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Technology and University Resources

There are many resources available to online students, from tutoring to counseling to addressing academic honesty. You are encouraged to utilize the available student and academic support services throughout the semester.

Online students will need access to a reliable computer with high-speed internet access. To access the course site, please log into the Blackboard Learning Management System using your Blackboard username and password credentials.

To be able to participate fully in USC Aiken online courses; you must have:

  • The minimum requirements for computer hardware: University computer requirements are listed here. You may also need access to a webcam and headset microphone.
  • Reliable and speedy internet access: Online coursework requires you to have reliable internet access and fast connection speed, as you will be taking online tests. High-speed internet connection is required, but a wired connection is preferred, especially while taking tests.
  • Computer competency: You must be very comfortable with using email and discussion boards, uploading and downloading documents, and accessing resources such as search engines and websites (e.g., Google, etc.).

 

For Blackboard help tutorials to learn about basic Blackboard functions, visit the Blackboard help site.

To obtain assistance with technical issues in Blackboard (removing pop-up blockers, opening files or quizzes, etc.), or if you are unable to see the course content or have other questions regarding the course itself, please visit the USC Aiken Computer Services Help Desk

The Help Desk is located in B&E Suite 238. You may email the Help Desk, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 803-641-3391 from non-campus phones or use extension 4357 from campus phones.

For after-hours outages, text or call 803-265-LANN or 803-265-5266 (texts are preferred).

 

If you are new to Blackboard and/or are not aware of your Blackboard login credentials, you can find complete instructions on Self-Service Carolina Help.

You can follow the registrations guides at Self-Service Carolina Help for getting your network username for Blackboard and to set your password at my.sc.edu or go to SC Authentication Service to login.

 

If you are an online student at USC Aiken you should have access to a computer that meets the university's minimum hardware specifications. The Office of Distance Learning recommends that online students have access to a webcam, either built in or external, and purchase a headset with noise-cancelling microphone for effective communication.

You should have or will acquire the following technology skills throughout this course:

  1. Downloading and installing software applications.
  2. Using Microsoft Office (or similar alternative software) to draft and save in multiple file formats.
  3. Copying and pasting between documents and Blackboard. To select all press and hold Ctrl (the control key) on the keyboard and then press the A on the keyboard. To copy, press and hold Ctrl and then press the C on the keyboard. To paste, press and hold down Ctrl and then press V.
  4. Communicate effectively using a webcam and microphone in synchronous interactions or create and upload multimedia content via video or social media platforms.
  5. Using Blackboard to upload files, post to discussion boards, complete tests, participate in wikis, and post blog entries (where applicable).
  6. Using a USCA supported video conferencing tools (Blackboard Collaborate, Yuja, or Adobe Connect) to participate in video conferencing sessions, view recordings, or create recordings (if applicable).
  7. Using USCA email accounts to communicate with your instructors. 

 

University Supported Software

You should have access to and be proficient with the software and hardware discussed below.

Mandatory accessories include a webcam, either built-in or external, and noise-cancelling headphones with microphone (external, not one built into your computer).

    • Firefox - Blackboard usually prefers this browser. 

Download Firefox for free

    • Chrome - This is a backup browser for Blackboard. If you cannot access something in Firefox, try Chrome or Safari before contacting your professor or USC Aiken’s Help Desk. (Note: Internet Explorer is not a recommended browser due to security risks and incompatibility with Blackboard.)

Download Chrome for free

Visit Google Drive

View Google's privacy policy

View Google's accessibility statement

    • Safari - This is a backup browser for Blackboard. If you cannot access something in Firefox, try Chrome or Safari before contacting your professor or USC Aiken’s Help Desk. (Note: Internet Explorer is not a recommended browser due to security risks and incompatibility with Blackboard.)

Download Safari for free

    • Respondus LockDown Browser - The assessments in this course may require using the Respondus LockDown Browser (review any special instructions with course examinations). Respondus LockDown Browser creates a "locked" testing environment that prevents you from viewing other web pages, accessing other applications, and printing or copying the assessments. You must download and install LockDown Browser before you take any exams. The Respondus Install and User Quick Start Guide provides information on the installation and usage of Lockdown Browser. Do this now so that you are prepared for your first assessment. Additionally, you may be required to also use Respondus Monitor in which case you will need webcam and microphone capabilities to attempt an examination. 

