Blackboard Catalyst Award

2014 Winners

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to all that submitted. If you are interested in the 2015 Catalyst Awards, please fill out this interest form. We will contact you when the submission window opens.

Exemplary Course

Name Institution Course Title (ECP)
Jason E. Warnick, Ph.D. Arkansas Tech University General Psychology(Directors Choice)
Daniel Hillman, Anatoly Temkin and Alison Pedley Boston University Quantitative Methods for Information Systems (Directors Choice)
Professor Martin Carroll, Alison Lockley, Professor Keith Christian, Dr. Steve Reynolds, Chris Darwin, Dr. Rod Kennett, Professor Stephen Garnett, Associate Professor Renkang Peng, Dr. Carla Eisemburg, Dan Hartney, Jeff Ballweg, Monica Hilse, David Heath, Brian Coulehan, Wendy Taleo, Paula Wilson, Erin Lawson, Dr. Bopelo Boitshwarelo, Alison Reedy, Penny Szybiak, Caroline Kidd, Kate Jellis and Kat Gerste  Charles Darwin University Charles Darwin, Evolution and Tropical Australia MOOC (Directors Choice)
Jennifer Perkins and Dr. Scott Townsend Eastern Kentucky University Trends in Science Education (Directors Choice)
Dr. Larysa Nadolny Iowa State University Digital Learning in the Secondary Classroom (Directors Choice)
Shannon Conley-Kurjian Medina High School Local and American History (Directors Choice)
Greg Long and Staff of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center Northern Illinois University Perspectives on Disability MOOC (Directors Choice)
Christina Sewell Allen Community College Composition I
Meghan Seibert and Kim Livengood Angelo State University Applied Research
Dr. Darlene Turner-White and Dr. Mark Gale Athens State University Professional Education Communication
Dr. LaDoris W. Baugh and Dr. Mark Gale Athens State University Financial Management
Ceit De Vitto, Sharon F. Tilton, and Kimberly Griffith Bristol Community College Musculoskeletal Anatomy for the Massage Professional
Nella Anderson, Carrie Schlicht, Creig Crippen, Miranda Regnitz Colorado State University-Global Campus Learning Theories and Models of Instruction
Crystal Day-Black Coppin State University Principles and Practices of Nutrition for Health Professionals
Dr. Daryl Watkins, Anna Reese, Amy Berger, Dr. Matthew Earnhardt, Dr. Edward Knab, Dr. Linda Pittenger, Kevin Norris and Dr. Kees Rietsema Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Leadership Foundations in Research
Dr. Alpesh P. Makwana and Dr. Eugene Round Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Introduction to Research Methods
Jan G. Neal and Dr. Steven Hampton Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University DAV 735: Current Practices and Future Trends in Aviation
Jan G. Neal and Dr. Dothang Truong Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University DAV 726: Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis
Jessica Canfield and Sara Ombres Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Supporting Online Learners
Shannon Field and Donna L. Roberts, Ph.D. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Science and Aviation/Aerospace Technology in Society
Shannon Field, Monica Surrency, and Helen Anderson Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University The Human Factor in Aviation
Valerie Holmes and Tracey Richardson Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Fundamentals of Project Management
Anna Reese and Rick Lawin Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Aviation Safety
Diane Dowhy and Dr. Merrill Douglass Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide Principles of Management
Felix Brito, David Syverson and Dr. Adam Marks Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide MGMT 391 – Introduction to Project Management
Felix Brito, Tim Houston and Dr. Brent Terwilliger Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide ASCI 638 – Human Factors in Unmanned Systems
Helen Anderson and Jeff Ferner Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide Introduction to Computers and Applications
Katy A. Hendry and Eric Tangumonkem, Ph.D. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide (TRAN 371) Pipelines, Land Use and the Environment
