Three University of Central Florida employee teams were honored recently for their creativity and ability to save taxpayers’ money.

The employees received the Prudential Productivity Awards at a luncheon Thursday organized by Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan and nonprofit government watchdog.

The teams were the creators of the Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool, a program that suggests changes to online classes to make them accessible for students with disabilities; two designers who developed a course for faculty on how to create, manage and teach online classes; and two employees who made Quiz Extensions, a computer program that helps professors efficiently provide qualified disabled students extended time on their quizzes and tests

The awards went to:

  • For UDOIT, Jacob Bates, Karen Tinsley-Kim, John Raible, Nancy Swenson, Eric Colon, Fenel Joseph and Emily Sachs, whose program helps students who are deaf, blind, have limited mobility, or have other disabilities.
  • UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning, which assists faculty teaching online classes, and its UDOIT group worked with professors who suggested changes to improve online classes for students with disabilities. UDOIT’s program has saved faculty hours of work.

    Previously “I would spend two, three, maybe more hours evaluating one course,” Tinsley-Kim said. “Now, I can go start to finish within an hour.”

  • Kathleen Bastedo and Sue Bauer, two instructional designers, created the new IDL6543 course that updates the university’s original course to instruct faculty how to create, manage and teach online classes. The original course was from when UCF started offering online courses about 20 years ago.
  • “It was not keeping in contact with graduates of the course and providing them with current information,” Bastedo said.

  • Quiz Extensions, created by Matthew Emond, an assistant web application developer, and John Raible, an associate instructional designer, in the Center for Distributed Learning. Their computer program helps professors more efficiently provide qualified students extended time on their quizzes and tests.
  • About 3 percent of UCF’s 64,000 students qualify for extra time under the American with Disabilities Act.

    “Saving the faculty time on administrative tasks allows them to engage more with students and work on the teaching and learning process rather than worrying about logistics,” Raible said.