connect to Canvas Network: learn.canvas.net
  • Log in with your NetID and password
  • You can also access Canvas using a mobile browser on youriOS device (to interact as you would on the regular web version of Canvas):
    • Use Safari or Chrome
    • Enter URL: usflearn.instructure.com

Canvas App Navigation


Dashboard (1) View your Course and Groups.
(2) View Conversations messages.
(3) View your To-Do list.
(4) View Course Notifications.
(5) View your Profile.
(6) Get Help with the Canvas App.

Conversations, Messages, Inbox

Messages It displays all messages you received and is organized from newest to oldest.
New messages are bold.
A number and group icon will indicate group conversations.
Refresh as you would any other app.
You can view the inbox, unread and archives messages.
Tap the message you want to see and it will take you to the conversation.
To return, tap on “Messages.”
To compose a message, tap on the pencil icon.
Tap on the + sign to find recipient by name or course.
You can select multiple names and add attachments.

To Do List

To Do Instructors will see To Do notifications about grading assignments.
Grading within the App is not available yet.
Grading on mobile devices can be done by using a Mobile browser (except in Android tablet).
SpeedGrader is available only on the iPad. Download the SpeedGrader App.

My Files

Profile My Files
You can view or add your personal files.
Click on profile, then tap on “My files.”
Tap on the file folder you want to view.
Tap on the gear icon on the top right corner, to add a folder, upload a file or edit any items.
If “upload a file” is selected you have the choice to select from the iPhone camera or from Dropbox (slide to the right).
To add files from another app like Google drive. Just go to the app, select the file and when tap on open select the Canvas app. It will automatically send it to your files. Then click upload.

 View Course Navigation

Course Navigation 1 When you log in to your Canvas App …
Select the course you want to view.
Course Navigation 2 You will be taken to the course Home page.
Click on the “Home” dropdown menu to see your course navigation menu.

How to View Announcements

Announcements 1 Select the course, and then select Announcements.
You will be taken to your “Front Home page.”
Click on the “Home” dropdown menu and select “Announcements.”
Announcements 2 Select the announcement you want to view.
You can create reply to that announcement.
You can add a new announcement.

How to View Discussions

Discussions Select Discussions from the Course tab, and then select the discussion you want to view.
You can reply to any discussion if enable by instructor.
The number of replies within the reply is indicated by a gray notification (1), the blue indicator shows the unread replies (2).
Discussions 2 This is an example of a regular discussion. You can create a new discussion by tapping on the “+” icon.
Discussions 3 To expand a threaded discussion, tap the heading of the threaded reply.

Visit the Canvas guides for more information.

— Carlos

Class Project Turns Into Successful Business for USFSM Alumna

Beth Lukens Cloud 9 Confections USF Sarasota-Manatee USFSM Hospitality Alumni Alumna

Beth Lukens’s idea for a confection business began during her senior year at USF Sarasota-Manatee disguised as a sweet classroom project. She created a business plan for a fictitious food service establishment complete with menus, interviews with real world businesses and a cost analysis. “I created Cloud 9 Confections and told myself someday it’d be more than just a school project,” said the hospitality management graduate.

 Learn more about the College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership

Today, Cloud 9 Confections is a custom “bake to order” enterprise in South Tampa, where Lukens fulfills special requests from customers through her website: www.cloud-9-confections.com.Beth Lukens Cloud 9 Confections USF Sarasota-Manatee USFSM Hospitality Alumni Alumna

Lukens always had a passion for food and hoped she could one day incorporate her baking skills into her professional life. After seeing one too many shows on the Food Network and thinking “I could do that,” she decided to make her dream a reality. Cloud 9 Confections offers not only cupcakes, but cookies, toffee, chocolate bark, chocolate dipped pretzels and other seasonal items. Lukens prides herself on making confections in small batches to guarantee quality every time, catering mainly to holiday parties, baby and bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, teacher gifts, corporate give-a-ways, tailgate parties and lunch box treats.