Nancy Moran and Debra Taylor Bourdeau Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide World Literature
Rose Opengart, Janene Neal, and Shannon Field Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide Human Resource Management
Michael S. Wills Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, College of Business Computer Networks
eLearning Team FIPECAFI Extensão em IFRS e NIA
Christina Freire, Silvia Gurdian, Matthew Thomson, and Kris Yan Valdes Florida International University Project Management Basics
Jessica Rodriguez and Wendy Gelman Florida International University Business Law I
Kimberly Taylor and Kathleen Bulger Florida International University Marketing Yourself in Today's Competitive Job Market
Laura Dinehart and Erika Huezo Florida International University Issues in Early Childhood Education
Matthew Acevedo and Adam Owenz Florida International University Crisis Management
Matthew Acevedo and Emmanuele Archange Florida International University Human Resource Management
Melody Whiddon-Willoughby, Patricia Delgado, and Elizabeth Ferris Florida International University Educational Psychology
Amy Peach Fontbonne University Philosophical Foundations of Education
Karen W. Duncan Gaston College Advanced Text Entry & Formatting
Linda Davis and Joseph DiPietro George Mason University SAS Language and Basic Procedures
Kristin Roberts Grand Rapids Community College C++ Programming
Julia VanderMolen Grand Valley State University Issues in Health Professions
Szymon Machajewski, Eric Kunnen, Garret Brand, and Melissa Stange Grand Valley State University Introduction to Telecommunications
Lee Ann Dickerson Jefferson Community and Technical College Academic Writing I
Dr. George Nakos and Paul Huckett Johns Hopkins University - Engineering for Professionals Mathematical Methods for Engineers
Sarah Wareing, Melanie Meyers, Alexandra Luce and Dennis Yip Justice Institute of British Columbia Introduction to Intelligence Analysis
Julia Sweitzer, Katie Evans, William Beers, Jarell Fox and Kristopher King Lake-Sumter State College Introduction to Business
Katie Evans, William Beers, Jarell Fox and Kristopher King Lake-Sumter State College Humanities: Renaissance to Modern Times
Diane Cairns, Dr. Jacqueline Stavros and Mike Thibideau Lawrence Technological University MBA6073 Global Strategic Management
Cheryl Brindle Lord Fairfax Community College Statistics
Jason Rhode Northern Illinois University Instructional Media and Technology
Rumena Buzarovska, Steven Foulke, and Carine Ullom Ottawa University Regions of the Balkans and the U.S.: Case Studies in Space, Place, and Cultural Geography in Macedonia and the U.S.
Kara Parrish MS, RD, LDN Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Nutrition for Life
Ayham Fayyoumi and Abdullah Alruhaimi Saudi Electronic University Computer Essentials
Dr. Adam Ozanne and Mr. Will Moindrot The University of Manchester ECON10061 Introductory Mathematic, School of Social Sciences
Phoebe Jane Ballard and Mingli Xiao, Ph.D. The University of Toledo Online Teaching Certificate
Olaf Dierker, Sigrun Bones, Regina Neubohn, Wolfgang Banneitz, Torsten Parzella, Susanne Dreas, and Ines Voss TLA TeleLearn-Akademie gGmbH Perspektive Wiedereinstieg: Projektmanagement Grundlagen Project Management Basics
Nita Copeland University Of Arkansas at Little Rock Applied Human Science
Eva Strand, Kari Dickinson, Doug Habib, Carie Saunders, Jenine Cordon and David Schlater University of Idaho Landscape and Habitat Dynamics
Carolyn Siccama, Ed.D. University of Massachusetts Lowell Promoting Healthy Lifestyles Among Students
Dr. Chris Tomer, Lorna Kearns, Barbara Frey, EdD, and Dean Croll University of Pittsburgh Introduction to Information Technologies
L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan and Lynn M. Murdoch University of St. Thomas Fundamentals of Mild to Moderate Disabilities
Diane Burr Valley City State University Introduction to Physical Education
Amy Blowers Volusia Online Learning English 4: FL College Prep
Sandra Bennett Wilmington University MEE 7634 Integrated Methods of Teaching Social Studies K-6