Download and Install the Respondus LockDown Browser

 

USC AIken does provide some software discounts for students:

  • Free Microsoft 360 download.
  • Microsoft Office 365 allows access to the following software applications: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, One Note, OneDrive, and Outlook. Office 365 is available for free to USC AIken students. and may be required to complete various course assignments (part of the free Microsoft 360 download). Full information and download instructions can be found on the Office 365 page of the Help Desk website.
  • Microsoft Office Mix is an add-on to Microsoft PowerPoint. With Mix, you can create voice-over PowerPoint lectures that are self-running and contain a number of interactive items, such as embedded video, quizzes, and screencasts. Mix is an additional tab that appears on your PowerPoint ribbon. Students are afforded the use of Mix for free. The free download can be found on the Office Mix website.
  • You may need access to a high-speed Internet, webcam, and a headset with microphone to participate in the live, synchronous class sessions. Video Conferencing Tools supported by Distance Learning are Blackboard Collaborate, Yuja Video Conference, and Microsoft Teams. (Adobe Connect no longer supported)

PLAGIARISM SOFTWARE

The University of South Carolina Aiken is committed to helping students uphold the ethical standards of academic integrity in all areas of study. Students agree that their enrollment in this course allows the professor the right to use electronic devices to help prevent plagiarism.

  • SafeAssign:  Professors may elect to have students submit assignments to the Blackboard’s Safe Assign feature and will be included as source documents in Safe Assign’s restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents.
  • TurnItIn:  All course materials are subject to submission to scholarly authentication and will be included as source documents in Turnitin.com's restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. Turnitin.com can be used as an academic tool to help students avoid plagiarism in written documents.  If your professor will use TurnItin, he/she will provide you with the following login credentials and other information.
    • Obtaining your Turnitin.com Login Credentials (if required by the instructor)
      • Go to Turnitin.com and create an account using your own email address and password (tip: use your school email address here to keep your schoolwork organized.)
        • Click on the tab “Enroll in a Class” and enter the following information:
        • Class/section ID: xxxxxxx
        • Enrollment Password: xxxxxxx

Respondus LockDown Browser:  To increase the integrity of online tests, professors may elect to use the Respondus Lockdown Browser, which creates a "locked" testing environment that prevents you from viewing other web pages, accessing other applications, and printing or copying the assessments. If instructed, you must download and install LockDown Browser before you take any exams. The Respondus Install and Use Quick Start Guide provides information on the installation and usage of Lockdown Browser.  

When taking assessments using Respondus:

  • Students should seek a computer with a wired connection. If using a wireless connection, be sure to be close enough to the wireless router that has the strongest signal.
  • Be sure to close ALL applications on your computer and double-click on the Respondus Lockdown Browser icon to open the application. Log into Blackboard, access your course, and navigate to the assessment.

 

Academic Integrity

The USC Aiken Student Handbook defines violations of academic integrity as follows:

The principle of academic integrity prohibits all forms of academic dishonesty including cheating, lying, bribery, and plagiarism. The following examples illustrate conduct that violates academic integrity, but this list is not exhaustive.

  • Giving or receiving unauthorized assistance, or attempting to give or receive such assistance in connection with the performance of any academic work.
  • Unauthorized use of materials or information of any type or the unauthorized use of any electronic or mechanical device in connection with the completion of any academic work.
  • Unauthorized use of any portable electronic device unless required for the course during a test period without consent of the instructor.
  • Access to the contents of any test or examination of the purchase, sale, or theft of any test or examination prior to its administration.
  • Use of another person’s work without proper acknowledgement of source; i.e. plagiarism.
  • Intentional misleading of any person in connection with any academic work including the scheduling, completion, performance, or submission of any such work.
  • Offering or giving any favor or thing of value for the purpose of influencing improperly a grade or other evaluation of a student in an academic program.
  • Conduct intended to interfere with an instructor’s ability to evaluate accurately a student’s competency or performance in an academic program.

Only the appropriate faculty member can “authorize” assistance, use of materials, etc. Whenever a student is uncertain as to whether conduct would violate academic integrity, it is the responsibility of the student to seek clarification from the appropriate faculty member prior to engaging in such conduct.

