2019 Catalyst Winners

Document created by alexjanke on Jun 24, 2019Last modified by sherynanthes on Jul 17, 2019
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Leading Change:

This award recognizes institutions that have developed practices and/or technologies that have had a measurable effect on learning outcomes, student performance, or academic progression. The winners are:

  • Command & General Staff College, US Army: Michelle Miller
    • The Command and General Staff College (CGSC) implemented a Comprehensive Exam, most commonly referred to as the “X100”, for their students which has improved the rigor of the courseware, raised their academic bar, and changed the way the CGSC does business. The X100 has proven to be an enormous success; greatly due to its educational value and the technological step forward it has provided for students.
  • Higher Colleges of Technology: Azim AhmedSaravana Moorthy & Dr. Jihad Mohaidat
    • The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) have mandated Blackboard’s Grade Center as the university’s official grading platform. As a result, all 17 campuses of the university have been positively impacted and Blackboard’s Grade Center is now the official grading platform of all the HCT campuses.
  • North Dakota University System: Corey Quirk, Janna Kruckenberg, Kelly Restad, Chad Gratton,  Randy Wald, Patti Heisler, Cheryl Thompson, Angela O’Leary, Darin King, Dirk Huggett, Jerry Rostad, & Jody French
    • The North Dakota University System implemented Blackboard Learn as the learning management system (LMS) that would be shared by all 11 of their institutions. Students and faculty who attend or teach at multiple campuses now have a single LMS and a single system login to access all their courses in one place, making the entire experience more efficient and easier.
  • Sam Houston State University Online: The SHSU Online Operations Leadership Team ( Jacob Spradlin, Madelyn Kilgore, Ray Scheel, Thomas Sosebee, Jay Wilson, Ruth Chisum, Daniel Walker, & Kedal Tew)
    • After Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston, Sam Houston State University contextualized a contingency initiative to prepare 181 emergency online course sections of a shortened semester schedule through Blackboard Learn. This allowed for students and faculty who were affected by the disaster to focus on getting their lives back in order, without having to drop out of school.
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas: Norma Silvana, Silvana Balarezo, Juan Nazario, Manuel Bazalar, Diego Nue, Ian Martinez, Nancy Olmos, Isabel Arana, Roberto Bustamante, Jessica Vlasica
    • After migrating from Moodle to Blackboard at the end of 2012, The Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas designed activities and courses that asked instructors and students to identify challenges and opportunities for improvement. In addition, instructors knowledgeable of the platform became strategic partners and shared their good practices. As a result, platform use skyrocketed significantly.
  • Wake Technical Community College: Laila Shadid-El, Bryan Ryan, Kai Wang, Pooneh Lari, Carlos McCormick, Chris Roddenberry, Thomas Rankin, Matthew Henry, Shelley Evans, Cynthia Bowers, Belinda Profitko, Sarah Rothman, Amy MacDonald, Carla McMullen
    • Wake Technical Community College’s COMPASS project, a US Department of Education First in the World grant project, was designed to improve retention and success rates of students in online courses. Through project COMPASS, Wake Technical Community College has seen positive impacts on the withdrawal and the success rates, not only on students of color, but students overall as well.


Community Engagement:

This award recognizes clients who are improving student achievement by fostering a connection between school districts, institutions, educators, students, and their communities. The winners are:

  • Florida Virtual School: FLVS Marketing & Communications Team (Suzan Kurdak, Marissa Draeger, Kate Lysaught, Nicole Burruezo, Tania Clow, Tricia Sawyer, Stephanie Bauchle, & Jay Johnson)
    • In conjunction with Computer Science Education Week, Florida Virtual School (FLVS) hosted a Computer Science Student Contest #FLVSCODES Campaign in order to encourage students to think about computer science and share their love for technology. This was a way to encourage participation in STEM across FLVS’s K-12 curriculum.
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas: Isabel Arana, Jorge Bossio, Cleofe Vergara, Silvana Balarezo, Juan Nazario, & Manuel Bazalar
    • The Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) improved upon the communication and dissemination of activities and academic events among their community.
  • Durham University: DCAD: Digital Education Team (Malcolm Murray, Julie Mulvey and Ross Parker)
    • For the last 19 years the Learning Technologies Team have run the largest Blackboard UK user community event at Durham University. They currently organizing their 20th Anniversary conference. Their aim is to provide a low cost community event whilst providing an engaging experience for attendees, in order to allow teams of people to attend and kick start off the new year with new ideas, new connections and passion to try out something new.