Exemplary Institutional Practices

Name Institution Achievement
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide is the first recipient of this award. The Exemplary Course Program Directors chose ERAU for this recognition because this institution not only produces consistently award-winning courses, but more importantly has developed an ecosystem of practices that support and promote a culture of excellence in instructional design. Their strong team of instructional designers works closely with faculty to define best practices, apply them to high quality content and assessments, and create alignment with learning objectives and program goals. The value of their practices goes far beyond technology and includes support from academic leadership, the expansion and enhancement of academic programs, professional recognition for faculty, and the ability to extend their reach to diverse communities of learners such as deployed military.


Name Institution Achievement
Allison Martin, Gary Ware, Rusty Johnson, Cieltia Adams, Yolanda Cooper, Gail Hendrix, Stacey Black, Michelle Barnickel and Vicki Dennis Bossier Parish Community College Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) developmental instructors used their Blackboard instance and Blackboard’s open-source LMS CourseSites to offer a series of developmental-level, course-length MOOCs that targeted both underprepared high schools students gearing up for placement testing and students already enrolled in credit-bearing developmental courses. The team’s MOOC initiative called BPCC’s Open Campus launched in the spring of 2013 and has now reached 5,000+ students. Several colleges have adopted BPCC’s Open Campus design and/or content.
Andrae Thompson, Lee Scholder, Allison Ruzin, and Brian Barton Capella University Capella University created Flexpath – a highly innovative direct assessment learning model, based on authentic assessments of key competencies in various professional and academic fields to demonstrate mastery of the relevant program level outcomes. Capella faculty perform these assessments to ensure academic integrity, and students have a flexible amount of time in which to complete the relevant learning and demonstrate that learning via a set of competency assessments. Flexpath is the first and currently only competency-based direct assessment program in the country approved by the Department of Education for the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
Brett Reynolds, Amy Hance, Dr. Traci Kohler and Tom Petry Collier County Public Schools While the Collier County Public School’s enrollment has remained virtually stable since 2009, the usage of the LMS has grown over 1146% in 5 years. Although not mandated, it's become a central teaching and resource portal where students and teachers are quickly and easily able to locate and access digital textbooks and other digital content. Through a streamlined, automated desktop icon, access in a K-12 environment is tailored to a specific user, simple and easy for both very young, 5 year old students, as well as technology-challenged teachers. Before a central portal was created, teachers were required to register and obtain access to materials for themselves and hundreds of students, an action which consumed thousands of district hours. After implementation, almost all multi-step procedures and time requirements were eliminated, allowing teachers and students to focus on instruction and learning instead of wasting valuable class time to simply access resources.
Dr. Christopher Ray, Dr. Ginger O'Neal, Randi Hill, Laura Herring, Gary Torkington, Julie Richardson, Kathy Poulton, and all GOC administrators and teachers Gwinnett Online Campus After researching the success of online middle schools across the nation, Gwinnett Online Campus academic leaders discovered that many middle grade programs were failing due to lack of teacher/student bonding, non-existent peer relationships, and a shortage of collaboration. In an effort to address this problem, the idea of Gwinnett Online Campus’ interactive Learning Labs was born. Countless hours of brainstorming a solution have led to the development of one of the most innovative, interactive, virtual, Learning Labs in the United States. The Learning Lab concept provides a delivery model for blended instruction in the K-12 environment, combining state-of-the-art classroom equipment with a web conferencing program. By addressing the needs of younger online learners enrolled in a fully online school, a true blended instruction model emerged. The end results have been increased student engagement, enhanced student/teacher relationships, and the creation of a learning environment where synchronous instruction and collaboration are taking place for students attending on or off campus.
Dr. Tayeb Kamali and Himanshu Joshi Higher Colleges of Technology Higher Colleges of Technology, a federally funded and access based University with 17 campuses and more than 20000 students, has implemented a 100% eTextbook model within Blackboard Learn using a centralized purchasing and distribution of prescribed learning resources. The institute is the first Higher Educational Institute in the world that has replaced all prescribed print textbooks with eTextbooks on Blackboard Learn. The eText implementation at HCT has proven to be a pedagogically sound and economically efficient initiative. All the project objectives were successfully achieved. This initiative also helped in emergence of innovative models of content aggregation to efficiently utilize the content management system of Blackboard.
Cameron Parker, Brad Porinchak, Sue Meckler, and Todd Alexander Sarasota County Schools Impacting 41,000 students across the district, teachers at Sarasota County Schools are provided with an interactive, dynamic location for curriculum, pacing and resource support thorough Instructional Focus Guide courses (IFGs). Teachers have access to either an elementary, middle or high school IFG course and each is guided by state standards, testing requirements and data gathered from benchmark tests. IFGs serve as the blueprint to guide teachers in the full implementation of Common Core State Standards and allow teachers and students to access vetted resources in a secure location, enhancing learning at all grade levels and in all content areas. IFGs are ever-changing with content organized for ease of navigation and access. Most importantly, teachers have a choice on how to use the guides and have access across multiple disciplines, allowing for collaboration across grades and subject area. For its tremendous impact on students through IFG courses, Sarasota County Schools is recognized with Catalyst Award Special Achievement Honors.
Kenneth Pierce and Josef Varga The University of Texas at San Antonio / Information Technology Ken Pierce, course instructor and CIO at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and Josef Varga, instructional developer, applied game design thinking to their graduate-level course, The Introduction to Information Systems (IS 5003), to enhance the students’ desire and ability of learning within an online course. The use of gamification dynamics within the course has three overall goals: to improve student’s motivation and learning with formative assessments; to design course content that is scalable and in most part, automatic; and to apply effective management strategies for instructor’s online workload. The gamification concept increased student enrollment and retention compared to the previous course offering.
Fernando Gonzalez Universidad CNCI By using Blackboard platforms, Rubén Alejandro Escudero Salazar enabled students of Universidad CNCI to see courses from any mobile device. Modern learners can study from anywhere, with accessility and comfort ensured.
Sam Bizri, Wing Yiu, Colin Williamson, and Steve King University of Sydney Business School The Business School sought to improve and support the student learning and administrative experience over the academic year by leveraging off its high-end use of the Blackboard Learn LMS. The improvement process ran over 3 years and is now embedded into the functioning of the School.