Learn more about Cloud 9 Confections

In addition to catering and selling an assortment of confections, she offers classes at The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa as well as hosting themed parties for her clients. “I not only sell cupcakes, I show others how to make them for themselves,” Lukens commented.  These parties are derived from the show Cupcake Wars which airs on the Food Network.  Party attendees are divided into teams that compete to make and display themed cupcakes. “Everyone has lots of fun and learns about baking in the process,” said Lukens.

Beth Lukens Cloud 9 Confections USF Sarasota-Manatee USFSM Hospitality Alumni AlumnaBut when it comes to the success of her small business, Lukens credits USFSM for its fundamental education and real-world benefits. “I use skills learned at USFSM every day,” said Lukens. “From the basics like accounting and cost control to the less tangible ones like people skills and marketing.”  She believes her experience with the university’s professors helped shape who she is today and the smaller classes helped cultivate an ideal environment for learning.

“USFSM is a great environment to learn and foster a passion for hospitality, while being immersed in a community that truly embraces the culture,” said Lukens.

The entrepreneur also appreciated having small classes and “many opportunities to visit various hospitality operations in the community.”  She considers Sarasota a perfect location for a degree based in tourism.  “There are endless resources and the community support is great.”

Tuesday Talks: Dr. Marie Byrd, Elementary Education

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Dr. Marie Byrd.

Marie Byrd is an associate professor in the Department of Childhood Education and Literacy Studies at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. A native Floridian, she received her BS and MS in Elementary Education from Florida State University and Florida International University, respectively and her EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida International University. Marie has a strong background in urban school education with 15 years of service in the Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami, Florida as a teacher, Title One Curriculum Specialist, and Assistant Principal. Prior to arriving at USF Sarasota Manatee in fall 2007, Marie held the title of assistant professor in Educational Administration at the University of Memphis and at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

USFSM Welcomes Associate Director of Facilities Planning and Management

KevinTaterusUSF Sarasota-Manatee announces the hire of Kevin Taterus in the new position of associate director of facilities planning and management. His responsibilities include the management of campus facilities operations and maintenance functions as well as assisting in the management of minor construction projects. Taterus also assumes responsibility for the development and oversight of USFSM’s emergency preparedness and response programs.

“I am very excited to be part of the USFSM Facilities Planning and Management team,” said Taterus. “I look forward to supporting the department’s mission of successfully planning, designing, constructing and managing the physical environment here at USFSM.”

Taterus received his Bachelor of Science in facilities management from Ferris State University in Michigan. Following graduation, he worked as a facilities auditor in the Engineering and Operations Division of the Susquehanna Pennsylvania Area Regional Airport Authority. In 2002, he relocated to Florida to work in the design and construction industry. He spent the last eight years with Harvard Jolly Architects as a construction administrator for several middle and high schools in Charlotte County. Taterus is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional with a background in sustainable and environmentally responsible design practices, a Certified Construction Contract Administrator and a member of both the U.S. Green Building Council and International Facilities Management Association


About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, in North Port and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu

E-Learning Blog: Using Canvas for Student-to-Student Interaction

by Carlos Montoya, M.Ed

Researches have found that one of the greatest challenges for any type of online course is interaction among students. Instructors have used their creativity and found ways to battle those challenges by transferring their face-to-face teaching strategies in their online environment. In any type of online setting (hybrid or 100% online), one way that a course can increase student-to -student interaction is by using wiki pages.

Wiki Pages

A wiki page is a web application that allows people to add, modify, or delete content in collaboration with others.

As you may or may not know, Canvas utilizes the wiki page idea. Instructors use this page to write, create and share information among other things. But why not use the wiki page as a tool for students to contribute to a concept, topic or unit that you assign to them.

For example, if the reading assignment for this week is chapter 2, then you can create a wiki page for the students to contribute ideas and resources about the assigned chapter. They can upload images, videos, journal entries, links, news, and other resources related to the topic. Students will be able to share their ideas and resources with each other while you oversee their collaboration. They will learn from each other and be encouraged to participate and different learning needs will be met.

The wiki page can be placed inside a module (if your course’s layout has modules) or you can just enable the “Pages” tab (if disable) and students can access all the pages you create. This could be considered as a participation grade or extra credit.