  • University of York: Bloomsbury Learning Environment, Sarah Sherman, & Amy Eyre 
    • The Blackboard Mobile and Collaborate User Group (MoCo) launched 2 year ago and is led by two volunteers (Sarah Sherman, from the Bloomsbury Learning Environment Service and Amy Eyre, from the University of York). The purpose of the community is to foster the sharing of best practice (technical and pedagogical) and help members to get the best out of the Blackboard technologies. The group has over 350 members and continues to grow. As a community of practice, they work together to improve, support and encourage the use of the Blackboard Mobile and Collaborate tools within their institutions.


Teaching and Learning:

This award recognizes those who have adopted flexible, distance and delivery, including using mobile technologies to positively impact the educational experience. The winners are:

  • Boise State University: Krishna Pakala
    • Krishna Pakala has designed exceptional undergraduate level engineering courses that include clearly presented course goals and objectives, content, ample opportunities for learner engagement, and the appropriate use of educational technologies within and outside the learning management system. This course has allowed students to engage with the instructor and peers through built in opportunities to interact and collaborate.
  • Davidson Academy Online: Jessica Potts
    • In recent years, the funding for elective classes has diminished, but the Davidson Academy offers more than a dozen electives with plans to expand the offerings in the coming years. Electives increase intellectual curiosity and provide students with a break from their rigorous work week. Electives that include literacy or presentation components have been proven to improve both literacy and oral skills.
  • Eastern Kentucky University: Christopher Daniel, Dr. Margaret Zoellers, Dr. Alison Connell, Dr. Angela Wood, and Dr. Brenda Caudill

    o   The Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program at Eastern Kentucky University creates possibilities for students who are not able to attend a bricks-and-mortar FNP program. The Eastern Kentucky University FNP program has graduated over 375 nurse practitioners, with many returning to their own rural communities because of a shortage of primary care providers.
  • Eastern Kentucky University: Esther Tattershall and Dr. April Blakely

    o   Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Educational Graduate Online Learning program has worked extensively since 2010 to integrate the best instructional design practices into its 100% online degree programs. The College established a uniform Blackboard shell design used in all online courses so that students don’t have to relearn course structures in every new course for which they enroll.
  • Indian River State College: Leigh Clay
    • The Criminal Justice Department at Indian River State College collaborated with the Virtual Campus to create a textbook-free associate’s in science degree. The initiative, called Project OER (open educational resources) initially targeted online learners, but the project has expanded to blended and face-to-face classes as well.
  • Universidad CNCI: Ericka Oaxaca
    • As part of the knowledge diffusion initiatives of the Universidad Virtual CNCI, the first Multidisciplinary Virtual Congress: Technology and Innovation was held. The main impact and achievements were setting precedents on the way in which virtual academic events are conceived, demonstrating that they are feasible and as substantial as face-to-face events.
  • University of St. Thomas, Houston: Catherine Barber
    • The Research Program of the University of St. Thomas School of Education and Human Services provides online or hybrid instruction to Master of Education-level learners across a wide variety of educational disciplines such as educational leadership, school counseling, educational diagnostician, and more. As a result, learners’ writing and research skills have improved, learner satisfaction with their experience in the courses is high, and the instructors report high levels of instructional effectiveness.
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Ramiro de la Rosa, Ph.D.
    • Ramiro de la Rosa at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley positively impacted the educational experience by providing students with familiar, consistent course design in three fully online, gamified, Quality Matters aligned courses, using only Blackboard Learn tools. While developing the course, Ramiro de la Rosa realized that gamification could be a promising new pedagogy for online courses, but faculty should caution that the implementation of gamification does not become overwhelming and that it is not about which gamification elements that can be incorporated but which ones best fit the course.
  • University of Liverpool: Beu Wu and Will Moindrot
    • The University of Liverpool Management School developed an online course for pre-arrival students helping to establish a supportive community of learners that is ready to engage with each other, starting to think about career readiness and getting the most out of studies and extra-curricular opportunities.
  • University of Edinburgh: Law School Online Learning VLE Migration Project Team (Lucy Gaunt, Neil Davidson and Jon Jack)

    • Between October 2017 and January 2019, a cross-divisional team of staff from Edinburgh Law School and the University’s Digital Learning Applications & Media (DLAM) have worked closely together to transition the Law School’s entire portfolio of postgraduate taught courses delivered via online learning from an aging bespoke VLE to Blackboard Learn. This included migrating thousands of pages of content.

