We really focus on the student experience in our course development process.
RICHMOND, Ky. (PRWEB) July 19, 2019
An Eastern Kentucky University online course created for the master of arts in teaching (MAT) program has won a 2019 Catalyst Award from Blackboard, Inc.
Dr. April Blakely, director of online programs for the College of Education, and Esther Tattershall, an instructional designer with the Office of eCampus Learning received the honor in the category of Teaching and Learning for their work on EGC 820 – Professional Studies I.
Catalyst Teaching and Learning awards recognize exemplary work in distance and online education. Achievements include innovative use of the Blackboard online education platform, enhanced learning, and increased flexibility for both instructors and students.
“This is the first course that students take in the master of arts in teaching program,” said Blakely. “Many of them have never taken an online course before, so it is essential that we use this opportunity to familiarize them with Blackboard and orient them to critical progressions within their degree.”
An orientation video was added to introduce students to the coursework and the learning platform. It highlights tools students use frequently throughout their online program such as discussion boards, journals and video conferencing. The design team also focused on organization and navigation within the course. The format matches that of the other graduate education courses students will take throughout the program. At the end of every assignment, Blakely and Tattershall give students an opportunity to submit feedback, so improvements can be made in real time.
The MAT program prepares future teachers to work with students in preschool through 12th grade. Since today’s educators employ numerous digital tools in their teaching, the design team included carefully curated technology that both stimulates learning in the graduate coursework and introduces students to tools they can eventually use in their own classrooms.
“We really focus on the student experience in our course development process. The ongoing learner reflections and self-assessments in EGC 820 are particularly strong aspects of the course design,” Tattershall said.
Engagement is critical to success in the online learning environment for faculty and students. Blakely and Tattershall used self-assessments to give students multiple attempts to test their knowledge throughout the course. They also looked for ways to make activities highly relevant to those who teach children, such as incorporating instructional content about food insecurity in the United States. To ensure students receive constructive, individualized feedback, Blakely records audio commentary and speaks directly to students about their assignments.
EKU’s online degree programs are ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report. More than 3,400 students are pursuing degrees and certificates with EKU Online. The EKU College of Education offers numerous online graduate degrees and certificates, including the MAT, the master of arts in education (MAEd) and the specialist in education (EdS) degree.
To learn more, visit http://www.go.eku.edu/educatalyst19.