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Announcing the 2015 Brightspace Excellence Award Winners!

Yesterday at Fusion, I was honored to announce the winners of the 2015 Brightspace Excellence Awards.

In my keynote address on Monday, I mentioned that the future of education isn’t as far away as you might think. When we think about the challenges that educators face today, I truly believe that technology can make a difference.

The winners of this year’s Excellence Awards demonstrate that difference. They’re using technology in innovative ways to address these challenges and to bring the future a little closer.

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who submitted a proposal to this year’s Brightspace Excellence Awards. It’s a privilege for us to be able to bring these stories to you.

Brightspace Excellence Award Winner: University of Central Oklahoma


To address and support significant increases in online course enrollments, University of Central Oklahoma built custom dashboards with Brightspace to provide professional development and collaboration spaces for faculty.

Congratulations to the team:

  • Stacy Southerland, PhD, Professor of Spanish
  • Bucky Dodd, PhD, Executive Director of eLearning and Innovations
  • Tracy Fairless, MA, Assistant Director of Instructional Design

Brightspace Excellence Student Contribution Award Winner: Oral Roberts University
Eleven students from Oral Roberts University transitioned over 1500 courses to make them accessible in Brightspace. With the students leading the project, ORU saw new levels of testing and gained significant insight into their content and accessibility. CIO Mike Mathews accepted on behalf of the ORU students:

  • Samuel Bako
  • Meagan Case
  • Kevin Diaz
  • Ian Harrup
  • Jordan Johnson
  • Whitney Martinez
  • Helawi Mengistu
  • Paola Robayo
  • David Jones
  • Alex Cevallos
  • Kalen Swartz

Brightspace Excellence Award Winner: Gwinnett Online Campus

used rich digital content and graphics to create a unique learning environment that would meet the needs of K-12 students. They’re seeing phenomenal results. Several grade levels have recently achieved the highest test scores in the state of Georgia. Congratulations to the team:

  • Christopher Ray, Principal
  • Ginger O’Neal, Assistant Principal
  • Christine Austin, Coordinator
  • Laura Herring, Coordinator
  • Marisa Kana, Coordinator
Brightspace Excellence Accessibility Award Winner: UniEVANGÉLICA

created a Brazilian sign language course to help create a greater sense of community between 22 employees who are deaf (or hard of hearing) and the rest of the university.

Congratulations to the team:

  • Marcos Wesley da Silva, Director
  • Stela Santos, Teacher
  • Herlla Magalhaes, Teacher
  • Diany Rodrigues, Educational Coordinator
  • Palmira Pereira, Educational Designer
  • Manuel Souza, Technology Specialist

 Brightspace Excellence Award Winner: University of Guelph

University of Guelph used Brightspace Valence to extend the platform deep into their institution’s ecosystem. UofG created 17 custom applications with Valence.   Congratulations to the team:  

  • Greg Sabatine, Manager, Online Technology
  • Scott Merrett, Analyst
  • Rich Couto, Courseware Architect


Brightspace Excellence Award Winner: University of Wisconsin-Extension


UW-Extension used Brightspace to deliver the first state-wide competency based education program. One particular student completed 33 credits in one semester, saving almost $8000 in tuition fees!

Congratulations to the team:

        • Ryan Anderson, Director of Instructional Design & Development
        • Eileen Horn, Senior Instructional Designer
        • Stephen Beers, Instructional Designer
        • Nathan Ewings, Instructional Designer
        • Darci Lammers, Senior Instructional Designer
        • Terry Tao, Senior Instructional Designer
        • Scott Reeser, Brightspace Administrator
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