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Two faculty members awarded for excellence in course design

| Author: Logan Pellegrom

Two Central Michigan University faculty were recently recognized as 2022 Exemplary Course Program Award winners by Blackboard. The award recognizes faculty and course designers from schools, colleges and universities around the world who develop engaging and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

Shay Dawson, faculty member in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration, and Dawn Decker, faculty member in the Department of Counseling and Special Education were the two faculty to receive the honor.

Winning courses demonstrate excellence in four areas: course design, interaction and collaboration, assessment, and learner support.

Dawson’s course, RPL 110: Experience of Disability and Social Marginalization, is part of the Disability Studies and Community Inclusion minor and introduces students to people with disabilities and the barriers they may encounter in society. It combines lectures and discussion, and assignments focus on disability in popular culture which Dawson says makes the subject relatable to the students while providing tangible, real-world examples. Students are then challenged to think about accessibility solutions related to their future careers.

Decker’s course, SPE 600: Ethics, Law, and Current Issues in Special Education, is a part of the Master of Arts in Special Education program. During the pandemic, Decker refined new methodologies for teaching virtually as the opportunity to work with new technologies, many of which she would have not considered previously. Stand-out practices of the course include: frequent, scaffolded opportunities for instructor and peer feedback used to improve students' critical thinking skills as the course progressed; multiple resources used to deliver content allowing students to access the content in a variety of ways, and multiple opportunities to apply course content to students’ professional lives and experiences.

“CMU is honored to see Dr. Decker and Dr. Dawson recognized for their efforts to create engaging and innovative instruction. That is at the heart of what we do at CMU,” said Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Richard Rothaus. “Helping students become knowledgeable and prepared community members begins with the hard work of using the best techniques and technology in our course designs, and I am happy to see that work recognized in these awards.”