University of South Carolina: A Brief Guide to Proper Attribution of Ideas and Expression, Avoiding Plagiarism.

Plagiarism could be defined as follows:

Plagiarism is intentionally or carelessly presenting the work of another as one’s own. It includes submitting an assignment purporting to be the student’s original work, which has wholly or in part been created by another. It also includes the presentation of the work, ideas, representations, or words of another without customary and proper acknowledgement of sources. Students must consult instructors for clarification in any situation in which documentation is an issue. Students will be considered to have plagiarized whenever their work is not properly documented.

Academic Integrity is a core value of our community of learners. Every member of the academic community (students, faculty, and staff) is expected to maintain high standards of integrity in all facets of work and study. The Student Guide to Academic Integrity describes appropriate academic conduct in research, writing, assessment, and ethics. 

Academic dishonesty is not tolerated at USC Aiken. The penalties can be severe and include: failing the assignment, failing the course, and referral to Student Judicial Programs to face form conduct charges.Students found in violation may be suspended or expelled and can have a permanent notation affixed to the official transcript indicating that an academic integrity violation occurred. Students are urged to discuss questions regarding academic integrity with instructors, advisors, or with the academic deans.

Please note that even if you paraphrase another's work, you must also cite your source in the text, just as you would a direct quote. Additionally, submitting a paper you have written for another course is also a form of plagiarism known as multiple submissions.

You may be turning in papers through Turnitin or SafeAssign, online tools that assists in discovering plagiarism. Plagiarism.org is another great resource to help you avoid plagiarism.

If you intentionally or blatantly plagiarize, you will fail the class, and the case can be reported to the Student Judiciary Board.

For scholarly writing formats you may be using either MLA or APA formatting, depending on the topic of your submissions, and cite your sources. Projects focused on the fields of English, literature, languages, or culture will use MLA; projects focused on the social sciences, business, or nursing will use APA. Review appropriate citation guides like Purdue's research and citation resources. Generally, the following principles apply:

  1. All quotes, summaries, paraphrases, and facts must have two types of documentation. The first is a parenthetical or in-text citation inserted in the text where the referenced content appears. The second is a bibliographic entry or endnote on a References/Works Cited page at the end of the paper.
  2. Anything cited word-for-word is a quote and must appear in quotation marks. Quotes must be documented.
  3. Any source cited in the paper should have a corresponding bibliographic entry/endnote at the end of the document.
  4. Only sources cited in the paper should appear in the References/Works Cited. Sources you read but do not cite may be cited in a separate Works Consulted.
  5. All quotes, paraphrases, and summaries must have page numbers as they are identified in the original source. Many internet sites do not have page numbers listed online (it does not count if they appear when you print out the document), although some do (such as pdfs and online journals). Only site a page number if it is identified in the original source.

Be sure to review this information carefully, as it includes clarifications of the policies upheld in this course, especially the Student Guide to Academic Integrity.

“Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to the subject.” The preceding comes from the American Association of University Professors’ statement on academic freedom. Though the entire statement speaks to many issues, it is this portion on the conduct of the course that is most relevant. For the purpose of coursework, this means that faculty members have the right to conduct their classes in a fashion they deem appropriate as long as the material presented meets the learning objectives laid out by the entire faculty.

 

Division of Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs is an integral educational and administrative component of the University of South Carolina Aiken which supports the overall mission of the University by enhancing the cognitive, ethical, emotional, occupational, physical and social development of students while adhering to the legal and ethical standards of our professions. The Division provides activities, programs and services to address the changing needs of students, staff, faculty and the community. Student Affairs provides information on student services, student involvement, leadership programs, student handbook, and events.

Library Services

Visit the Gregg-Graniteville Library site to learn about the many resources that are available for undergraduate students. To receive help regarding the university library, please use the Ask a Librarian support feature.

Academic Success Center

Use the Center for Student Achievement to access information on academic advising, the Writing Center, the Tutoring Center, and other resources. You are encouraged to use the Gregg-Graniteville Library's Citation Style Guides web page and/or the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) as a resource for writing using certain style guides, as instructed by your professor. Writing consultants come from a range of disciplines and are formally trained to provide feedback during all phases of the writing process. The Writing Center is staffed by students and English faculty. Located in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, (Rooms 112 and 119), the Writing Center is available to students who want to drop-in. Appointments are recommended, however.

