Every year at Blackboard we look to celebrate educators and instructors with the annual Catalyst Awards. With the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, we recognize teaching and learning achievements and successes within higher education institutions. Sharing such accomplishments is not just about recognition: winning programs can be used and further developed among peers at other institutions to inspire future innovation.

This year’s awards were especially notable for the Blackboard Connect team as the Communication Strategies category was introduced. Winners of the Communication Strategies award have made significant achievements at their institutions with programs that reach the right audience with the right message and via the right channel. No stranger to the Catalyst Awards, Dr. Dionne Curbeam, of Coppin State University, is this year’s Communications Strategies award winner. It is Dr. Curbeam’s second win at the Catalysts: last year, she was honored for her success in the Staff Development category.

At Coppin State, Dr. Curbeam has dramatically enhanced student engagement on campus by improving communication between students and instructors. Around the country, email has become less effective, as students move to social media and SMS as favored communication channels. In response,  Coppin State implemented the Blackboard Connect for Learn service to allow instructors to send text messages to students without having to exchange phone numbers directly. The service was an instant hit among faculty and was quickly adopted across campus.

In addition to Dr. Curbeam, the Communication Strategies award also recognized other achievements as developed by Dr. Christina Royal, of Cuyahoga Community College, and Dr. Andrew Whitworth, of the University of Manchester. Winners will be formally honored and celebrated at this year’s BbWorld 2012 conference in New Orleans later this summer.

To learn more about how you can use Blackboard Connect to enhance communication on your campus, visit our website.

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