The Center for Distance Education

at The University of Texas at Arlington was founded in 1997 with a staff of three half-time employees and has since grown to meet the increasing demand for online courses. The center now hosts a staff of ten full-time employees providing a full range of services to support both faculty teaching and students enrolled in online courses.


The Center for Distance Education (CDE) at The University of Texas at Arlington enables the delivery of quality instruction online. The center supports both students and faculty in the use of emerging digital learning technologies and collaboration methods, and provides faculty support for making practical and effective use of digital learning technologies. This support includes assistance in designing, developing, implementing, training, and evaluating effective instructional and learning technologies that will improve learning outcomes in technologically enhanced traditional and nontraditional learning environments.


  • Innovativeness
  • Accountability
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Accomplishment


The center aspires to be a nationally/internationally recognized leader of quality online education degrees grounded in sound pedagogy, centered on service to students and faculty, committed to building effective online learning communities, and delivered through leading edge technology. CDE will partner with faculty seeking excellence in their teaching online and hybrid courses through assessment and national standards for academic quality online; be a resource to faculty and program administrators driving the use of learning analytics, including student learning outcomes; encourage nationally/internationally recognized quality in digital student services; and serve as a catalyst to transitioning traditional campus services to the online student.


  • Implement and support Bb Analytics to support academic decision making, teaching, and learning
  • Implement Bb Outcomes in support of core curriculum evaluation and reporting efforts
  • Promote and facilitate a faculty-driven Quality Matters course review and accreditation process
  • Promote and facilitate traditional campus services in the online campus


Today UT Arlington has more than 1,600 online course sections with more than 13,000 students fully online and more than 8,000 additional students taking at least one online course during the academic year.
See Also: Online Education Growth Charts

Enrollment in Online Courses Only

In Academic Year 2012–2013, students were predominantly drawn to online programs offered by the College of Nursing and the College of Education and Health Professions. The RN-to-BSN degree, along with various graduate degree programs in Nursing and Education, attracted students who are driving online education. UT Arlington’s online programs attracted adult students ages 29 to 55 looking to advance their careers through an advanced degree earned with the flexibility an online course provides. The Nursing and Education degrees attracted a wide range of student ethnicities and had a notable female representation.
See Also: Online Education Growth Charts

Enrollment in Only Online Courses 2012–2013

Courses and Degrees Offered

UT Arlington is committed to ensuring that undergraduate students take a common core of courses during their tenure at the University. These “core courses” are central to any career they might choose, providing basic skills, perspectives, and knowledge, and are required to satisfy any undergraduate degree the University offers. All of UT Arlington’s core courses are available online.

Core Curriculum Online
6 Hours of English ENGL 1301, ENGL 1302
3 Hours of Literature ENGL 2309, ENGL 2319, ENGL 2329
3 Hours of Liberal Arts Elective CRCJ 2334, CTEC 2300, GERM 2313, GERM 2314, SPAN 2313, SPAN 2314
6 Hours of US History HIST 1311, HIST 1312
6 Hours of Political Science POLS 2311, POLS 2312
6 Hours of Mathematics MATH 1302, MATH 1308
8 Hours of Lab Science ASTR 1445, ASTR1446, BIOL 1433, BIOL 1434, GEOL 1425, GEOL 1426
3 Hours of Social/Cultural Studies ECON 2305
3 Hours of Fine Arts No courses currently available


Additionally, UT Arlington offers a wide range of individual online classes and fully-online degrees.

Online Courses and Degrees
The Bachelor’s Completion Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN)
Professional Nursing Pathways Program
Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MSN)
Master of Science in Nursing Education
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Literacy Studies
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Mathematics Education
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Science Education
Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
Superintendent Certificate
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
University Studies

USDLA Awards

In April 2013, the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) honored two University of Texas at Arlington professors for their efforts to promote the development and application of online education.

Dr. Peggy Semingson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education and Health Professions, received the organization’s Platinum level Best Practices Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching.

Dr. Samuel H. “Pete” Smith, vice provost for digital teaching and learning, received the Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning Award.

The USDLA has previously recognized UT Arlington for its online education efforts, but this is the first time the University has received platinum level, the organization’s highest honor.

Dr. Peggy Semingson

Dr. Peggy Semingson

Dr. Peggy Semingson joined UT Arlington in 2008. Her research focuses on digital pedagogies as well as students who face challenges in literacy learning. Dr. Semingson uses extensive videoconference and digital mentoring tools to offer highly personalized, one-on-one learning for graduate students in complete online settings. Additionally, she conducts bi-weekly webinars with undergraduate teacher candidates in an online venue.

Dr. Pete Smith

Dr. Pete Smith

Dr. Pete Smith joined UT Arlington in 1992 as director of the Language Acquisition Center in the Department of Modern Languages, and as a specialist in Russian. He went on to found UT Arlington’s Center for Distance Education, which opened in 1997. Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, the center has grown to offer innovative programs such as the Finish@UT degree, which helps adults complete their undergraduate degrees.