Inclusive Education:

This award honors those institutions whose methods have ensured their pedagogy, content, technology, and educational services are fully inclusive and supportive of all learners with disabilities. The winners are:

  • Medical University of South Carolina: Melissa Hortman, Alex Walters, Mohja Jerbi, & Daniel Berg
    • The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) was able to utilize data to inform decisions on levels of awareness and targeted coaching to empower faculty to provide an equitable learning experience. By using Blackboard Ally to learn what accessibility issues mean and how to make the necessary changes, faculty increased the usability of their course documents by 29% across four semesters.
  • The University of Texas at El Paso: Julio Batiz, Jesus Presa-Quiroz, Cira Montoya Olson, Radamés Gómez, David Gonzalez, Katrina Enriquez, & Aime Valdez
    • The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) first incorporated Blackboard Ally to obtain an idea of where the institution stood in terms of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The UTEP Center for Instructional Design and the University’s Help Desk then created a series of workshops that included face-to-face workshops and multiple online webinars to give faculty a greater understanding of Ally.
  • University of Derby: Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching
    • The University of Derby introduced the “Digital Practice Programme Baselines” as a framework to benchmark practice and support enhancements to the student digital learning experience. This institutional commitment and their approach to inclusive practice and the implementation of Ally in the past fourteen months highlights outstanding ‘Inclusive Education’.

  • Bishop Grosseteste University: Dr. Claire Thomson, Dr. Sue Cordell, James Duke, & Mark Hall
    • Bishop Grosseteste University is focused on supporting a commitment to recruiting students from non-traditional backgrounds. The project served to bring about a significant increase in the use of accessibility tools across the University and in the levels of accessibility of VLE content created and developed by academic and professional staff. Thisinvolved introducing access to alternative formats for students and enhancing stakeholders’ understanding of the importance of accessible content. They leverage Blackboard Ally  When running the initial Ally report, they had a score of 53%, after implementation of this initiative, they increased score to 70%.


Optimizing Student Experience:

This award honors those institutions whose educational and administrative innovations have markedly improved the total learner experience. The winners are:

  • Grand Valley State University: Szymon Machajewski
    • Szymon Machajewski contributed a number of initiatives on the global campus of the Blackboard Community, the campus of University of Illinois at Chicago and Grand Valley State University (GVSU). These included a photo roster custom software to promote inclusive teaching, Blackboard goals adoption at GVSU to promote student academic success, gamification software for a class of 1,700 first year students, and more.
  • Norfolk State University: Shelley Scott-Johnson
    • Shelley Scott-Johnson created an organization for the Patricia Lynch Stith Student Success Center to provide the advisors with a portal to reach more students. The advisors in the Student Success Center are now able to advise students virtually using Blackboard Collaborate, assist student outside of normal business hours, help students with interpreting their transcripts virtually, and facilitate group workshops.
  • Northwest Florida State College: Deidre Price, Cole Allen, & Dr. Nathaniel Slaton
    • Northwest Florida State College radically transformed its approach to Student Services by literally and figuratively knocking down walls, in person and online, to clear the path for incoming and current students. Its new College President set three projects into motion, including the implementation of Blackboard products, including Blackboard Learn (all Ultra classrooms), Ally, and Analytics for Learn to drastically change the communication to students and among departments to promote student success measures across campus.
  • Zayed University: Dr. Adam Marks
    • The Zayed University office of the provost – academic technology unit, in cooperation with other university units, proposed a solution using Blackboard analytics to alleviate some challenges faced in assessing learning outcomes, courses, and programs. The analysis of student performance was instrumental in optimizing the learning experience for students and assisted the university in better understanding the student learning experience.
  • University of Reading: The EMA Programme Team
    • The University of Reading  created a vision for all summative coursework to be submitted, marked and feedback provided electronically through Blackboard. They launched the Electronic Management of Assessment Programme to enable a consistent student assessment experience, provide an improved assessment experience for staff and to reduce the administrative burden of assessment for the University.