Disability Services Office

The Disability Services Office provides accommodations to ensure that educational programming and services are accessible to students with disabilities. If you have a physical, psychological, and/or learning disability that might affect your performance in this class, please contact the Disability Services Office, B&E 130, (803) 643-6816, as soon as possible if you believe you are eligible for accommodations. The Disability Services Office will require appropriate documentation to determine accommodations. Once determination of eligibility is made, students who have disabilities requiring special arrangements for class participation or test administration should notify the professor of the need for such arrangements at the beginning of the semester.

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center offers counseling services to full-time and part-time students free of charge. The Counseling Center is available to address a variety of concerns. Browse our topics and issues, and if you don't see what you're looking for, please contact us and tell us what's on your mind. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, call the Counseling Center at 803-641-3609 or stop by Room 126 in the Business and Education Building during office hours.

Veteran and Military Student Success (VMSS)

The Veteran and Military Student Success Center is an asset to veteran, active duty, and military family member students. It offers a meeting space where students can study for exams, learn from current students, and find a sense of community during their transition back into civilian life. You can rely on and connect at the VMSS and may become an important part of your journey in higher education, and for veteran and military students coming to USC Aiken, making your way into the VMSS and using the resources can set you apart and lead you to success. Call 803-643-6767 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Graduation Information

Students wishing to receive a degree from the University of South Carolina Aiken must use the online degree application. Failure to apply for graduation by the deadline will delay your application until another term. All diplomas will be mailed. View more information about graduation procedures for online students.

 

Accessibility

The technology tools utilized within this course offer a variety of accessibility features, such as compatibility with screen readers, text-based visual alternatives, video scripts, and attention to Universal Design. The central platform for this course, Blackboard, also complies with ADA requirements. The university seeks to provide effective services and accommodation for qualified individuals 

By federal law, you are entitled to and eligible for accommodation through the Disability Services Office. USC Aiken seeks to provide effective services and accommodation for qualified individuals with documented disabilities. 

The Disability Services Office provides accommodations to ensure that educational programming and services are accessible to students with disabilities. If you have a physical, psychological, and/or learning disability that might affect your performance in this class, please contact the Disability Services Office, B&E 130, (803) 643-6815, as soon as possible, if you believe you are eligible for accommodations. The Disability Services Office will require appropriate documentation to determine accommodations.

Title IX

It is the policy of the university in order to maintain an environment in which the dignity and worth of all members of the institutional system are respected, that sexual harassment of employees or students is prohibited. Such conduct is a form of behavior which seriously undermines the atmosphere of trust essential to the academic environment. This policy is consistent with federal and state laws prohibiting sex discrimination. It is also a policy of the University that willful false accusation of sexual harassment shall not be condoned.

Review USCA’s Sexual Assault Policy. If you disclose a potential violation of the sexual misconduct policy, the Title IX Coordinator may be notified. Students who have experienced sexual misconduct are encouraged to contact confidential resources listed below. To make a report to the Title IX Coordinator, visit the Equal Opportunity and Title IX website.

Emergency Services

If there is a condition which threatens the health and safety of persons on campus, university officials will warn the campus community using one or more of the following methods:

  1. www.usca.edu home page
  2. Outdoor sirens / public address instruction or message
  3. Text messages
  4. E-mail
  5. Phone alert, i.e., reverse 911 or phone tree call

During an emergency at USC Aiken, the main university website, www.usca.edu, will include prominent any alerts prominantly. 

Web Etiquette

Proper netiquette enables students to be professional while communicating online with faculty and with other students. To comply with course expectations, it is important to consider the following values during online discussions and when corresponding to the professor and fellow students via email, discussions, and other communication:

