Excited to be Receiving Blackboard Exemplary Course Catalyst Award at BbWorld 2014

Blackboard Catalyst Award WinnerI was excited to learn that my Blackboard course, ETT 510: Instructional Media and Technology, which I designed and taught online during Fall 2013, has been reviewed by the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program and received the distinction of being named an Exemplary Course. Below is the email notice I received from Lauren Krznaric at Blackboard:

On behalf of Blackboard and the Exemplary Course Program Directors, I am pleased to inform you that your course, Instructional Media and Technology, has been recognized as a 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course. Congratulations on this achievement! You join a select group of educators and course designers from around the world whose courses have earned the Exemplary Course designation.

One of my reviewers, Leah Chuchran, shared these kind comments on Twitter:

Below is a sampling of some of the great feedback I received from reviewers of my course, including:

This is a really well-designed course. I kept trying to find a ‘weak link’ in the course navigation but just couldn’t do it! This is good, right? It’s not an easy feat to design a course that is clear to navigate, robust in content and not feeling like I am lost somewhere trying to find something. The units make sense and the links within keep everything organized. The downloadable syllabus and the schedule were also easily accessed – so important! Exemplary work.

It is evident that Dr. Rhode has a passion for higher ed/online education AND design/development skills. It’s also evident that he enjoys the facilitation side and teaching both theory and practice and engaging with learners. The audience for this course really is awesome and ripe for a well-developed course – what more could one ask for? The embedded YouTube videos and especially the channel are an excellent addition to the course. Aggregated content in this fashion is so valuable for the learners. I really enjoy the fact that the synchronous sessions are scheduled and the students are expected to attend in this online class. I think that really is important and should be integrated as much as possible in the online environment.

The learning activities truly embody the student-content, student-student and student-instructor theory and practice. The learners were offered an opportunity to gain many new skills, even if there was a “stretch” involved. I love how the learners were surveyed about their technical skills so you could gauge your audience. The journal activity seems to be a key component and allow you to “take the temperature”. In addition, I really enjoyed both the ID model presentation as well as the tech-integrated ID plan assignments. Especially the models/templates that were provided – I can imagine how much time this saved both parties in the process.

I think that learner support was one of the main foci for this course, from the course design to the variety of content to support learning to the learning activities in which students were given opportunities to perform and shine.

The course design is exemplary. It’s easy to navigate and it just makes sense. It provides the learners with all of the necessary information to be successful and to jump right in and feel like they can begin learning the subject at hand, not how to get to the content and activities.

The learning activities are awesome. Assessment of each of the activities is thorough and clear with the rubrics. Each of the activities is appropriate for the audience.

Student engagement is obvious throughout, including in the discussions and the group projects. The feedback on the various assignments were also important in creating engagement.

I truly hope it is nominated as one of the Bb Exemplary Courses for 2013. It truly is one of the most well-designed courses I’ve seen.

The Blackboard Catalyst Awards will formally be presented at the Blackboard Catalyst Awards Luncheon on Thursday, July 17th at Blackboard’s annual worldwide user conference, BbWorld. As an exemplary course winner, I’ll be preparing a poster presentation for BbWorld, a screencast course tour, and also may be giving another information session at BbWorld (if proposal is accepted) with tips for exemplary course design in Blackboard.

Thank you to all my NIU ETRA Technology Specialist cohort students in the course this past fall and for your valuable feedback that guided the course design and delivery. I’ve previously shared my tips learned through the experience with other faculty and am currently in the process of designing a new course, ETT 511: Advanced Instructional Media and Design following the same principles of quality course design.

I was also thrilled to hear that the NIU MOOC that my colleagues Stephanie Richter and Tracy Miller helped develop has also received the Exemplary Course Award, also to be recognized at BbWorld!

For faculty who have never considered participating in the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program, I encourage you to do so! More details are available at blackboard.com/ecp


  • laurapasquini

    Congratulations! Well deserved, indeed!