Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide was recently ranked No. 5 for its online undergraduate degree programs by U.S. News & World Report and was the only institution to receive a “100” score in the Student Services and Technology category. Chief Technology Officer Becky Vasquez and Jason Ruckert, Executive Director of Online Learning, share their thoughts about the recognition and Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s long-standing commitment to technology.

Becky Vasquez, ERAU-Worldwide Chief Technology Officer          Jason Ruckert, ERAU-Worldwide Executive Director of Online Learning

Q: What role does technology play in the overall mission of ERAU-Worldwide?

BV: Technology is a huge part of what we do. Thanks to Blackboard and other products we’re using, technology allows us to support thousands of online learners by putting education in the hands of people who might not have access to it otherwise. Our students in the military can learn while deployed from anywhere in the world; even during unique situations such as downtime during a refueling mission. Our students can learn in the comfort of their own home or in a traditional classroom environment. Regardless of location, the only way to continue to give students the support they deserve is to leverage technology.

Q: What do you think separates ERAU-Worldwide from other institutions in its delivery of online programs?

BV: One characteristic that makes us unique is that our faculty are ready to use technology and have been champions for many of our technology advancements, especially in regards to online learning. I think this is a distinctive scenario in higher education.

JR: We provide an unparalleled student experience and push the status quo as we continue to evolve. We deliver an outstanding education online, but our students also receive the same quality of instruction in the classroom or through EagleVision – our live virtual classroom environment. Our “institution-wide” commitment to innovation and student service helps Embry-Riddle remain unique amongst other institutions.

Q: What Blackboard products are being used by ERAU-Worldwide, and how do they support your students, faculty and staff?

JR: We’ve seen a lot of advances since coming on board with Blackboard in 2001. Both the institution and Blackboard have made tremendous gains in technology, and we do so because our students and faculty are our No. 1 priority. Some of the products we’re currently using include Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Connect and Blackboard Student Services. These products, combined with a tremendous number of staff and faculty who provide administrative support and academic vision, contribute to our success.

BV: Blackboard does a lot to support the community of practice. One of the great things about being involved with Blackboard is the annual Catalyst Awards program. For the past three years, our faculty and staff have received numerous Catalyst Awards for innovative course design as well as exemplar measurement and use of learning outcomes. These awards represent peer recognition of the outstanding work we’re doing here at Embry-Riddle Worldwide.

Q: How do you think Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s No. 5 ranking will impact the institution as it moves forward?

JR: The fact that U.S. News & World Report has an online bachelor’s degree category shows that online learning has continued its evolution in higher education. As competition grows in the marketplace, we will explore new products and services to leverage technology to best meet the needs of our students. Providing our students and faculty with an excellent educational experience will always remain the focus of our efforts at Embry-Riddle Worldwide.

To learn more about how your institution can achieve similar success, get in touch with Blackboard.


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