Guest Post by Dr. Shirley Waterhouse,
Senior Director of the Office of Academic Excellence and Innovation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
January is the time of the year when we all seem to do some reflecting. As a director in the Exemplary Course Program
(ECP), I look forward to this time of the year because I have the opportunity to begin the review of course submissions. I also take time to reflect on the progress of the ECP program and the yearly advancements in e-learning pedagogy throughout the academy that are demonstrated in the course submissions.
To go a step further in reflection this year, I recently interviewed several of the 2011 ECP winners
to ask them to reflect on the process of submitting their courses. All of them commented on how valuable it was to receive input from peers at other institutions, and they all indicated that the recognition they received was very nice too. When I asked Lorna Kearns, an instructional designer with the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education at the University of Pittsburgh,
about her experience with the ECP program and their winning course, Organization and Management Theory, she indicated that the self-review process was the most valuable component of the program for her and her colleagues. “Going through the self-evaluation process revealed insights not only about the course I submitted but also about other courses for which I provide instructional design support. Working with two of my colleagues as course reviewers offered additional opportunities for understanding what constitutes effective online course design.”
Maisie Caines, a Blackboard Exemplary Course Director and Faculty Development Specialist at College of the North Atlantic, recently spent time chatting with Teri Herron of Delta State University
. Teri received the 2011 Exemplary Course Program Award
for her Music in American Culture online course
. So, how does a classically trained opera singer and music historian design and deliver an exemplary online course? According to Teri, it was a “completely wild ride.”
According to Teri: “We need projects that push us out of our comfort zones, because that’s what I’m asking my students to do every time they enroll in any of my classes.” When Teri approached Dr. Susan Hines, Director of Instructional Technologies at Delta State, about designing an online course, she asked for no forgiveness. “I want you to be really hard on me.,” Teri said, “I would rather work diligently one time and then have something upon which multiple layers can be built. You know, build a really solid foundation into which you can add or subtract content, add or subtract media, fuss a little bit with your learning modules… but have something really, really good, structurally sound…something that a student climbs into and thinks, WOW!, this person really cared when they put this together for me.”
Christie Smith, a Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Director and the Director of Online Course Development, Lone Star College-Online recently chatted with two 2011 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program winners—Dorothy Jones and Gillian McKnight-Tutein. Dorothy teaches for Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Gillian teaches for Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. This was the first time either instructor submitted a course for program review, and they both won! In addition, Gillian participated as a course reviewer to gain experience from the other end of the process.
Both faculty members had their students in mind when they decided to participate in the Exemplary Course Program. Dorothy explained that she was interested in having her course evaluated externally against established standards that indicate “value and quality to potential students.” Gillian’s goal was to receive feedback that would help her to make learning more enjoyable for her students.
When asked what makes their courses exemplary, Dorothy mentioned the overall best practices in course design that were used to redesign her course and the positive feedback she received from her students. She states, “When students enroll in my course, I often hear that it is different from many of the online courses they have taken.” Gillian says her course was built upon the Quality Matters ™ framework, a program similar to the Blackboard ECP that focuses on research-based best practices in course design. View Gillian’s Course Tour
We are excited to share the news that registration for BbWorld 2012
is now open! As you recharge over this winter break, why not get a jump start on your summer plans and consider joining us in New Orleans for our annual user conference.
If you joined us last year in Las Vegas, it’s hard to forget the incredible opening keynote with Steven Johnson
and the closing keynote from Sir Ken Robinson
. Through the course of two and a half days, we kept you busy with dozens of sessions, networking opportunities and executive discussions, details on Blackboard’s technology roadmap, special receptions with your peers, Blackboard executives and staff, and a corporate keynote from founder and CEO Michael Chasen. We left you excited (and exhausted) and ready to head into the school year with best practices and new ways to deliver a more impactful learning experience at your institution.
Don’t you want to join us again?
Blackboard wants to hear your voice! The BbWorld and DevCon 2012 call for presentations
is now open and will remain open until January 20. We would love to hear your story at this year’s Developers Conference July 9-10 and BbWorld July 10-12 in New Orleans, LA.
Why should you present? Blackboard user conferences are a great way to share best practices with peers, influence and enhance teaching and learning at other institutions, and shape eLearning around the world. We are looking for experts to lead by example and connect with the education community.