Innovative Blended Learning

Name Institution Achievement
Escuela de Administración y Negocios DuocUC The Executive Evening Program (“PEV” in Spanish) is a blended course designed to provide training opportunities for professionals who want to start new studies, as well as those who need to stay current in their area of expertise. It is a flexible method that considers learning blended environments. The PEV is designed around competencies that utilize content and activities compatible with the times of study, work and family required by DUOC students. PEV courses are designed on the basis of learning outcomes associated with specific job skills for each degree. Before the courses are available through Blackboard there is a standard process of curriculum, instructional design and technology support. The design of online courses follows requirements for virtualization and graphic design, which allow greater dynamism and attractiveness of the virtual learning environment for students. This has involved the need to coordinate the work of various units within the institution, and involving teachers. Since 2004, when DUOC first started offering PEV, the percentage of enrollment has grown from 2.4%. to 37%.
Fernando Abdalla, Antonio Kronemberger, Carlos Nascimento, Mariana Pinho, and Vladimir Gonçalves IBMEC By using Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Mobile, and Blackboard Collaborate, Ibmec offers online courses through various technologies – desktop, notebook, tablet, and smartphone. Students at Ibmec have a unique learning experience with the flexibility to have access to the academic environment virtually anywhere. Last year 5,000 students from segments of Ibmec teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate) used Blackboard platforms as a means of distance learning. Ibmec plans to increase adoption by 50% in 2014 as they continue to reinforce their image as an innovative, forward-thinking institution. Furthermore, Blackboard Learn offers Ibmec a new method of attracting students, which is unprecedented in post-graduate programs in Brazil: daily entries. With this flexibility, the candidate may enroll in courses offered by the institution, at any time and immediately become an Ibmec student. This new method allows for a more efficient registration strategy, which is evidenced by the growth of enrollment by 115% between 2013 and 2012
Dr. Apitep Saekow, Dr. Ake Choonhachatrachai, Dr. Martin Goerlich, Loise Jeannin, Penpimon Numsuktrakul, Photchanee Satterly, and Sourjya Sankar Sen Stamford International University Stamford International University created a Signature MBA program to provide a friendly and convenient environment for our multicultural professional students. They learn anywhere, anytime according to their availability. During the weekdays, MBA students are encouraged to discover and learn theories and business stories through reading materials, discussions, check-up quizz, and videos. They join the face-to-face sessions to meet other professionals and develop their network, to discuss lively case studies, and to share and reflect on their leadership experience. This innovative approach helps students from various backgrounds to make the most of their studies. They end up with a fine-tuned program that fits into their tight schedule.
Dr. Ingrid Kirschning Albers, Javier Piñataro Plata, and José Manuel de la Fuente Medina Universidad de las Américas Puebla The University of the Americas Puebla (UDLAP) integrates within the curricular plan of all undergraduate disciplines, the classroom course of quantitative reasoning, which aims to develop numeric and symbolic competencies in the students that allow them to analyze, interpret and resolve problems in logical and structured way so students can apply these skills to their training and professional practice. To achieve these objectives it is necessary to expose the student to various learning experiences that allow them to gradually develop different levels of thought. The integration of Blackboard as pedagogical resource has been very valuable, because this tool allows faculty to articulate the different experiences of learning required, using the tools contained in the platform. The retention rates, grades and students that approved the course were higher than before the implementation of blackboard in Quantitative Reasoning courses. During autumn session in 2013, there were more students than in 2012 (74 more students) where 91 more students approved the course and 9 less students failed the course. The average grade was 2.18% higher than the previous year and 8 less students decided dropped the course.
My Learning Essentials Team University of Manchester Library The University of Manchester Library developed My Learning Essentials - a flexible blended learning programme deliberately designed to allow students access at the point of need, with support available via a suite of interactive online learning resources and in face-to-face workshops, skills clinics and Q&A support sessions. Launched by the University of Manchester Library in September 2013, the entire programme is openly available to all students at the University on a self-selecting basis via the My Learning Essentials webpages; the online resources are also available for schools to embed in Blackboard as part of a curriculum-linked offer. It provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to academic skills development, accessible to all students on a self-selecting or guided basis, encouraging students to take a proactive approach to improving their skills while still being available at key moments of demand.