Student-to-Student Netiquette

  • Timeliness: Monitor course activity and respond to communications from your classmates and faculty in a timely manner.
  • Confidentiality: When discussing topics, be sure to be discreet about how you discuss children, teachers, and aides in the classroom. Do not use names of people or names of facilities.
  • Formatting: As a rule, please do not use all caps in your emails or discussions. It is considered unprofessional and is hard to read. Also, please use standard capitalization and punctuation in all course communications, and sign your name on all emails. 
  • Value: Recognize and value the experiences, abilities, and knowledge each person brings to class. Value the diversity of the class.
  • Language tone: The absence of face-to-face interaction increases the likelihood of misinterpretation. Avoid using offensive language, excessive exclamation points, all caps, humor and sarcasm, acronyms, emoticons, and slang.
  • Respect: Each student’s viewpoint is valued as an opinion. When responding to a person during online discussions, be sure to state an opposing opinion in a diplomatic way. Disagree with ideas, but do not make personal attacks. Be careful what you write because you cannot use body language or tone of voice when trying to convey ideas, intent, or thoughts.
  • Brevity: Be concise when contributing to a discussion. Online courses require a lot of reading; therefore, your points may be missed if hidden in a flood of text.
  • Read and proofread: Read all discussions before you post a comment, so you do not repeat information. Proofread and spell check all messages before you send them.

Student-to-Professor Netiquette

In addition to the above values, you are expected to respond to communications from your professor in a timely manner. Any emergencies that arise due to illness, death, etc. should be reported to the professor as quickly as possible.


Professor-to-Student Netiquette

The professor of this course will also follow the values listed above by checking and responding to emails and grading your assignments in a timely manner. Specifically, the Blackboard course site will be checked periodically, and any emails will be answered during those times. Assignments will be graded within a reasonable time after the posted deadline for each assignment (or after the assignments are actually received).


Additional Netiquette Resources

7 Rules for Online Etiquette

Core Rules of Netiquette

Helping Students Develop Proper Internet Etiquette

Netiquette: Make it Part of Your Syllabus

NOTICE TO STUDENTS USING RESPONDUS LOCKDOWN BROWSER AND MONITOR

If USC Aiken students have issues with Respondus Lockdown Browser please review Respondus Student Resources or contact Respondus Support. Please note that Chromebooks are not supported by Respondus, but you may contact the USCA Help Desk for more information about taking Respondus exams in USC Aiken's 24-hour access computer labs.

Notice to Instructors using Online Proctoring Services Respondus Monitor or ProctorU

The University of South Carolina Aiken now offers two options for proctoring services to improve efforts in student authentication while retaining the same levels of academic integrity of examinations that take place in our classrooms. USC Aiken will continue to utilize the Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor tools built within Blackboard. USC Aiken also has access to the ProctorU proctoring services. ProctorU does have a pricing structure associated with the service and that information will be required in your syllabi and online courses to prepare students for these additional costs. The use of Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor will continue to be free to use for all Blackboard courses.


Use Of Respondus Lockdown Browser And Monitor

Courses that utilize the use of video recording during exams with Respondus Monitor will now be free for students to use for unlimited exams in all courses for 2020-2021 academic year. Students must acquire a webcam and laptop for courses that use Respondus Monitor for examinations.

Is Respondus LockDown Browser Software required?

Yes. Respondus Monitor is a "companion product" for Respondus LockDown Browser and cannot be used without the LockDown Browser. Students must download the Respondus Lockdown Browser to access associated exams.

How do Students Download the Respondus LockDown Browser Software?

SYLLABUS VERBIAGE: Please utilize the information below to add to your syllabus or course information.

In order to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, you will need a high-speed internet connection, a webcam (internal or external), a Windows or Apple Operating System, and a photo ID. You will be required to download the Respondus Lockdown Browser to access and take associated exams. The webcam can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of LockDown Browser and the webcam feature. A student Quick Start Guide is also available.

First, download and install UofSC Aiken’s Respondus LockDown Browser for PC or Mac here.

What do Students Need to Know Before Taking an Exam with Respondus?

When taking an online exam that requires LockDown Browser and a webcam, remember the following guidelines:

  • Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted.
  • Turn off all other devices (e.g. tablets, phones, second computers) and place them outside of your reach.
  • Clear your desk of all external materials not permitted — books, papers, other devices.
  • Before starting the text, know how much time is available for it, and that you’ve allotted sufficient time to complete it.
  • Remain at your computer for the duration of the test.
  • If the computer or networking environment is different than what was used previously with the Webcam Check and System & Network Check in LockDown Browser, run the checks again prior to starting the test.
  • To produce a good webcam video, do the following;
    • Avoid wearing baseball caps or hats with brims.
    • Ensure your computer or tablet is on a firm surface (a desk or table). Do NOT have the computer on your lap, a bed or other surface where the device (or you) are likely to move.
    • If using a built-in webcam, avoid tilting the screen after the webcam setup is complete.
    • Take the exam in a well-lit room and avoid backlighting, such as sitting with your back to a window.
  • Remember that LockDown Browser will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications; you will be unable to exit the test until all questions are completed and submitted.

