UT Dallas eLearning Newsletter
SOM at Night

eLearning Newsletter
Issue # 14, Spring 2012

Helpful Links

UT Dallas eLearning Help Desk

UT Dallas Computing Help Desk

Getting Started With eLearning

eLearning Blog

eLearning Team

UT Dallas Bookstore

Off-Campus Books

Academic Advising

Office of the Registrar

Office of Financial Aid



Send us your feedback


For all of your UT Dallas online learning news and information.

eLearning Team

In case you missed it, the new Learning Management System has been announced.  The current system, Blackboard Vista, known as “eLearning”, will be used through the Fall 2012 semester. Beginning Spring 2013, all courses will be offered on Blackboard Learn (which will also be called “eLearning”). There will be several courses used in a pilot of the new system during the Summer and Fall 2012 semesters, so some students will get a preview. You can expect a more modern look and feel with more functionality. The new system will have a mobile app and the ability to push notifications to SMS, email, and Facebook. You can follow our progress on the migration to the new system on the UT Dallas eLearning Blog: http://utdelearning.wordpress.com/category/lms-transition/.

Last semester I asked a potentially loaded question about the 24/7 eLearning Support Help Desk. I was pleasantly surprised with the results from 180 respondents.

When asked, ”On a 1-10 scale, I would rate my satisfaction with the eLearning Support Help Desk (1 being worst, 10 being best),” you answered:

A couple of observations:

68% (122) out of the 180 respondents haven’t had to contact the Help Desk. This is good, as you taking an online course without needing assistance is the ultimate goal.

If we parse out the 58 respondents who reported using the Help Desk into Good, Average and Poor, your experiences have been favorable.

  • Good (8-10): 67% (39)

  • Average (4-7): 29% (17)

  • Poor (1-3): 3% (2)

We didn’t receive many responses (6) to the question, “Compared to other help desks I have experienced, the eLearning Help Desk is”:

When asked if a short class on how to use eLearning would be beneficial to students, we received a pretty low response rate. 4 out of 6 respondents said a 30 minute training class would be helpful.

Thank you VERY much to the 180 students who took the time to provide us feedback!

This semester’s survey focuses on mobile devices and online coursework. Please take a moment to complete this exceptionally short survey:

Mobile Devices and Online Coursework

Thank you and have a great semester!

-Darren Crone, Ed.D., eLearning Director


Featured Online Student

Saskia Walden

Saskia Walden,

MBA Student

The eLearning Team invites you to meet our students by viewing a different profile each newsletter. This semester's featured student is Saskia Walden.

  • Where do you work?
    Ministry of Finance/Government Accountability Office (Suriname)
  • What is your position?
    Consultant and Auditor
  • How long have you been there?
    I have been here for almost four years.
  • What do you want to do after you finish your degree?
    My short term plans are to provide government ministers, management of government ministries and government owned companies with solutions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of operations.  I also plan to use my skills to stimulate ethical governance and economic decision making; advise management how to improve reliability of financial reporting; and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

    My medium and long-term plans are to help the Government of Suriname to enhance the availability of economic resources and help to ensure an ethical and effective use of government resources to stimulate economic growth in Suriname.  Right now Suriname is a developing country.  My mission is to use my knowledge and skills to increase the standard of living of all Surinamese as much as possible.

    I also plan to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter holder within five years, in order to be fully equipped to achieve my medium and long term plans.  So far, I have passed the CFA level 1 exams, passed all four sections of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exams, and passed the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exams.  I have also improved my skills of financial software and have successfully completed the Bloomberg Product Certification for both Fixed Income and Equity.

  • How many online courses have you taken?
    I have completed 47 credit hours (19 courses) and have just 6 credit hours (2 courses) remaining towards completing the MBA degree.
  • Why did you decide to take online courses?
    The MBA online program is a great opportunity to gain graduate education while I live in my home country (Suriname, South America).  The flexibility and delivery mode of online courses allow me to retain my job and responsibilities in Suriname.  Another reason why the online courses are a great choice for me is that I have the opportunity to implement my acquired skills on the job, both while I am still enrolled in the MBA-program and also after I have graduated.
  • How is the online experience different from the traditional classroom?
    The flexibility and delivery mode of the online program allow me to retain my job and responsibilities in Suriname and be with my family, while I enjoy graduate education from UTD, a prestigious university in the USA.  I could choose my own study time, which was as much time as I had available, usually at nights or early mornings (any time between 8.00 PM and 6.00 AM).

    A traditional classroom requires class attendance at fixed times. In my situation, a traditional classroom would require a "migration" to the USA, possibly without my entire family, limited work opportunity and additional financial constraints. The best option therefore was an online course.

  • What makes an online course effective?
    Several factors influence the effectiveness of online courses, such as:

    • The availability of downloadable lectures (audio, video, power point) which cover all learning objectives. One professor provided the complete script of the audio lectures (attached as a MS word document). This is very useful, especially if the lecturer has a non-USA (foreign) accent.
    • Self test quizzes (with answers explained).
    • Discussion boards, chat rooms, and e-mail for optional additional interaction with professors and fellow students.
    • A comprehensive course syllabus including academic calendar.
    • eLearning online calendar and reminders of deadlines.
    • An online library with all popular professional magazines and sufficient downloadable research material.
    All other online facilities that UTD provides.
  • Who was your favorite professor and why?
    Most of my professors fit in the category “favorite”.  All professors who: stated the course objectives and requirements unambiguously; provided downloadable information which covered these objectives sufficiently; responded promptly to my queries; and were fair in their grading system and scale, are my “favorites”.
  • Is there any advice you can give to other online students?
    I would like to advise other online students to use all the online facilities at UTD, such as: the online library, online lectures, discussion boards, and self test quizzes.

