For The News Courier
Steve Clark, associate director of Academic Support and Instructional Systems at Athens State University, was named a winner of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Collaboration, which recognizes community leaders who encourage collaboration, and share advice, insight, content and effective practices with fellow educators outside their own institutions.
Clark was recognized by Blackboard Inc. for establishing the Alabama Community College System eLearning Symposium. This annual event provides unique networking opportunities among the ACCS’s 27 educational institutions, acting as a systemwide professional development opportunity especially among those involved in online education. Athens State will host the Blackboard-sponsored event for the third year, culminating during National Distance Learning Week on Friday, Nov. 16.
“The idea for the ACCS eLearning Symposium was initially conceived from the desire for our faculty to receive hands-on training from a number of our technology vendors,” Clark said. “By collaborating with Blackboard to develop a ‘Partner Day’ event for our campus, this concept ultimately became a statewide event for our system. It is my hope that countless others who normally wouldn’t be able to attend national technology conferences will now gain access to this same beneficial information at their institutions using the template Athens State University created for the Alabama Community College System.”
In addition, Athens State’s Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education Dr. Wendy Cowan was named a winner of a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Program, which honors members of the community who design and develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning. Cowan’s project was assisted by Athens State’s Center for Instructional Technology coordinator, Dr. Mark Gale.
“The really exciting part of winning this award is that the recognized course was not a single section that I alone taught,” Cowan said. “The course was used across seventeen sections of ED 305 and facilitated by nine different instructors, including seven adjuncts. This suggests that with careful training and preparation, any of us can provide exemplary courses for our students.”
More than 150 entries were evaluated in a rigorous peer-review process by more than 250 faculty and instructional designers. Submissions were judged on the following components: course design, interaction, collaboration, assessment and learner support.
“We applaud the Blackboard Catalyst Award winners and their accomplishments,” said Ray Henderson, chief technology officer and president of academic platforms for Blackboard.
“Their work represents some of the most innovative thinking in education today, and offers great models for how technology can help shape an improved education experience.
“We congratulate the award winners for their leadership, creativity and passion that is clearly evident in their work.”
Cowan and Gale will be honored alongside 37 other Exemplary Course Program winners, and Clark will be recognized with two other Community Collaboration Award winners during BbWorld®, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held July 10-12 in New Orleans.
For a complete list of Blackboard Catalyst Award winners, please visit: http://www.blackboard.com/catalyst.