Monthly Archives: August 2010

Start of Semester Tip: When can students access SPARK?


Your students will have access to your Fall 2010 SPARK on Monday September 6th(12:01 AM to be exact.)

If you have requested and received a SPARK course, but not yet opened it up and begun building it, your students will see that course listed as when the log into SPARK, but receive a “Course not yet available message” if they try to access it.

Remember that you can hide items in your SPARK course to control access to areas of your SPARK course that may still be under construction at the start of the semester.

Start of Semester Tip: Getting TAs into SPARK


As the beginning of the semester approaches and faculty continue to prepare for teaching, Teaching Assistants are also being assigned. Academic Computing would like to remind you of the necessary steps for giving TAs access to your SPARK course:

For Graduate TAs:

If your TA cannot access your SPARK course, confirm with the Academic Scheduling Representative in your department that the TA is listed in SPIRE as a:

  • Teaching Assistant – if your class is a lecture or seminar with no discussion sections/labs.
  • Primary Instructor – if your TA is in charge of a separate discussion/lab.

For Undergraduate TAs:

Undergraduate TAs and some ‘unofficial TAs’, undergraduate and graduate students who assist with limited course activities (e.g., grading), receive access to SPARK only after they are listed as Student Assistants (SPARK-Only) in SPIRE.

Together with your TA, fill out and sign the SPARK FERPA Acknowledgment Form (, pdf 34k). File a form for each TA with the Academic Scheduling Representative in your department.

Activating TA access to specific SPARK tools

For both Undergraduate and Graduate TAs, once SPARK is updated with the latest information from SPIRE, your TA will have access to the Teach and  Student View tabs. Use the Teaching Assistant Settings Administration area in SPARK to select the teaching tools your TA will have access to.  For information on TA settings please visit:

Giving TAs access to the Build tab in SPARK

If you want your TAs to be able to upload files and change course content, they will need to have access to the Build tab. To grant them access to the Build tab, you will need to submit an online Special Accounts request form and request that your TAs be granted “Section Designer” access:

If you have any questions please call the Instructional Media Lab at 413-545-2823

Start of Semester Tip: Request SPARK courses through SPIRE

In SPIRE, find the SPARK Course Request Form in the left Menu, under Faculty Home > SPARK Course Request. If you have already requested your SPARK course for Fall 2010, you may check the status of your request in SPIRE.

For more information about requesting a SPARK course in SPIRE please see:

Courses are normally created within 3 business days. You will receive a confirmation email once the course is ready. Please note that you can only request a course if you are listed as the primary instructor in SPIRE.

If you would like to reuse SPARK content from a previous semester, refer to the instructions at:

Questions? Contact the Instructional Media Lab at 545-2823 |