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D2L Excellence Awards

The D2L Excellence Awards recognize educators, trainers, and leaders in employee engagement who have used the Brightspace platform to deliver learning experiences that are innovative, collaborative, or have made an extraordinary impact on learning outcomes.

2021 Winners Announced!

View 2021 winners

About the Excellence Awards

These awards celebrate inspiration and innovation in digital education, and learning and development. This could be in a particular course, program, or organization-wide initiative. If your organization is delivering a solution that’s making an extraordinary impact or helping to create a unique and collaborative learning experience, share your story of excellence! There will be a maximum of five (5) Excellence Awards winners.

Nomination process for 2022 Awards will begin in late October 2021.

past excellence award winners with John Baker

2021 Excellence Award Winner Badge

2021 D2L Excellence Award Winners

Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence

Initiative: IT Center of Excellence Curriculum Project

Submission by: Karen LaPlant, Adjunct Faculty


Applicants: Project Team of 10:

  1. Karen LaPlant-Minn State IT Center of Excellence Curriculum Development Project coordinator
  2. Janice Aanenson-Director of Academic Initiatives for Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence
  3. Kim Vossen-Minnesota State IMS Environment User Support Analyst
  4. Travis Morgan-Metro State U Center for Online Learning Instructional Technologist/D2L Admin
  5. Dominic Jennen-Metro State U Center for Online Learning Instructional Technologist
  6. Portia Pusey-Cyber consultant
  7. Rafa Absar-Metro State University faculty
  8. Mousumi Munmun-Metro State University faculty
  9. Omar Mandour-Metro State University grad student
  10. Chayani Navaratne-Metro State University grad student


The Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence, hosted by Metropolitan State University, works closely with industry and educators to attract students and prepare them for work in high-demand industries in Minnesota. Through its Curriculum Project, the Center of Excellence sought to develop or enhance programs in high-demand IT disciplines, including cybersecurity, data science, agile, DevOps, and career readiness, all to meet increased market needs. Brightspace was essential in delivering on-demand IT modules that align with industry standards and incorporate innovative learning technologies and best practices to all 37 campuses within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, including sharing resources with workforce centers, economic development agencies, and other agencies serving the state’s dislocated and underserved populations.

Southern New Hampshire University

Initiative: Higher Education and Real-world Training (HEaRT): A New Ecosystem for Learning

Submission by: Stacey Rosenberg, Associate Dean


  1. Dr. Toni Clayton, Executive Director, SNHU
  2. Dr. Beth VanOrsdale, Ass. Dean of Health Professions, SNHU
  3. Dr. Kristi Dalby, Faculty Lead – Nursing, SNHU
  4. Dr. Jan Wyatt, Ass. VP of Nursing, Health Professions and Academic Administration, SNHU
  5. Laurie Lewis, Early Engagement Partner, SNHU
  6. Marcy Vadurro, Ass. VP Product Marketing – Nursing and Health Professions, SNHU
  7. Dr. Lynn Ward, Ass. Dean of Health Professions, SNHU
  8. Dr. Liz Christman, Clinical Faculty – Nursing, SNHU


As a leader in online education, Southern New Hampshire University knows firsthand that online students face a unique barrier to internships, which are essential to a full educational experience. To address this challenge, it created the Higher Education and Real-World Training initiative, delivered through Brightspace. HEaRT connects learners with employers and allows them to build and demonstrate key skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, team building, and project management. As of March 2021, over 500 students had completed one or more HEaRT challenges.

National Education Partners

Initiative: POST: Building Our Team Through Community Policing

Submission by: Teri Herron, Director, Customized Education


NEP partnered with National University’s Workforce Education Solutions and Peace Officers Standards and Training in late 2020 to create courses that provide effective virtual training in critical areas, including community policing. The design includes seamless integrations of documentary-style videos, scenario- and story-based learning activities, and real-world applicable content provided by law enforcement professionals and community leaders. Brightspace’s versatility, personalization options, and ease of use were essential in delivering the program. The course has received positive results since it began in January, with participants indicating it has greatly increased their understanding and ability to better serve their communities.

Gwinnett County Online Campus

Initiative: Personalized Learning at Gwinnett Online Campus

Submission by: Christine Austin, Assistant Principal

Additional Applicant: Dr. Christopher Ray, Principal


Gwinnett County Online Campus has developed personalized learning courses that empower students to exceed their potential through individualized learning paths designed to support and enrich every learning outcome. With the teacher as the analytical engine, all students receive purposeful and targeted instruction based on their individual strengths and needed areas for growth. This powerful instructional design maximizes learner-focused flexibility and positively contributes to the graduation rate of Gwinnett County Online Campus.

Durham District School Board

Initiative: DDSB’s Professional Learning Hub

Submission by: Danielle Croft, Innovative Education Facilitator

Additional Applicant: Craig Spencer Innovative Education Facilitator and Technology-Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact (TELT) during D2L instance creation and implementation.


The Durham District School Board’s Professional Learning Hub, powered by D2L’s Brightspace, was created as an anytime/anywhere, personalized, on-demand professional development portal for 12,000 Durham District School Board staff. The “Hub” intelligently speaks to the school board’s HR systems so that all employees are greeted with a landing page that highlights online learning modules and resources geared toward their employee role and grouping. Course content is created by a cadre of departmental staff and instructors. Currently, more than 200 active courses and workshops have been made available to staff in the district using this platform.

2021 Guidelines

Award nominations are open to all organizations using the Brightspace platform; including their faculty, staff, and administrators. Nominations can be submitted for an individual, team, program, or organization.

Each winning submission will receive the following prizes:

  • D2L Excellence Award Trophy
  • D2L Swag Prize Pack
  • Two free main conference registrations for the next in-person Fusion event

For further information, or if you have any questions, please send us an email at BrightspaceExcellence@D2L.com.

2021 D2L Excellence Awards Official Rules can be found here.

Nominations for 2021 awards are now closed.