CDE provides centralized management and oversight of the University’s online education offerings. In coordination with many other campus offices, we help ensure course quality and the best possible online learning experience at UT Arlington. To that end, we have teams of highly trained instructional designers, professional development staff, and instructional technology specialists to support faculty and students in their online and hybrid classes.


Instructional Design

Instructional designers provide in-depth consultations as instructors plan their online and hybrid classes, choose appropriate technologies, and consider the pedagogical and logistical implications of using the Web and Blackboard for teaching.


Professional Development

Professional development staff guide faculty in using the myriad of tools available to them in the online classroom. The training team supports faculty and staff with training on how to teach online using Blackboard Learn and many other tools.


Blackboard Support

Instructional technology specialists troubleshoot technical problems that faculty and students may encounter within their online courses and help with how-to questions. The support team administers Blackboard.

Instructional Design

Instructional designers apply theory, research, creativity, and problem-solving skills to a variety of technology applications to enhance the online teaching and learning process and to encourage innovation. Faculty members undertaking course creation with CDE can expect a process for systematically closing the gap between actual and desired performance.

Online Courses Should:

  • Be well organized and user friendly
  • Have clear objectives and measurable outcomes
  • Include materials and activities that directly support learning outcomes
  • Engage the learner through interaction with instructor, content, and peers
  • Offer resources for both students and teaching faculty

How Do We Do That?

  • Identify measurable learning outcomes that learners need to master complex academic content
  • Align assessments with measurable learning outcomes
  • Work with faculty to identify appropriate technologies for achieving course objectives
  • Design, develop and implement technology-enhanced courses
  • Revise content to shape it for learning needs
  • Assess the overall effectiveness of courses
  • Create media to support learning (e.g. visual aids and various multimedia for e-learning and online)
  • Assist faculty in developing assessments (this does not only mean tests)
  • Adapt instructional materials created for one format to another format (usually this involves adapting materials from face-to-face to online learning)

Professional Development

We support UT Arlington faculty and staff both on-campus and remotely. Workshops are offered face-to-face on campus and live online through Blackboard Collaborate, a synchronous Web collaboration tool. We also host open labs on campus for faculty to experiment and receive help making changes to their courses. Online training documentation and recorded workshop sessions are also resources the training team provides.

Workshops Conducted in Academic Year 2012–2013

Workshop Sessions Registrations
Blackboard Getting Started 13 96
Blackboard Assignments and Assessments 12 70
Blackboard Communication Tools 6 22
Blackboard Grade Center 7 29
Blackboard Advanced Functions 2 12
Blackboard Grade Center and Advanced Functions 4 28
Collaborate Web Conferencing 10 65
Collaborate Web Conferencing Advanced 6 18
Blackboard Instant Messaging 8 23
Blackboard Advanced Functions 2 12
Blackboard Open Lab 28 105
Total for Academic Year 2012–2013 96 468


Our instructional technology specialists troubleshoot technical problems faculty and students may encounter within their online courses and help with how-to questions. Beyond faculty and student support, our support team works closely with Blackboard Corporation to address needed enhancements to our learning management system and issues arising from any software errors that may occur. The team administers Blackboard, configures its settings, schedules upgrades and patch installations, and installs and tests building blocks and other software integrations. They strive to keep this work as transparent as possible so faculty and students may focus on teaching and learning.

Support Requests Addressed

During the 2012–2013 Academic Year our technical support team addressed more than 6,000 support requests from our students and faculty. We take great pride in the low support request volume relative to the more than 35,000 students and faculty using Blackboard Learn every day.
See Also: Online Education Growth Charts

Business Intelligence

This year CDE hired a data analyst to meet a growing demand for data and reporting as they relate to the matriculation, retention, and success of online students. We are in the process of acquiring and introducing new data analytics tools to empower students, faculty, and academic administrators with data-on-demand to enable metric-informed academic decisions and planning.

Business Intelligence

Blackboard Analytics for Learn

Blackboard Analytics for Learn is the new reporting tool implemented during the 2012–2013 academic year. Blackboard Analytics combines the extensive data from Blackboard Learn with student and course attributes from MyMav to create comprehensive reports and dashboards for students and instructors. The information helps engage students by giving them information to monitor their performance in courses. It also gives faculty a better, faster way to get to data that can help them help their students.

Blackboard Analytics provides additional reporting capabilities with data drawn directly from MyMav to allow departments to create ad hoc internal reports.