To create a wiki page:

  • Click on “Pages” on your navigation menu (left side menu)
  • Click on “+Page”
  • Input title and directions
  • Select “options” drop down menu
  • Select “Teacher and students” can edit this page
  • Now click save.
Create a page, then give it a title. Write the directions. Select teachers and students to edit this page and then save it.

Figure 1: Content Page

Place it under a module:

  • Select a module
  • Click on the “+” button
  • On the “Add” drop down window select “content page”
  • Find the page you just created
  • Click “Add Item”
  • Publish the page
Select the module and click on add an item.

Figure 2: Sample Module

Select "content page" from the add drop down menu. Find the page that was created. Click add item.

Figure 3: Add Content Page Pane

Publish the content page. Make sure the module is also published.

Figure 4: Sample Module with Created Page

Enable Pages on the course navigation menu:

If you don’t have modules set up, you can enable the pages option so that students have access to them.

  • Click on “Settings” on the course navigation menu (left side menu)
  • Click on the “Navigation” tab (on top menu)
  • Find the “Pages” item on the lower menu, drag and drop it into the upper menu
After clicking on "settings" click on "Navigation". Then drag and drop "pages" from the lower menu, to the upper menu.

Figure 5: Course Settings Pane

If you have any question please don’t hesitate to ask me. My email is cmmontoya@sar.usf.edu and phone is 941-359-4295.

Until next time,
Carlos Montoya

USFSM Prepares High School Students for SAT

USF Sarasota-Manatee offers free SAT prep class to high school students

Twenty-five high school seniors recently took part in a free test prep class for college admission at USF Sarasota-Manatee. From 10 to 5 on July 28 through August 1, the students received instruction and  practice in essay writing, vocabulary, math tips and tricks and basic tools for test taking, taught by Dr. Su Senapati, faculty coordinator of Learning Support and two tutors, Debra McCarthy, a graduate student in the MA Education program and Jackie Pham-Mowry, who graduated with a Finance degree from USFSM in May. The class also included career counseling, financial aid, the college admissions process and success strategies.

The was a pilot program recommended by USFSM marketing students in their capstone project for Dr. James Curran’s Marketing Management Problems class in Spring 2014. In interviews with high schoolers, the marketing students learned that there was a lot of anxiety about taking the SAT and other college admission exams, and that a class would be a welcome option for local seniors. The sessions filled immediately with a waiting list, which proved them right.

E-Learning Blog: Canvas New Features, Updates and Fixed Bugs

Canvas Logo - Horizontal Color

Hello again, and thank you for visiting our blog. This week’s post will describe some of the latest release notes from Canvas. Among them a great new features in quizzes which combines the quiz overview and the quiz statistics page. This change will enhance the way you analyze your quizzes. Also check the new updates and fixed bugs.

New Features

  • Quiz Statistics
  • People: Group Tabs
  • Group Set Drop-Down Menu


  • Assignment Time Zone
  • Student View (Groups)

Fixed Bugs

  • Complete/Incomplete Assignments
  • Negative Points
  • Drop-Down Menu Conversation
  • Question Banks Imports
  • Modules

New Features

Quiz Statistics

You can view an entire quiz summary that shows a graph with average score percentages. This new design combines the quiz overview and the quiz statistics page.

Quiz Statistics

People: Group Tabs

People menu has a new design that displays access to user groups in the same page view. You will still see all users in the course as well as any existing group that had been created. Those groups will display on tabs.

Group Tabs 1

Group Tabs 2

Group Set Drop-Down Menu

When viewing a student group, you can easily change to another group page by simply clicking the drop-down arrow next to the group name.

Group Set Drop-Down Menu


Assignment Time Zone

If you manage courses in a time zone different than the local time zone, this update gives you the choice to pick from either one when you create an assignment.

Assignment Time Zone

Student View (Groups)

On the Groups page, students can view the different groups in their course. If they are members of a group, they can click on Visit link to access their group dashboard. They can see group member or search for people in a group.

