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OIT News Monthly Update from Instructional and Research Support
March 2017

Faculty First 2017 Grant Recipients

Three faculty members have been awarded grants and will partner with OIT through the Faculty First Program to develop engaging and accessible course materials.

Recipients and their topics are:
Karen Tobias

Karen Tobias

Multimedia for Instruction in the Principles and Practices of Surgery

Tobias, Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, plans to develop an integrated, interactive online manual that uses multimedia to describe and illustrate basic surgery skills.
Suzy Prentiss

Suzy Prentiss

Redesigning the Speech Anxious Website

Prentiss, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication Studies, wishes to engage students in more meaningful ways on her website for her Communication Studies 240, Business and Professional Communication course. She plans on making the site more interactive and engaging.
Sally Harris

Sally Harris

Making Online Lectures Accessible and Student Focused

Harris, Distinguished Lecturer, Department of English, proposes a redesign of online lectures for a high-demand course: English 295, Writing in the Workplace.

OIT Faculty Fellow CFP:
Collaborate with Our Team

Deadline to apply is May 1, 2017

Lisa Yamagata-LynchRobert SpirkoThe OIT Faculty Fellow Program assists in advancing exemplary teaching and enriching the experience of students by implementing projects that enhance their department's use of instructional technologies. Faculty Fellows also promote the services available through OIT. Fellows are appointed each academic year pending budget approval. For more information, see the Faculty Fellow Responsibilities and Application Process on the OIT website.

The current Faculty Fellows are Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology & Counseling Department and Robert Spirko, Senior Lecturer in the Department of English. During their time as Faculty Fellows, they have been involved in several panel discussions on incorporating accessibility into instruction, assignments and the Canvas learning management system.

Discuss Accessibility Tools, Resources, and even the Zombie Apocalypse at ITCoP

When: Wednesday, March 22, 12:20p.m. to 1:10p.m.
Where: Hodges Library Commons Practice Presentation Room 220E

Zombie Attack Survival Kit imageUTK faculty and GTAs are invited to attend the March IT Community of Practice (ITCoP) Brown Bag lecture featuring a demo and discussion on effective tools and resources for creating accessible content. Bring your lunch and a colleague to join in the discussion. Presenters will include Office of Disability Services and OIT staff. For more details, visit the ITCoP website.

During February's lively discussion on multimodal composition, the Zombie Apocolypse was the popular subject among our speakers. Robert Spirko, one of the OIT Faculty Fellows and a Senior Lecturer in English led the discussion; along with Crystal McAlvin, Senior Lecturer in Biology; Sean Morey, Assistant Professor of English; and Jeff Ringer, Assistant Professor of English. McAlvin, Morey, and Ringer shared examples of student course work that featured videos, pamphlets, and cards.

McAlvin and Morey both designed assignments that brought zombies into class. McAlvin encouraged her biology students to explore diseases by creating videos or papers that considered real-life effects of the disease and then express them out as the next zombie-causing illness. Morey's students constructed a campus safety plan, in the event of the zombie apocalypse, encouraging students to consider both the tactile and visual attributes of their printed materials.

Join us in March, you never know what you might learn!

Canvas is Here! Are You Ready?

Canvas logoOIT is offering weekly Virtual Canvas Camps to help you become Canvas Ready before Blackboard retires on May 31, 2017.

Join us via a live Zoom meeting Mon/Wed/Fri from 9a.m.-noon and Tue/Thu from 1p.m.-4p.m.  

Plagiarism Prevention and Detection for Canvas

Canvas and Unplag logosUnplag for Canvas has arrived. Unplag is a plagiarism prevention and detection system which is integrated into Canvas and replaces SafeAssign in Blackboard. It is fully integrated into Canvas and can easily be implemented into your course assignments.

View the Guides:

Be looking for additional training options shortly. You will find that the system is very similar to SafeAssign in Blackboard. To better help you, we are currently moving our SafeAssign repository of submitted papers from Blackboard to our Unplag institutional repository. 

Let us know if you have any difficulties, by contacting the OIT HelpDesk online, or by phone at 865-974-9900.

The Easiest way to Import Data from Statistical Software Packages Into R

R logoIf you have data stored in the standard file formats of SAS, SPSS, or Stata, the best way to import them into R is by using the haven package. To install haven, execute the following R command (just once):


Each time you start R and want to import software, load the package into memory using:


Then you are ready to import the data using one of these commands:

mydata <- read_sas("mydata.sas7bdat")

mydata <- read_spss("mydata.sav")

mydata <- read_stata("mydata.dta")

If your data set is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, you can similarly import the data using the readxl package’s read_excel function.

The open source R software is available as a free download and its popular companion application RStudio is available for free from their website.

OIT’s Research Computing Support group can help you learn to use the haven and read_excel in R. For free assistance, contact the OIT HelpDesk online or by phone at 865-974-9900 or view our schedule and stop by our walk-in area located in 540 Greve Hall.

Big Computer Available for Research

Newton HPCThe OIT Newton HPC Program now has a "monster" computer system available for researchers who need to run large applications. The new system provides up to 1 Terabyte of RAM (high-speed working memory) to scientific applications. This is more than 200 times the RAM available on a typical desktop computer. It allows applications to use larger data structures in a high-speed storage area in order to complete calculations faster and more efficiently. For more information, go to the OIT Newton website.

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