Award Winners Recognized for Driving Student Engagement, Faculty Efficiency, and Communication Beyond the Classroom
D2L, the EdTech company that created Brightspace, today announced the winners of the 2015 Brightspace Excellence Awards at FUSION 2015. The awards (previously the Desire2EXCEL Awards) recognize educators who have used the Brightspace platform to deliver learning experiences that are innovative, collaborative, or have made an extraordinary impact on learning outcomes. This year’s winners demonstrated exemplary results in student engagement, staff efficiency, and social communication.
“This year’s Brightspace Excellence Award winners are the personification of excellence, both inside the classroom and out,” said John Baker, President and CEO, D2L. “Not only have they innovatively enhanced the teaching and learning experience, they have also driven social change through personalized, accessible education. We’re thrilled to honor these educators and institutions today and cannot wait to see what they achieve in the future.”
BRIGHTSPACE AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE WINNERS:
- Gwinnett Online Campus:
- Christopher Ray, Principal
- Ginger O’Neal, Assistant Principal
- Christine Austin, Coordinator
- Laura Herring, Coordinator
- Marisa Kana, Coordinator
- Center for eLearning and Customized Education, University of Central Oklahoma:
- Stacy Southerland, PhD, Professor of Spanish
- Bucky Dodd, PhD, Executive Director of eLearning and Innovations
- Tracy Fairless, MA, Assistant Director of Instructional Design
- University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Continuing Ed, Outreach & E-Learning Design 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
The Awards for Excellence celebrate inspiration and innovation in the delivery of a teaching and learning experience that is both unique and collaborative.
Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC) leveraged the flexibility of the Brightspace platform to create a blended instructional model through which teachers provide individual attention to each student. GOC implemented interactive, custom-designed interfaces that enabled students to access content by clicking on pictures, rather than providing a list of options, ultimately improving student engagement with the education material. GOC has seen outstanding test results, including its fourth grade scoring first statewide in reading and language arts.
Creating a process to review online teaching and provide career development was a priority for the team from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) Center for eLearning and Customized Education. UCO used Brightspace to develop three online dashboard “hubs” for supporting continuing online course quality and the evaluation of eLearning facilitation and mentoring. By using Brightspace, UCO increased process efficiency, collected data, conducted assessments and analyses, and mentored faculty at no additional cost. As a result, UCO reported 100% retention among online faculty using a discipline-specific facilitators’ dashboard and participating in online teaching review and faculty mentor dashboard initiatives.
The Instructional Design and Development team at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning division used Brightspace to create its groundbreaking “Flexible Option”: the first system-wide, competency-based initiative in the country. The UW Flexible Option lets learners start any month, work at their own pace, and earn credit using knowledge they already have. The program enables working adults who have some college credit or significant work experience to earn the degree they have always wanted, but never had the time to get. The program currently serves over 400 students.
BRIGHTSPACE EXCELLENCE INTEGRATIONS AND EXTENSIBILITY AWARD WINNER:
- University of Guelph’s Open Learning and Educational Support Team:
- Greg Sabatine, Manager, Online Technology
- Scott Merrett, Analyst
- Rich Couto, Courseware Architect
The Excellence in Integrations and Extensibility Award recognizes those who have used Brightspace Valence, the extensibility technology that includes all APIs, client libraries and integration tools, to create a solution that has made an impact on productivity and demonstrates the power of bringing learning technologies together.
The Open Learning and Educational Support Team at the University of Guelph (UofG) increased the overall adoption of Brightspace by connecting their learning environment with a wide range of online activity and applications—including enterprise-level systems and campus-developed applications—while creating custom links to third-party applications and building tools for course development. Staff noted that the technology solves many common teaching issues, especially those around tracking academic misconduct. It also significantly impacted team functioning and course quality.
BRIGHTSPACE EXCELLENCE ACCESSIBILITY AWARD WINNER:
- Marcos Wesley da Silva, Director
- Stela Santos, Teacher
- Herlla Magalhaes, Teacher
- Diany Rodrigues, Educational Coordinator
- Palmira Pereira, Educational Designer
- Manuel Souza, Technology Specialist
The Excellence Award for Accessibility honors those who have demonstrated a superior effort to make online learning accessible to all students, enabling them to reach their full academic potential.
UniEVANGÉLICA, which has a large population of hearing-impaired employees across multiple departments, developed a distance-learning course for Brazilian Sign Language with emphasis on social inclusion in order to enhance workplace interactions between all staff members. To achieve maximum success in the course, UniEVANGÉLICA leveraged the video recording capabilities and interactive tools in Brightspace to provide a unique learning experience for students and teachers alike which transcended the classroom.
Not only did students become proficient in Brazilian Sign Language in society, they noticed a remarkable improvement in their synergy with deaf colleagues, ultimately creating an environment of strong collaboration.