Two CMU classes honored with Blackboard Exemplary Course Award

Courses recognized for being technology-rich, engaging, pedagogically sound

Two Central Michigan University courses were recently honored for their modern approach to academics with the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award. The award recognizes faculty and course designers from schools, colleges, and universities around the world who develop engaging and innovative courses that represent the best in technology and learning.

CMU's introduction to quantitative biology and nursing leadership and health systems courses were honored with the award.

"Winning these awards is timely recognition of several things, including the faculty's commitment to providing a variety of learning experiences as well as the university's overall interest in and commitment to learning in a variety of formats," said Jeremy Bond, CMU's director of instructional development.

In its online format, introduction to quantitative biology in the Department of Biology covers a broad range of life-science topics, emphasizing scientific thinking, numerical data, quantitative analyses and corresponding hands-on laboratory exercises. The three-credit course fulfills two general education requirements for undergraduate students and is intended for non-science majors.

biology course
A screen shot of the quantitative biology course, taught by Sarah Learman.

"This award means potential," said Sarah Learman, who developed and taught the course and is now a teaching and learning consultant. "I hope my peers see this as something they can do as well. This course wasn't written overnight — it took nine years, three iterations and many failures. It's a challenging process but ultimately rewarding, especially with all of the help and support available across the university."

>> Learn more about biology at CMU

Nursing leadership and health systems is one of the required core courses in CMU's online RN-to-BSN program, which provides registered nurses the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree while continuing their careers. The course expands previous knowledge and skills required for leadership and management roles within health care, including health policy, finance and regulation.

nursing course
A screen shot of the nursing leadership and health systems course, taught by Kechinyere Iheduru-Anderson.

"This award is an acknowledgment for all of the hard work I, as well as my peers in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support, put into the course," said Kechinyere Iheduru-Anderson, who teaches the nursing course and is the director of nursing in The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions. "It's not easy to develop a course and be recognized by your peers and this is an honor."

>>Learn more about CMU's online RN-to-BSN program

Both courses demonstrate excellence in:

  • Course Design: The elements of instructional design, such as its structure, learning objectives, and instructional strategies.
  • Interaction and Collaboration: The level of engagement offered by the course and the level of student interaction and collaboration is an example of active learning.
  • Assessment: The evaluation of student work toward the achievement of learning outcomes and the quality and type of student assessments focuses on real-world results.
  • Learner Support: The resources made available to students, which may be accessible within or external to the course environment.

"I am pleased to welcome these instructors to the ECP family," said Lee Blakemore, chief client officer and president of global markets at Blackboard. "Now more than ever, educators are challenged with creating engaging and effective courses. This 2020 cohort is among the best of the best for engaging and maximizing learning outcomes for students."

Learman and Iheduru-Anderson are being recognized alongside other outstanding recipients on the Blackboard website as well as in Blackboard Community, a platform where the largest organized network of Blackboard users connect, collaborate and learn from their peers.

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