Professional Development:

This award recognizes those who use Blackboard programs to support and enhance professional development within or outside of their organization. The winners are:

  • Angelo State University: Rebecca Schkade & Team (Lauren Alcala, Jessica Albus, Brian Jackson, Joey Hereford)
    • The Angelo State University (ASU) Information Technology Team implemented a specialized grade submission process tool through Blackboard that allowed faculty the ability to submit grades directly into the ASU student information system. This tool saves time and minimizes human error in transferring grades from one another system to another.
  • Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires: Juan Manuel Pachon & Florencia Moore
    • The Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) created a help portal for teachers in Blackboard Learn with several sections to assist teachers in the learning management system such as videos, teacher recommendations, materials, and news. ITBA  focuses on 3 key points (Instructor Portal, OnLine Course and On Demand Consulting meetings) as a continuous improvement based on feedback and interviews with deans, instructors and staff members of the institution to promote teaching beyond the physical classroom.
  • National University: Heather Leslie, Ashley Kovacs, & Alejandra Lizardo
    • National University designed a course specifically for faculty called “Enhanced Teaching & Learning Strategies” (ETLS) in online teaching professional development. As a result, faculty saw an improvement in student outcomes, satisfaction, and engagement within their courses.
  • Sam Houston State University: Ruth Chisum & Sam Houston State University Online Operations Leadership Team
    • The Sam Houston State University Online Operations department launched a system wide initiative intended to facilitate the development of online competencies for faculty teaching online in the Texas State University School System. This enhanced the quality, delivery, and rigor of online courses offered through Blackboard across the entire Texas State University System.
  • The University of Texas at El Paso: Steven Varela & Francisco Poblano
    • Technology Support Services/Creative Studios developed a cohort-based, professional development experience for instructors at The University of Texas at El Paso called “Transforming Teaching and Learning: The Blackboard Institute.” This Blackboard Institute helps faculty learn how to maximize their use of Blackboard tools and functionality for teaching, learning and research.
  • Washtenaw Community College: Nancy Collison, Patricia Campbell, & Sean Thomas
    • In preparation for Washtenaw Community College’s (WCC) campaign to increase Blackboard adoption and use, and in support of student success and retention, WCC implemented an initiative to ensure that each semester, all faculty had a Blackboard course site. WCC also redesigned a program entitled the “Blackboard Blackbelt Master Workshop Series” which is a comprehensive set of well-organized sessions covering a wide range of Blackboard tools, along with discussion on implementing and designing intuitive course sites for student success.


Student Success: 

This award recognizes individuals and/or institutions whose creative program application has led to increased retention, increased completion, and/or improved outcomes. The winners are:

  • Grupo Ser Educacional SA: Enzo Moreira, Fabio Silva de Seixas Maia, & Fabio Leonardo Freitas e Souza
    • The Distance Education team of Grupo Ser Educacional developed the retention project which is aimed at promoting strategies able to combine Blackboard Analytics for Learn resources with motivational techniques of Distance Education. After this project was implemented, evasion reduced by 15% in 2018 compared to 2017.
  • IESE Business School University of Navarra: Angel Pallares & Miguel Hernandez
    • IESE launched new attendance and grading tools that allows their professors to implement new strategies such as establishing a seating chart and monitoring who attends class. Students are able to access materials and learn more about their professors. These new tools help increase student success within their global programs.
  • Keiser University: Sherry Olsen, Kelley Segers, Caseylyn Allen, Erskine Walther, Leon Deutsch, Tom Burgett, Amanda Razo, Mary Petersen, Kimberly Scott, Airin Miller, Deane McMurry, Rhoda Keener, & Jay Greiner
    • Keiser University redesigned their Blackboard online student orientation course to include increased academic presence, encourage participation, and allow students to be eligible for a Badge certification of completion. The significance of this achievement was displayed in positive feedback in student surveys and increased participation in the badging process.