For UCF students unaware of resources the university offers, Knights Academic Resource Service (KARS) is racing to the rescue. Recently launched, this website lists various help centers for students, located both online and across the main campus.
The website — kars.sdes.ucf.edu — is a collaborative effort between many of the services available at UCF.
Resources such as the Writing Center and Student Disability Services are separated into various categories so that it's clear what each center provides. Now students can see in one spot exactly where they can go for a quiet place to study or to get help with their writing.
The website also lists upcoming learning events happening at these locations, such as Technology Commons' Photoshop and Illustrator classes.
Mark Gumble, assistant vice president of Student Development & Enrollment Services and one of the masterminds behind KARS, said that the idea came when faculty found a need that wasn't being filled.
"What I learned from overseeing SARC [Student Academic Resource Center] is that students would go to SARC looking for a writing tutor or go there for a math tutor," Gumble said. "This was a start to let people know where they can go and what's really available at different places on campus."
To figure out what would be most beneficial to students, focus groups were formed. Gumble said the No. 1 thing students asked about was study space, followed by research help and available services.
Joe Raditch, a marketing specialist for Tech Commons, said that it chose to participate in KARS because many students believe that the center is only a store or that not everyone can use the lab computers.
"What we wanted out of this was for all UCF students to know that we have these resources available, including the computer labs, free Adobe classes and our video-recording lab, available to all UCF students free of charge," Raditch said.
Despite this collaboration, every organization still maintains its own website.
In order to avoid confusion for incoming UCF students, KARS will be a talking point during future orientations. To help make those that are already attending the university aware of the website, there'll be a more of a marketing approach through promotion, posters and even desktop backgrounds for lab computers.
Gianna Falise, a sophomore biomedical sciences major, frequents All Knight Study and wishes something like KARS was around during her orientation.
"If there was a website that had everything together that they'd specifically told you about rather than having to look for it, it would've been very helpful," Falise said. "I would've known where to go for the information rather than try to figure it out on my own."
After a few months, KARS will be updated, following another focus group, just in time for orientation.