Staff Development

Name Institution Achievement
Learning Services Edge Hill University The Learning Services Department at Edge Hill University are recognised for promoting and delivering a culture of staff development to meet current and future challenges. Here we create and support learning opportunities for both team and individual learning within the institution through the Developing Digital Excellence (DDE) program to deliver staff development sessions that focus on technology, pedagogy and best practices. Since September 2012, the strategic nature of the DDE program was to implement an effective and creative way to support staff beyond the classroom. Using an array of Blackboard solutions we have combined and leveraged the tools effectively to support the program and provide an innovative blended method for staff. The The DDE program delivers training on a variety of topics that aim to raise awareness and confidence in using technology in teaching and learning. The syllabus of events we offer are organised around four key strands: The Digital Classroom, The Digital Office, the Digital Practicioner, and the Digital Reseacher.
New Employee Orientation Course Team FIU Online FIU Online shifted its onboarding and training strategy for new employees from a face-to-face model to a web-based approach. The web-based model known as the New Employee Orientation Course and Employee Resource Hub (NEOC-ERH) is a comprehensive online onboarding/orientation experience for all new FIU Online employees as well as a formalized training program and repository for those employees heavily involved with course design and development. Since its implementation, there have been significant reductions in paperwork and planning time and significant increases in transparency of the training process and consistency in experience for trainers and trainees.
Amy Mueller and Vicki Stearman - Training Specialists Jefferson County Public Schools With over 100,000 students and 17,000 staff members, Jefferson County Public Schools utlilizes online classes though Blackboard to train staff on how to use the district's student information system. More than 20 self-paced tutorials offer staff narrated interactive guides, demonstrations and assessment quizzes. Online training allows staff access to resources at their own pace and place, without the need to wait for a live instructor-led course. The program includes built-in actions for documenting progress and authorizing the right to change student records only after successful training completion. This solid staff training foundation results in both thousands of well-trained staff and more accurate student information across the district.
All Stars Training Program Metro Nashville Public Schools In response to dramatic moves in education, including Common Core standards and the PARCC assessment, plus several district teaching and learning initatives, Metro Nashville Public Schools launched their All Stars Training Program in February 2013, providing online professional development for 6,500 teachers. A support structure of 40 district level All Star Coaches and 170 site level All Star Trainers each train 50 teachers per school. The competency based program requires that all coaches and trainers attend two days of professional development in a blended setting using course work delivered through Blackboard and pedagogical strategies to ensure understanding of both the online course content and Blackboard as the delivery tool. The district's foresight and success in moving more professional development to an online and blended model to better meet the needs of their teachers has earned them Catalyst Award Special Achievement Honors.
VCCS TOTAL Project Team Northern Virginia Community College / Extended Learning Institute The Topics in Online Teaching and Learning (TOTAL) program provides flexible, modularized professional development for Virginia Community College System (VCCS) faculty who teach blended or online courses. The modules take the form of fourteen short (2-4 week) interactive and engaging workshops, created in Blackboard, that address the competencies (both facilitation and design) necessary to support student success in online teaching and learning. To date, the TOTAL project has provided consistent, online, modular training to VCCS faculty in fifteen different colleges. About 250 certificates have been awarded, with another 150 enrollments in workshops currently being conducted.