To ensure LockDown Browser and the webcam are set up properly, do the following:

  • Open the Respondus LockDown Browser icon on your desktop, log into Blackboard, and select your course.
  • Locate and select the Help Center button on the LockDown Browser toolbar. 
  • Run the Webcam Check and, if necessary, resolve any issues.
  • Run the System & Network Check. If a problem is indicated, see if a solution is provided in the Knowledge Base. Troubleshooting information can also be emailed to our institution's help desk. 
  • Exit the Help Center and locate the exam. 
  • Upon completing and submitting the exam, exit LockDown Browser. 

Student Purchase of ProctorU Proctoring

The use of ProctorU proctoring services is only recommended for no more than 2 exams per course (e.g. mid-term and/or final exams) because the cost is per individual exam. The following are the listed options so please choose the most cost-effective for your proctoring needs:

Auto (recommended)

Description: Fully-automated exam proctoring with all activity recorded end-to-end. Videos and incidents are immediately available for USC faculty review. Cost: $3 per exam.

Auto with Review (recommended)

Description: Fully-automated exam proctoring with all activity recorded end-to-end. Exams are reviewed by ProctorU, and a report is sent to instructors within 24 hours if there are academic integrity incidents. Cost: $4 for a 1-hour exam, $6 for 2 hours, $8 for 3 hours, $10 for 4 hours.

Live Launch with Review

Description: Exams are launched by a live proctor for authentication purposes, but the proctor drops once the exam begins. All activity is recorded from start to finish. Exam videos are reviewed by a ProctorU proctor, and a report is sent to instructors within 24 hours if there are any academic integrity incidents. Cost: $8 for a 1-hour exam, $10 for 2 hours, $12 for 3 hours, $14 for 4 hours.


Instructor Support for ProctorU

ProctorU supports their own product, and the Office of Distance Learning can provide some limited administrative support. If there are instructors who would like to use ProctorU, they can create an account here. Once they create an account, a faculty rep will reach out within an hour to schedule a 15-minute training session and help them input their first exam. If instructors need additional support, reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 855-772-8678.

ProctorU does have the ability to integrate with Pearson, and they have created an informational website about it here. It is only for their automated service line and costs $12 per student per course for unlimited use. This would require an agreement and work order to be signed with the instructor. For more information, please contact USC Aiken Office of Distance Learning.


ProctorU Resources

ProctorU Sample Syllabus Verbiage

ProctorU Student Guide

Quality Assurance Rubrics for Online Course Development

You may download a single copy of the Quality Matters Rubric (5th edition). The download is ONLY intended for single use!  Do NOT duplicate and distribute without written permission from Quality Matters.

You may reference a copy of the Quality Matters Rubric, 5th edition found on the web (do not distribute). 

Another useful resource for understanding the Quality Matters Rubric can be found on a Wiki created to use as a standards checklist.  

Other quality assurance rubrics may prove to be helpful in your journey are as follows:

Accessibility in Online Courses

The University of South Carolina is partnering with Blackboard to build more inclusive learning environments through the integration of Blackboard Ally, an innovative new tool that makes online course content more accessible for all learners. Accessibility is vital to USC Aiken’s strategic plan to promote quality educational experiences and we should be dedicated to creating a culture of inclusion for all students and not just meet the needs of those with disabilities. The Ally tool in Blackboard now helps to visualize this strategy as a tool that can automatically scan uploaded files (documents, slides, and images) to provide instructors with accessibility “scores” for each file. Ally also provides detailed feedback on accessibility issues, why they matter, and how to fix them. Green is the goal! Ally also offers students new alternatives to download content, includingSemantic HTML, Tagged PDF, Audio, ePub, and electronic Braille. Students now have several choices to engage with course content that best suits their individual learning preferences. On a larger scale, accommodating online courses for accessibility does help meet accreditation standards and can improve both retention and graduation rates.

What Does This Accessibility Tool Do?

