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TWU Family Sciences Team Wins International Online Course Contest
DENTON — A Texas Woman’s University family sciences team has brought international recognition to the university with a winning entry in a contest that recognizes outstanding online courses.
The team was one of five winning teams in Blackboard’s Bbionic Course Contest™. Educators from the international, K-12 and U.S. higher education communities submitted a total of 69 entries representing a diverse range of course titles. Each of the five winning teams received $5,000 during the Blackboard® Users Conference, held April 12-14 in Baltimore, Md.
The TWU team’s entry was its first in a Learning Management System contest. The team — comprised of assistant professor Mary Bold, associate professor Karen Petty, professor Lillian Chenoweth, and family sciences graduate assistant Sadguna Anasuri — chose to enter the Blackboard contest because it’s the primary web-based course delivery system for TWU, Dr. Bold said.
The course the TWU team chose for its entry was family sexuality, a regular course in the online family studies master’s program. Though the course has been taught for nearly two decades on campus, 2004 marked the first year it was taught completely online, Bold said.
“We had intentionally built a lot of interaction into (the online course),” she said. “We knew we had produced a rich environment.”
The Blackboard Bbionic Course Contest™ was designed to recognize technologically rich and pedagogically sound online courses. The contest featured a lengthy set of guidelines, Bold said, including requiring participants to explain the choices they’d made in implementing the online course. The judges also considered the number of different supports (for visual learners, technical learners, etc.) built into the course.
“Because we teach a graduate program, we do expect our students to be engaged learners,” Bold said. “Still, we did put a lot of attention into the online course, blending many different styles of interaction.”
The team was surprised and excited at winning the contest, Bold said. No decision has been made as to how to spend the prize money, which will be divided among the four team members.
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