Blackboard Analytics.png

Blackboard Analytics supports three different kinds of reporting:

  • Operational reports guide day-to-day operations for academic units
  • Analytical reports intersect multiple dimensions of data to look at relationships between two or more variables to help identify trends and patterns
  • Strategic reports provide different views of key metrics for strategic decision-making


ClassRev is the classroom capture system which allows students to review classroom content from their computer, tablet, or smartphone. The systems simultaneously record the image from the classroom projector (desktop computer, laptop, or document camera), a camera view of the front of the classroom, and audio. These signals are combined into a rich media presentation that offers flexibility to watch in different formats.

ClassRev Screenshot

Approximately 160 instructors used ClassRev in Spring Semester 2013 to make about 6,100 recordings that were viewed almost 185,00 times.


Integrated directly into Blackboard Learn, faculty can use Kaltura to easily upload video to their courses and manage all of their video across all of their courses. Using the Kaltura tool within Blackboard, faculty can upload video files to their courses without taking up valuable course space. This tool also allows for larger file uploads and enhanced streaming for students. Additionally, faculty are able to capture their own video files using the Kaltura tool.

kalturaplayer Zenas

Blackboard Collaborate and Instant Messaging

Blackboard Collaborate provides instructors and students Web based video, audio, and text conferencing. With it courses can now be held synchronously online, and students are able to interact with each other and the course instructor in real time.

Webinar Screenshot

I use Blackboard Collaborate with my online students in a variety of ways. I use digital mentoring through 1-on-1 conferencing sessions with graduate students; these sessions individualize instruction and help add depth to learning. Group webinars are used when I teach larger online classes. Students comment they like the flexibility of being able to watch the recordings and also the added personalized touch that takes place during the actual videoconference sessions. They say it feels like a real classroom.

Dr. Peggy Semingson

Dynamic Programs

Academic Partnerships

UT Arlington has engaged in a very successful public-private partnership for online course delivery. The Academic Partnerships program began in Fall 2008 with degree and certificate programs in the College of Nursing and the College of Education and Health Professions. This partnership markets our degree programs to diverse student populations and provides degrees in accelerated formats at reduced prices, reducing the time required to receiving a degree. Eight different programs and/or certificates are currently offered in this format. The University has seen exponentially increased enrollments in these programs since its inception. We expect increased partnership program participation with additional colleges on campus.

Professional e-Learning Community

Faculty selected for the Professional e-Learning Community program work together in an interdisciplinary collegial setting to explore and implement strategies and activities that promote student engagement, particularly through the use of technology tools for teaching.
See Also: Professional e-Learning Community Web site


Finish@UT is a fully online bachelor’s degree completion program designed to help students advance in their careers, achieve personal academic goals, and meet their standards of quality education. With several degree options, they are able to choose areas of concentration that meet their interests and career objectives. As UT Arlington graduates of the Finish@UT program, their diplomas come from an accredited UT institution and have the same value as those of an on-campus degree program.
See Also: Finish@UT Annual Report 2013

UT System Online Consortium (UTOC)

Every semester, thousands of students choose online learning with University of Texas System institutions as an option to expand their educational opportunities. The majority of programs offered by UT institutions can be completed entirely online. Some programs lead to a degree, endorsement, or certificate conferred by the participating institution, while others are a grouping of courses. Online courses follow a semester-based schedule. All UT institutions are accredited by the The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
See Also: UTOC Web site

Awards, Honors, and Memberships

The Center for Distance Education remains at the forefront of quality and innovation, with online programs garnering accolades and faculty teachers receiving four consecutive U.S. Distance Learning Association awards for quality, UT Arlington being the only institution nationally that has been so honored.

Sloan Consortium

Sloan ConsortiumThe Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of online education. Membership in the Sloan Consortium provides knowledge, practice, community, and direction for educators. The Sloan Consortium has recognized outstanding work in the field of online education through an annual awards process since 2001.

Quality Matters

Quality Matters ProgramQuality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning.

United States Distance Learning Association

United States Distance Learning Association

In 1987, the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) was founded on the premise of creating a powerful alliance to meet the burgeoning education and training needs of learning communities via new concepts through the fusion of communication technologies with learning in broad multidiscipline applications. As such, USDLA supports distance learning research, development and praxis across the complete arena of education, training and communications. USDLA provides annual recognition and awards of outstanding achievements in distance learning.

Texas Distance Learning Association

Texas Distance Learning Association

The Texas Distance Learning Association is the non-profit state chapter of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) was the first organization in Texas to bridge the boundaries between the diverse range of professionals interested in the field of distance learning. TxDLA awards are given each year to honor outstanding teachers, TxDLA members, individuals and organizations who are working diligently to grow programs and to utilize distance learning in exemplary ways.


Michael Schmid (Manager)
Amy Irvin
Melissa Roach
Hana Yearian
Scott Massey (Manager)
Matt Crosslin
Tom Parmelee
Sarah Sarraj
Funda Karapinar-Reilly
James Stewart
Dr. Pete Smith

Contact Us

Box 19027
Arlington, Texas 76019-0027
Fax 817.272.5728
Toll-free 888.882.3478