Columbia Southern University Employee Honored for Excellent Course Design


ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – On Tuesday, representatives from Blackboard, Inc., a leader in virtual learning environments and course management systems, journeyed to Columbia Southern University to present instructional designer Julia Hart with the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award for Liberal Arts Math.

The Blackboard Catalyst Awards recognize faculty and course designers from schools, colleges and universities around the world who develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning. The Exemplary Course Program category honors courses demonstrating excellence in four areas: assessment, course design, interaction and collaboration, and learner support. This is the university’s second Blackboard Catalyst Award two years in a row, a rare honor.

“We want to recognize the university for putting forth the resources to expand online development,” said Patricia Hayes, client success advocate for Blackboard, Inc. “The technology alone doesn’t do it. It takes the ability to design and develop and instruct through a computer and that’s difficult to do. So, we wanted to recognize faculty members for taking on that challenge.”

Course writer Megan Bunnell also received special recognition and a certificate of achievement for her efforts with the course program.

“This is a really big honor for me because people in my industry have recognized the hard work that Megan and I have put into this course, to make this course great and to make our students successful,” said Hart during her acceptance speech. “When our students leave CSU, they are ready to go. That’s one of the reasons I’m so proud that I work here.”

The ceremony featured several CSU executives including Dr. Jeffrey Barksdale, provost and chief academic officer; Chantell Cooley, trustee; Ken Styron, president; and Dayna Fuller, director of Instructional Design and Technology.

“The Exemplary Course Program offers the instructional designer and course writer a great opportunity to collaborate and create a quality course design,” said Fuller. “CSU has been fortunate to have two courses recognized in the last two years and we hope to have many more in the future.”