  • Provides an accessibility “score” seen only by instructors for all files (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, images, etc…) in Blackboard (scores are not visible to students).

  • Provides helpful information on revising accessibility issues.

  • Allows students to download alternative formats of files including; Tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, Electronic Braille, Audio Versions.

Instructor View of Accessibility Icons in Blackboard

 Ally Instructor FeedbackIcons 0

This accessibility tool is not meant to penalize content within Blackboard but should be used to identify flagged accessibility issues associated within Blackboard courses and guide educators to creating more inclusive content. A goal for the Office of Distance Learning is to provide a plan for collaborative support for faculty and staff in meeting goals for quality, accessibility, and inclusiveness for all online courses offered at USC Aiken.

With this tool, we have the opportunity to make our online campus more accessible to help not only those with documented disabilities but all learners, including those with undiagnosed disabilities and ESL learners struggling to keep up with their coursework. We encourage all instructors to evaluate their own course content and take the first steps to improve accessibility with the help of Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker. If you need additional resources or support or if you would like to schedule a consult with an expert, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Accessibility Support USC Aiken

The Office of Distance Learning is committed to supporting online learning and once the icons appear in Blackboard we can start to help. We are planning tier 1 and tier 2 support for every school and college at the university. Tier 1 support is dependent on you utilizing resources provided by Blackboard and USC Aiken to help you understand accessibility issues and learning how to resolve those issues. Tier 2 support is for faculty who need additional help via workshops or scheduling individual consults with an instructional designer. Our goal is to be proactive in addressing accessibility and work with departments to improve the accessibility of our online presence.

Tier 1

Addressing accessibility in common files like documents, slides, and images is not difficult to achieve. In fact, some documents can be revised in only a few minutes. Common issues have to do with formatting headers, tables, slide titles, and the use of tables. Please review the information regarding Ally and associated resources that guide users on locating and addressing accessibility issues.

Tutorials and Resources

Microsoft Office365 applications have an accessibility feature, which can be used to check and improve the accessibility of files before sharing them or uploading them to  Blackboard. Tips on using this feature may be found here: Microsoft Office365 Accessibility Checker. Alternatively, if you create content using Google Drive you may want to consider using the add-on tool Grackle.

Tier 2

The Office of Distance Learning is commented to supporting all faculty and staff to meet accessibility standards. Please utilize the Tier 1 resources or the following support services. If you, or your department, would like to assist in meeting accessibility goals for the university please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Workshops and Consults

  • instructional designers at the Office of Distance Learning

  • workshops sponsored by The Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Disability Services (On Campus Courses)

    • Mandated by Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – Workshop: How should faculty engage students with accessibility needs?

  • IT Accessibility Laws and Policies. Visit Section508.gov maintained by the U.S. General Services Administration. The GSA also has a number of tools and guides that will help you understand conformance to 508 standards.

Yuja Lecture Capture
  • Provides auto-captioning for lecture capture and imported video content.
  • More information on Yuja.

 

For additional questions or support request please contact the Office of Distance Learning via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 803-641-3389.

Introducing Yuja

The Office of Distance Learning is excited to introduce the Yuja Enterprise Video Platform to USC Aiken. Yuja (pronounced ‘You-jah’) is a software tool that includes lecture capture, video management, and video conferencing solutions, along with social and mobile capabilities that impressively expands USC Aiken’s potential to create accessible video content and offer online learners engaging and collaborative experiences that integrate within Blackboard.

What can you use Yuja for?

Yuja will serve as USC Aiken’s primary video lecture capture solution but it also has other features like video conferencing, opportunities for discussion, integrating polls and quizzes into Blackboard, group functionality, analytics, and full mobile functionality. The Yuja tool is available for all USCA faculty, staff, and students who authenticate via Blackboard. If you have previously recorded video content you can import those videos and house them within your Yuja Media Library.

Why should I use Yuja?

Yuja meets ADA compatibility standards for video content. All you need to do is record using Yuja or import other recordings into your media library and request auto captioning. USCA students will also be able to record and share video content and Yuja offers full support via messaging, email, phone, and product documents.

How do I access Yuja?

Yuja is available in all Blackboard courses through the Tools link and is available for instructors and students.

