Monthly Archives: June 2010

SPARK Tip: Forwarding SPARK mail to your email

picture-3The Mail tool in SPARK can be a useful tool for managing communications within SPARK, but it has its limitations. It requires users to log in to SPARK to view any new messages. Some people may wish to have messages forwarded out of SPARK to their UMail. 

Note: SPARK Mail will only forward messages to your UMail account. In order to reply to any of these forwarded messages you’ll have to log in to SPARK and access the Mail tool.

To forward messages to your email from the SPARK Mail Tool:

1) Log in to SPARK  (https://spark.oit.umass.edu/)

2) On the My Blackboard page, click the “My Settings” link (top right corner).

3) On the My Settings screen, click the “My Tool Options” link.

4) Under the heading for Mail, check the box for “Forward all mail messages to the e-mail address in my profile” and click the “Save” button (at bottom).

Things I wish someone told me when I started Grad School

As graduate students, some of our responsibilities include either being Teaching assistants or teaching our own stand-alone course. Sadly, this leaves us more often than not in a “sink or swim” situation regarding instructional technology. We are often told to “go do” and often not given much guidance or support in the practical instruction portion of our responsibilities.

I wish I had known about all the resources instructional technology on campus when I started teaching as a graduate student . However, I had to learn about this stuff the hard way. I hope I can help others avoid this situation.

A few things that Graduate Students (and all instructors, of course) should know:

1. Academic Computing offers workshops at the beginning of the year to help you learn all of the quirky little aspects of SPARK that aren’t quite as intuitive as you might think. Remember – if you are a TA you will want to check with your advisor first to find out exactly what your responsibilities are, so you can come to the workshops with a goal – there are a LOT of things to do in SPARK and its not possible to learn all of them in a few hours.

2. In addition to SPARK, Academic Computing also offers workshops on a myriad of other topics relevant to your instructional needs. From Powerpoint, to Screencasting , to digital asset management (and lots of stuff in between), they offer workshops year-round to help with instructional technology. They’re all free (and sometimes we have pie!).

3. If you can’t make it to a workshop, or if you have specific questions, you can call the Instructional Media Lab at 545-2823 (or email instruct@oit.umass.edu) and talk with one of the consultants or make an appointment. We are open five days a week, 10am to 4pm. If you need help with your instructional projects, we can help you.

4. When I mean we can help you, I mean we will teach you how to accomplish your tasks, AND we will provide the space to do this. For example, we have scanners to create PDF documents for class distribution, video equipment for digitizing recordings or making clips for class presentations, and a number of workstations you can use to help put all these materials together.

So if you’re feeling a little lost, or just need access to technology and expertise for a few questions, please give us a call or set up an appointment by phone, email (or instant messenger).