Instructional Support and Research Support Monthly Updates

Summer Accessibility Program

The UT System recently adopted an Accessibility Policy that reiterates Summer Accessibility Program its commitment to providing and supporting a teaching and learning environment that is accessible to all. 

  • Get ahead of the curve!
  • Ensure your instruction and course materials are accessible for all students!
  • Learn more about accessibility from the students’ perspective! 

Join us for the Summer Accessibility Program, a hands-on workshop for instructional faculty. Over the course of 12 hours (3 half-days), you will engage with students, collaborate with accessibility experts, and learn more about tools/methods used to convert course materials to meet accessibility standards.

Dates: EITHER June 6, 7, 8 OR June 14, 15, 16
Time: 8:30a.m. – 12:30p.m.
Location: 406 Greve Hall


Day 1:
  • Understand the end-user experience
  • Hear from students with disabilities and the Office of Disability Services staff
  • Experience tools that will help you determine if materials are accessible
Day 2:
  • Learn how to create accessible documents: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDFs
  • Get hands-on time to make your course syllabus accessible 
Day 3:
  • Create accessible course assignments
  • Create a course introduction video, including captioning
  • Wrap up

Sessions will be facilitated by staff from ODS (Office of Disability Services), OIT, TennTLC (Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center), and Online Programs. 
You will receive Adobe Acrobat Pro (1 year subscription) or equivalent assistance to help you create accessible course materials.
You must register to reserve a spot as there is limited seating. 
For questions, contact either Jennifer Gramling at or Jean Derco at
For more information about accessibility, go to UT's Accessible Information, Materials & Technology website.

Kivuto WebStore for Office and Windows

Kivuto and MicrosoftOIT is happy to announce that Microsoft has partnered with the Kivuto WebStore to provide faculty and staff the ability to purchase Windows Operating Systems and the Microsoft Office Suite for personally owned computers at a significant discount. 
Microsoft Office is available for both the Windows and OS X platforms. This purchase is a single-use license and is separate from your Office 365 Pro Plus download. Software purchased through the Kivuto WebStore may be used for the duration of your employment.
Additional information about this initiative is available on the OIT website.  Visit the OIT Knowledge Base to see all your options for Windows Operating Systems and Microsoft Office.

Faculty FirstCongratulations to
2016 OIT Faculty First Grant Recipients

Dr. Reza Seddighi and Dr. Tom Doherty, both from the department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, will partner with OIT to create an instructional video on veterinary anesthesiology.

They plan to produce a video that demonstrates close-up views of different phases of anesthetizing an animal, such as a physical exam, catheter placement, injection of drugs, and monitoring. The faculty members hope that the video demonstrations will have a significant effect on students’ learning experience in veterinary anesthesiology and will elevate the quality of teaching in several veterinary courses.
This OIT-sponsored grant program supports UTK faculty in developing courses that use technology in their teaching. For more information, visit the Faculty First website.

Spring GTA@OIT Grant Recipients

Each fall and spring semester, OIT selects GTAs with sole responsibility for teaching a course to expand their teaching practice by redesigning a course or course component for web-based delivery in Online@UT (Blackboard Learn), our current learning management system. Our spring GTA@OIT recipients and their proposal topics are listed below. For more information on the grant, visit the GTA@OIT site.
Elizabeth Fles, Psychology
"Teach Me How to Study:  Exploring How the Integration of Interactive Lectures Can Enhance Student Learning Outcomes"
Katherine Gomez, Political Science
"Creating a Discussion-based Online Public Policy Course"

TurningPoint 5 Continues through Summer

UTK will continue with TurningPoint 5 and ResponseWare integrated with Blackboard as is for classes offered in summer 2016. Turning Technologies and OIT are providing on-campus and online training for TurningPoint Cloud (6) beginning April 26 through fall 2016 for instructors teaching in fall and spring. All classes using clickers must use TurningPoint Cloud (6) beginning in fall 2016. 
Please visit our Personal Response Systems website for more information on the TurningPoint Cloud (6) training and upgrade options impacting UTK. Visit the links below for additional information on online or face-to-face training. If you'd like departmental online training, contact Julia Howard at or call 330-531-7731.