Student View (Groups)

Fixed Bugs

Complete/Incomplete Assignments: When an assignment is graded with a complete or an incomplete, it will now reflect on the final grade. Before it did not.

Negative Points: Assignments now do not accept negative point values. Before, assignments were accepting negative points. Points must be recorded as a positive number.

Drop-down Menu Conversation: Conversations now display all users in drop-down menu. Before conversation would not display the full list if there were more than 20 users in the menu.

Question Bank Imports: Now all selected Question Banks are imported to Canvas.

Modules: Now when a module is published, all unpublished items within the module are also published and can be seen in all other areas of Canvas. Before, those items were not accessible in Assignments, Syllabus, Calendar, or Grades by students.

Check the rest of the updates and fixed bugs by reviewing the June 23, 2014 release notes and July 12, 2014 release notes.

Professor Receives Funding for Research on the Higher Education Experience

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee has been awarded a $289,336 sub-award through Clark University as part of a 1.45 million dollar grant funded by the John Templeton Foundation, to study how universities around the world can help students find a strong sense of purpose.

Jenni Menon Mariano, associate professor in the College of Education, oversees the USFSM sub-award and is co-principal investigator on the larger grant with principal investigator Seana Moran, research assistant professor of psychology at Clark University in Massachusetts.

Learn more about Dr. Jenni Menon Mariano

The research will survey hundreds of students in six countries to learn how college can be made meaningful and relevant to them in a way that also helps students make a positive difference in their communities. The work will start an international conversation on optimizing higher education’s contribution to purpose development by engaging scholars in the U.S. and abroad in research and field-building activities over a three-year period.

Part of the USFSM award supports research that will engage both instructors and students in courses across the university system in collaboration with the USF Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships. The award will also partially fund students to engage in the research process where they will learn valuable research skills.

Want to know more about the USFSM College of Education?

“I think this type of education –where there aren’t borders between one’s life and one’s formal education –can really inspire social innovation,” said USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Mariano. “These are things the next generation needs and the world needs from the next generation. This research will investigate how college experiences can provide direction to youths’ lives, as well as the knowledge, skills, and momentum to contribute positively to the community. So little research has been done on how education and one’s life purpose connect. The University of South Florida is an ideal place to launch a study of this type because the university provides so many opportunities for students to engage in real-world and community-engaged learning venues. USFSM is increasingly known for its work with community partners, and the USF system in general is distinguished for its community-engaged focus. Also, faculty at USFSM conduct high quality research that is both basic and applied.  We are a diverse group of scholars who I think demonstrate that the academic world and real-world venues are not at odds with each other, but that there is actually a solid, natural, and necessary connection between the two.  There is a real concern at USFSM for having a positive social impact through scholarship, which is what this particular research study is all about.”

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. They encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

“We hope to promote experiences in higher education that help develop purpose both here in the United States and around the world, said Mariano. “We’re fortunate to be working with several distinguished partners in other countries who think this goal is as important as we do, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with our collaborators.”

Mariano has worked extensively in community development and research including coordinating a peace-building program in post-war Bosnia in response to the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. She teaches courses on positive human development and community and school engagement and has published widely on the topics of purpose, how people achieve excellent and ethical work, and positive youth development. She holds a PhD from Stanford University in psychology and education and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. Her research on how people and communities thrive spans several years in which she has interviewed and surveyed hundreds of young people across the United States and Canada. Mariano’s framework rests on the idea that the development of a noble life purpose is a foundation to our well-being, dignity, and equality.

Seana Moran’s work addresses how individuals contribute to their various communities and how they become more aware and intentional of the effects of those contributions on others. She researches and teaches courses on purpose development, creativity, collaboration, and wise decision-making. She holds master and doctorate degrees in human development and psychology from Harvard University, an MBA from the University of New Mexico and a BA from the University of Southern California.

“We are fortunate to be able to assist many highly gifted people and distinguished institutions around the world,” explains Jack Templeton on the Templeton Foundation’s official website. “Whenever possible, we try to get involved early enough in people’s careers that we can make a big difference in their work and allow them to realize their fullest potential.”