The Office of Distance Learning will be conducting workshops and develop tutorials in the coming semesters to help new Yuja users utilize the tools and functionality now available at USC Aiken.  As this is a new technology, we would welcome consults with any instructors who are motivated to use Yuja for the summer and fall semesters. Yuja also has the ability to add ADA compatibility to previously recorded videos through drag and drop functions and requesting auto captioning. If you would like more information or a consult with an instructional designer on Yuja, please contact the Office of Distance Learning or learn more by clicking the following links.

Yuja Help:https://help.yuja.com/

Accessing Yuja

Login to Blackboard and choose a course you wish to access Yuja.

You can find Yuja through the tools link in the navigation or create your own button or access point using the tool link function in Blackboard.

 

Yuja Access

Support and Documentation

If you need help or are looking for Yuja information, click the noted icons for the support button. This will open a window to contact Yuja support and product documentation. This is your first line of support for Yuja. If you would like a consult, please contact a representative from the Office of Distance Learning for training on lecture capture and functionality.

 Yuja Support

Media Channels

The Yuja home page is your individual media channel. On the left, you can cycle through the USCA public and campus channels. Individual course channels are displayed via courses you have accessed through Yuja. As you can see, you are still in Blackboard so if you need to go back to your course click the home icon in the top left corner.

 Yuja Media Channel 1

 

More info on getting started watching captures and media.

Uploading Media

Users of the YuJa Enterprise Video Platform can upload files to the Media Library using the Upload feature or one-click drag-and-drop uploading.

Yuja Upload Media

 

You can upload a variety of file types, including MP4, MOV, or WMV video files or MP3 audio files, using one-click drag-and-drop technology, or by browsing to the desired file. The Upload interface also supports links, document uploads, and sharing files from Vimeo or YouTube. Uploaded files may be auto-captioned and accessed in the same way as a file created using the YuJa Software Station or YuJa Hardware Hub. For more information, click here.

Lecture Capture

Create Recording provides essential tools to access, install, and manage the YuJa Software Station and the YuJa Hardware Hub. Capture & Live Stream is accessible through the Create Recording option at the top of the screen.

Yuja provides two options for capture via software download or browser capture.

Yuja Capture

 

Download facilitates access to downloads of the YuJa Software Station for Mac or PC. Simply click the Download link and follow all installation prompts to download.

Software Capture facilitates access to and management of installations of the Software Station. Select the Software Capture option, then click Start Capture to open the Software Station. You can find more information about using the capture tools by watching YuJa’s Software Station video tutorials.

There are many more features associated with Yuja but we would like anyone interested to sign into Yuja and explore the tool. The Office of Distance Learning fully supports this tool along with the Yuja help desk so please take advantage of the support available to you at USA Aiken.

For more on managing your recordings, visit the  Yuja knowledgebase.

Additional information: Yuja Help Content or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

lectures and multimedia banner

Alternate Lecture Video Tools and Voice-Over PowerPoints

The Office of Distance Learning partners with the university's Instructional Services team to assist faculty with the development of audio/video lectures and other forms of multimedia. Our team consists of educators who can consult with you regarding instructional and pedagogical strategies for your lectures and other forms of multimedia. Uses our services includes assisting you in ensuring your multimedia is compliant with accessibility (ADA 508) and copyright.

The Office of Distance Learning can assist with training on various software applications (subscribed and free Web 2.0 tools) in creating multimedia and making content accessible.  Instructional Services offers services in studio and video production, sound system setup and maintenance, equipment reservations, laptop/LCD instruction, VHS to DVD/Cassette to CD, LDC install/setup and maintenance, digital media duplication, peer review video taping, and individual consultation.

 

Audio/Video Lecture Recording Option

  • MediaSite (contact the Office of Distance Learning for more information - free/site license)

  • Office Mix [free/site license]

  • TechSmith tools:

    • Jing (5 minutes max) [free]

    • Screencast.com [education price available]

    • Camtasia [education price available]

  • Web 2.0 Tools

  • Image Editors

    • Gimp - GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)

Multimedia Best Practices Resources

 

The Admissions staff at the University of South Carolina Aiken understands that the college selection process can be overwhelming. Our staff is dedicated and prepared to help you with information about the University and our admissions process.

Your enrollment counselor is your personal contact at USC Aiken. If you have a specific question, please feel free to contact him/her.

Find Your Enrollment Counselor

Contact Admissions Staff