Connie Swiderski, Barbara Smith, and Laura Hodges Texas Virtual School Network For four years and running, the TxVSN speaks VOLumes conference has offered a free, 3-day virtual training conference for anyone with an interest in online learning. Using Blackboard technology, web-based sessions are professionally conducted with experienced facilitators, recorded sessions and "Certificate of Attendance" accredidation. The conference aims to contribute to a broader reach and availability for personal growth for the online educator, providing opportunities for those who may feel isolated in their professional development support or do not have the opportunity to reach beyond their own backyard to see and hear directly from other online learning practitioners.
Luis Fernando Reina, Zaida Urrutia, Andres Viau, Teresa Aguilar, Cristian Rossi, Angel Ramírez, Ingrid de León, Alfredo Bedregal, Cesar Silva, Irma Orellana, Gamaliel Zambrano, Paola García Egan, Cynthia Castillo, Silvia Yela, Tania Reyes de Maselli, Raul Loarca, Silvia Charuco, Gabriela Castro de Búrbano, Mariela Zelada, and Carlota Escobar Universidad del Valle de Guatemala In May 2012, the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala acquired Blackboard Learn to start using it by July of the same year to train teachers on how to use the basic tools of the platform. In total, over the course of three weeks 203 teachers were trained from all faculties and over 35 departments in the use of basic tools of Blackboard. These trainings made it possible for most teachers to use Blackboard during the second half of 2012. The teachers were able to interact with each other and with colleagues from different departments and faculties and this managed to create networks between faculties and overall improved communication with all university faculty staff. Interpersonal relationships were strengthened and an atmosphere of camaraderie settled in the faculties.
Inajara Vargas Ramos, Alexandre Zeni, and Paulo Roberto Pasqualotti Universidad Feevale The University Feevale used Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate to develop the faculty of the in planning lessons and courses in the use of Blackboard and the development of appropriate pedagogical strategies for teaching and student learning, providing opportunities to create spaces for interaction, communication, and construction of knowledge individually and collectively. Teacher training involves faculty and tutors of the university, including areas of study and practice. All participants are enrolled in a course with access to material and content as a student, as well as evaluation activities and spaces for interaction and collective construction of knowledge. At the same time, each participant is enrolled as a teacher on another course where they can create and publish material, and the space for the development of teaching practice in the use of Blackboard.
UST Educational Technology Center University of Santo Tomas A standard training curriculum titled Rapid eLearning Course Site Development Training was launched and undertaken by dedicated 19 Educational Technology Coordinators comprised of faculty appointees from the various disciplines over 5 months. Overall, the Rapid eLearning Course empowered the entire faculty staff of the University of Santo Tomas to integrate educational technology in their teaching and learning through the development of course sites that supported diverse learners needs and address more diverse learning needs, enabled a wider range of teaching styles and augmenting teachers' instructional style, and enabled students "shine" in the virtual classroom.
Center for Online Learning University of Texas - Pan Am / Center for Online Learning, Teaching and Technology The Center for Online Learning, Teaching and Technology (COLTT) at the University of Texas - Pan AM (UTPA), using Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate, developed a faculty development program called “The Blueprinting Process.” The program assists academic programs and faculty in the design and development of accelerated online graduate degree programs that improve accessibility to graduate education for working professionals who want to further advance their careers in a short period of time. Since its inception in the Fall of 2012, five fully online accelerated Master Degrees have been developed and launched using the Blueprinting process. Results showcase increase enrollments and high completion and retention rates.

