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MA: DTCE wins 2012 Blackboard Catalyst award

Drew Whitworth, MA: DTCE Programme Director, receiving the award from Blackboard's President (Academic Platforms), Ray Henderson
Drew Whitworth, MA: DTCE Programme Director, receiving the award from Blackboard’s President (Academic Platforms), Ray Henderson

The MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education was this month awarded a prestigious international award for teaching, the Blackboard Catalyst award. These awards “honor those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences” (from the Blackboard Catalyst awards page).

The award was given under the ‘Communications Strategy’ category: “Award recipients will have demonstrated results that have driven student success through improved grades/ scores, increased attendance or retention, or stronger stakeholder engagement.” In the citation, the MA: DTCE was praised for “making efforts to bring distance learners fully into the learning community at Manchester”.

The award specifically recognises the work done in the two core, foundational course units of the MA, The Development of Educational Technology and Communication in Education, on which distance and on-campus learners work together on activities, directly communicating so they understand each others’ different learning environments, and then reflect on the experience.

The award was given at the 2012 Blackboard World conference in New Orleans on 12th July.


MA: DTCE course unit given ‘Honorable Mention’ in international contest

Working groups in the DET course
Working groups in the DET course, each of which contains both online and on-campus students

The MA: DTCE core course unit,The Development of Educational Technology (DET), has received ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Blackboard Catalyst awards, under the category, ‘Communication Strategies’. This is an international contest and course tutor, Dr Drew Whitworth, will be travelling to New Orleans in July 2012 to receive the award at the annual BbWorld conference.

The award was given for the course unit’s innovative approach to bringing together online and on-campus students in the same ‘working groups’ (tutorial groups) – an unusual arrangement, as online and on-campus students are normally taught separately. The judges also commended the unit for its commitment to having students reflect on the nature of the learning environment, including having on-campus students take at least one class in a fully online environment and then write about the experience afterwards.

The MA: DTCE team is very happy to receive this award and we believe it is a recognition of the quality and creativity of the course. All students take DET in their first semester of study, thus it is the first unit taken by distance learning students, and is expressly set up to help these students become accustomed to the reflective and engaging methods used on the degree as a whole. We look forward to posting updates from the trip to New Orleans in July!


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