Learning Ventures’ instructional designers win Blackboard Catalyst Award

June 18, 2014 | News, UToday
By Staff

Phoebe Ballard, senior instructional designer and coordinator for special projects, and Dr. Mingli Xiao, senior instructional designer, were named winners of a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course for their online faculty development class, UT Learning Ventures Online Teaching Certificate.

This is the second Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course received by Ballard, who was honored in 2013 alongside former UT art lecturer, Seder Burns, for their online art class, Fundamentals of Digital Media.

Ballard and Xiao

Ballard and Xiao

Part of the annual Blackboard Catalyst Awards program since 2000, the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award highlights technologically rich, engaging, well-designed and pedagogically sound classes that showcase best practices for the user community. More than 200 entries were evaluated in a rigorous peer-review process by more than 300 faculty and instructional designers. Submissions were judged on course design, interaction, collaboration, assessment and learner support.

“The Exemplary Course Program gives faculty of online and blended courses the opportunity to reflect on their own course design and to gain new insights about best practices in online instruction,” Ballard said. “Using the Exemplary Course Rubric, we were able to identify unique and exemplary design elements that make this professional development course a high-quality, interactive and engaging experience for faculty and teaching assistants at UT.”

“I am overjoyed to hear that our course received the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award,” Xiao said. “Our course aims at providing faculty an opportunity to experience the dynamics of online teaching from a student’s perspective and to understand the importance of instructor presence. The award is one of many indicators that our design has hit the target.”

The Blackboard Catalyst Awards annually recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where teachers and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology.

“It’s an honor each year to recognize forward-thinking educators who are helping create a world inspired to learn through the work they do every day,” said Jay Bhatt, Blackboard CEO. “We congratulate Catalyst Award winners on their vision and innovative approaches to education, and celebrate their accomplishments with them.”

Ballard and Xiao will be honored alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld, Blackboard’s annual user conference, in July in Las Vegas. Additionally, their course will be highlighted on the Blackboard Catalyst Award website at blackboard.com/catalyst.

To learn more about Learning Ventures’ faculty certificate courses, contact Dr. Peter You, director of instructional design and development, at peter.you@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4016.

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