Student Impact

Name Institution Achievement
The Center for Educational Technologies Center for Educational Technologies, Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences The Center for Educational Technologies (CET) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences collaborated with a faculty member in veterinary cardiology to design a short course for third-year veterinary students enrolled in a one-credit cardiology elective. The goal was to create an interactive classroom experience to improve veterinary students’ mastery and retention of clinical material and to enhance their clinical decision-making skills. By bringing Moodle into the classroom, they combined peer-to-peer and case-based teaching methodologies with a collaborative online component, resulting in a modified team-based approach that can easily be implemented by instructors during 1- to 2-hour lecture periods.
Dr. Sheryl Maher Charles Darwin University This project was designed to improve the completion rates of students in a first year biology unit at Charles Darwin University, Australia. The project “Pracs My Way” has been designed to allow a better work-life-study balance for students though the introduction of a more flexible option to complete the practical experiments in this unit of study. This opens up higher education to students from non‐standard backgrounds who have competing commitments which can interfere with traditional study modes. During 2012, 133 students enrolled in the unit, but only 77 completed, whereas in 2103, after the implementation of "Pracs My Way," 127 students enrolled in this unit but 94 completed the unit.
FLVS Middle School Social Studies Team Florida Virtual Schools In its virtual classroom, the Florida Virtual Schools Social Studies team creates live, engaging and interactive lessons for students—regardless of learning style, ability level or geographic location. As a result, the Social Studies team has launched live lessons for its U.S. History course that created authentic and engaging opportunities for more than 9,000 students in 2013 and through the second quarter of 2014, combined. Teachers use findings from student diagnostic tests, coupled with teacher "get to know you" welcome calls to design personalized instruction tailored to a student's various learning modalities. Through Blackboard technology, students are offered calendar invites to virtual breakout rooms where multiple lessons are conducted simultaneously with the ability to track students' progress through live lessons. The success of the Social Studies team's interactive lesson environment is evident in comparing End-of-Course state exams, in which more full and part time students in the program score within the top third of scoring range compared to the state percentage. The diligence of the FLVS Social Studies team has greatly impacted student outcomes, providing them with an experience countoured for their learning style.
Associate Deanship of Distance Learning Inter American University of Puerto Rico The Inter American University of Puerto Rico designed an online custom support system called SAED focused on online student and faculty necessities. Through use of the online support services platform, 1983 student support requests were processed through the platform in 2013. Of those 1377 were from students and 606 from campus faculty. The adoption rate of the platform has been remarkable since its introduction. Administrative data is also collected and used to improve administrative services, time management, and effectiveness within the campus online program.
Project Horseshoe Team Montgomery County Community College Montgomery County Community College is creating a new model for student engagement that centers on a set of engaging experiences, made available through a variety of platforms, to deliver financial literacy, civic literacy and digital literacy for first-generation and low-income students. This project, when fully implemented, will result in the New Literacy MOOC which will deliver easy-to-understand modules made available through an online learning platform that will support student success and completion within an institution. The College has prototyped, How to Pay for College, one section of content in the area of financial literacy, using Blackboard Learn. The self-guided program introduces students to concepts of financial aid, loans, and grants, highlights long-term implications of loans and future debt, and makes them aware of other resources to help pay for college. The program incorporates social media, a computer-generated tour guide, short video clips, and links to on- and off-campus resources while allowing students to delve further into topics that may be applicable to them.
Dr. Mark Edwards, Dr. Stephen Mauney, Dr. Crystal Hill, Terry Haas, and Dr. Scott Smith Mooresville Graded School District Through their Digital Conversion 1:1 program, Mooresville Graded School District provides equitable access to technology for every child, all but erasing the "digital divide" faced prior to the initiative. Teachers and administrators have formally integrated digital software into classroom instuction with Web 2.0 tools like blogs, discussion forums, wikis, chats and more. A collaborative two-way learning environment exists where teachers have become facilitators, instead of educators dictating what they want students to know, allowing students more freedom to discover and explore. For example, fourth graders are encouraged to create a digital portfolio to share their work, involving the entire community in each student's creative expression. In a district where the free and reduced rate rose to 40 percent in 2011, providing technology for every child has been a win-win for the students, school system and community at large. Additionally, enabling each child with the transformative power of technology makes learning relevant and centered on each student's individual needs. With the ability to witness personalized learning in action in every classroom, MGSD earns Catalyst Award Special Achievement Honors.
Chris Millson University of York In 2011, the University of York embarked on the development of an online Employability Tutorial (ET), a self-study resource in our Blackboard Learn VLE, with a goal of better preparing students for the world of work. The intended outcomes of the tutorial are increased student engagement with Careers (the University of York's careers service), and an improvement in the level of graduate destinations achieved.
Three years later, we have a resource that students are using in their thousands. It is supported by academics and the University, and successfully encourages students to think about the skills and experiences they need for their future. The ET has made it easier for more students to access support from Careers, and non-users of Careers have been seen to engage more with Careers after accessing the ET, compared to those who do not access the ET .

Looking for Past Winners?

Go here to see past Catalyst Award winners. To see past winners for the Blackboard Collaborate Hall of Fame, go here.