Tips for White Space and Images in Accessible Digital Documents

When creating a digital document for people to read, avoid using repeated blank characters to create white space.

Create White Space Without Extra Tags

Extra spaces, tabs, and empty paragraphs may be perceived as blanks by people using screen reading devices. After hearing “blank” several times, those users may think that they have reached the end of the information. Instead, use formatting, indenting, and styles to create white space. 
To use formatting to add white space around a paragraph, do the following:
  1. Remove any existing white space around the paragraph.
  2. Select the text, then right-click and choose Paragraph.
  3. Select values for Indentation and Spacing to create white space.

Avoid Using Floating Objects

Objects, such as images, that are not in line with text are challenging to navigate, and they may be inaccessible to users with vision impairment. Setting text-wrapping around objects to Top and Bottom or In Line With Text makes it easier for people with screen readers to follow the structure of your document. Remember to always add Alt-Text to any image.
To change the text-wrapping around objects, do the following:
  1. Select the object, and right-click.
  2. Choose Wrap Text, and then select either In Line With Text or Top and Bottom from the list.

Managing Research Project Files with Version Control Software

folderLarge projects, such as dissertations, laboratory research, or application programming often generate many files. In order to keep track of revisions and updates to these files, one should create, store, organize, modify, and retrieve files in a way that avoids loss of data and makes best use of the available information. 
A solution to these challenges is a version control system such as CVS, Subversion, or Git. A version control system can store all files in a single location, track file changes, and resolve editing conflicts. This allows users to keep track of changes they or their collaborators have made to files. More information on these types of systems is available on Wikipedia.

OIT supports software that offers version control for documents. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft SharePoint all offer ways to keep track of documents and files through these version control tools. To learn more about these programs, sign up for one of our workshops.

Featured Software: SAS 9.4 TS1M3 is Supported in Windows 10

SASSAS is a popular software package for data management, statistical analysis, and data visualization. The new release of SAS 9.4 fully uses multicore technologies to deliver increased processing capabilities through high-performance, in-database, and in-memory analytics resulting in greater insights from big data. The latest maintenance release of SAS 9.4, SAS 9.4 TS1M3 (9.4M3), delivers the 14.1 releases of the SAS analytical products, including rich new features and enhancements, and also includes several enhancements to deployment including faster install times and less manual configuration. For more information about the features of SAS 9.4, read the articles on What’s New in SAS 9.4. SAS 9.4 TS1M3 and higher is supported in Windows 10. Supported browsers include Internet Explorer 11, Chrome, and Firefox. The Microsoft Edge browser is not supported at this time.
A single-user license for academic use is available for no additional charge to students, faculty, and staff. SAS licenses are available for all University of Tennessee campuses and can be installed on personally-owned and UT-owned computers. The program can be downloaded from the OIT software distribution page.  A SAS license for campus administrative use may be purchased through the OIT business office via e-mail to Patricia Broughton at     

OIT highlightsWant to Use iPads in Your Classroom?

Interested in creating a Khan Academy-style lecture? Want to be able to record as you show students how to edit their work, solve a math problem, or illustrate a diagram? An easy way to do this is by using iPads in your classroom. OIT can help!

OIT Offers:

  • iPad Loan Program
  • Portable iPad Document Cameras
  • Swivls to record lectures
  • Training on how to use iPads in the classroom 

iPad Loan Program: You can borrow iPads for up to four weeks during spring and fall semesters or up to five weeks during summer. Check one out for yourself or up to 20 iPads for you and your class. Find additional details about the program or begin the checkout process by visiting our website.
iPad StandsPortable iPad Document Cameras: If you want to record a demonstration for your students to use later, you can check out one of the portable iPad document cameras.
Swivl: Use this device to record your lecture in a more natural, free-moving style. Mount the iPad onto the robotic device and use a remote control to direct attention to you, the board, or your class.
Training: Finally, take one of our workshops in the fall on how to use the iPad in the classroom. Dates will be posted soon, or you can request a one-on-one consultation.
All of these devices are available from OIT for checkout. Please contact the OIT HelpDesk either by phone at 865-974-9900 or online for more information or to request a consultation.

March 2016 Uptime:
Blackboard Learn 98.5%
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