    Even so, try to use your newly acquired knowledge and skills as much as possible on the job or in your own environment.  It helps you to retain the information better, especially if you do not live in the USA. Practice makes perfect!

    Online students should be self-disciplined and manage their time wisely.  Never miss a deadline or a group appointment (without proper notice). Be the early bird! Always expect something to interrupt your schedule.  Try to be ahead of the academic calendar, especially if you work full-time and have a family to take care of. Throughout this hectic journey of work, study, and caring for your family, remember to build in sufficient time to relax and to nurture your spiritual life.

If you would like to be featured in the eLearning Newsletter, email us!


Jindal School of Management

Academic Advising

Graduate Academic Advising: Advisor Update
The graduate academic advising team has welcomed additional staff members to meet the needs of the growing graduate student population in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. You are assigned an academic advisor according to your last name. Please see below for the most up to date advisor contact information:

Advising Contacts

A-C Jana Leeper
[email protected]

D-Hs Daniel Goines
[email protected]

Ht-Lia Lynn Hankins
[email protected]

Ljb-Pa Michelle Swensen
[email protected]

Pb-S Lori Skillestad
[email protected]

T-X Kelly Botel
[email protected]

Y-Z Anne Barnes
[email protected]


Nominate a Jindal School of Management online instructor for a teaching award


Online MBA Program

Announcement for new fall online course.

BPS 6311 Strategy Implementation will be offered online in the fall of 2012. BPS 6311 is a follow-on course to BPS 6310 and focuses on how to effectively implement the concepts learned in BPS 6310. The main objective is to use innovation techniques to analyze and solve business problems. The course will use the popular and low cost Harvard Press book “The Innovator’s Solution” by Clayton Christensen plus a reprint of two innovation chapters from the Dess strategy textbook.

The course will be taught by Professor Larry Chasteen. Professor Chasteen was a program manager at Texas Instruments for 20 years before becoming a professor at UT Dallas and uses this practical business experience in this course. He also taught as a Fulbright Professor in Germany so he brings international issues into the course. He is now the director of the UT Dallas Online MBA Program.

For more information, contact Professor Chasteen at [email protected]. Hope to see some of you in the course.

Announcement about International Study Trips

Online MBA students can use International Study Trips as an elective for this program. UT Dallas offers 3 trips each year which occur during the spring break week, the week after the spring semester ends, and the week before the fall semester begins. The August 2012 trip is to Peru - Doing Business in South America - details are shown below.

For additional information click here: Foreign Study Trips.

August 2012
Led by Dr. Kaplan
Approximate Cost $2,600
Scholarships Available

Peru Trip

Contact: Dr. Kaplan; Dr. Woldu; or AK Sharif

Larry Chasteen, [email protected], Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the UT Dallas Online MBA Program


School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Meet Our Faculty

Elmer Polk

O. Elmer Polk, Ph.D.

School of Economics, Political and Policy Sciences , Criminology Program

O. Elmer Polk has been actively involved in the study, practice, research and teaching of criminal justice since 1969. Prior to coming to The University of Texas at Dallas as a Clinical Professor three years ago, Dr. Polk held faculty appointments at The University of Texas at Arlington, Coppin State University in Baltimore, and Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. He also served as Visiting Professor with The University of North Texas. His specialty areas include juvenile justice systems, criminal justice career paths, community and institutional corrections, violent crime, and criminological theory. He completed his B.A. in Criminal Justice at the University of South Florida, his M.S. in Criminal Justice at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Prior to entering academe, Dr. Polk served for seventeen years in numerous staff, supervisory, administrative and research capacities in adult and juvenile corrections in Florida and Texas. He wrote and administered a grant establishing community reintegration programming for the Navajo Tribe and served as Director of a residential halfway house for Native American youth on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. He was one of the pioneers of intensive probation supervision in Florida’s Community Control Program and in the Bexar County, Texas Juvenile ISP Project. He has served on Boards of Directors and Citizen’s Advisory Boards, received several teaching awards, published one coauthored book on juvenile justice, and has written several articles in his specialty areas. He has received U.S. Department of Justice funding to study various aspects of violent and gang-related crime in the Northern District of Texas and has written a variety of book reviews, instructor’s manuals, and technical reports. Dr. Polk is an advocate of online education and has taught online and distance education courses for over a decade. He helped develop an undergraduate degree completion program in criminology and criminal justice through UT Telecampus and commencing fall 2012, he will be actively involved in teaching online graduate criminology classes in the UTD Criminology Program’s new Online Master’s Degree detailed below.

Online Master of Science in Criminology

The fully accredited online Master of Science (MS) in Criminology has been developed with working professionals in mind. The degree offers students the convenience of completing course work on their own schedules. The online degree parallels UTD's traditional M.S., but without the requirement that students attend on campus. For students who can take up to four classes per semester, the degree can be completed in as little as one year. The Online Master’s Degree curriculum consists of 30 hours of coursework with an additional 6 hours of graduate electives or an independent study project. This degree plan is one of the most innovative in the United States and permits students completing the program to transfer many of the courses to the traditional doctoral degree plan if the student desires. It is particularly helpful to working criminal justice personnel who are unable to make it to a traditional campus due to geographic assignment location or rotating shifts. Details about the online degree course requirements can be viewed at http://www.utdallas.edu/epps/criminology/degrees.html. The Online MS officially launches in fall 2012. Students wishing further information may contact the Program Director, John Worrall, for additional details. He can be reached at [email protected] or (972)883-4893.


Newsletter edited by Rita Cubie, Administrative Assistant, UT Dallas eLearning Team