• Columbia Southern University Faculty, Staff Receive Awards for Innovative Course Design

    ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – For another consecutive year, Columbia Southern University has been named as one of the winners of Blackboard, Inc.’s 2022 Exemplary Course Program (ECP) Awards for excellent course design. Winning two of the 43 awards that were given to an international collection of higher education institutions,  these are the university’s seventh and eighth Blackboard awards.  

    The Exemplary 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.CSU exemplary awards2.jpg

    One award honors the work of CSU professor Jim Marion, Ph.D., and instructional designer Cheryl Kula, PMP,  for their work creating the Project Stakeholders course. The second award goes to instructional designer Elizabeth MacWhinnie, professor John Willey, Ph.D., and Renee Reynolds, Ph.D., for their work on an English Composition II course.  

    The courses are judged on excellence in the following four areas:


    • Assessment: the evaluation of student work toward the achievement of learning outcomes and the quality and type of student assessments.
    • 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.
    • Learner Support: the resources made available to students, which may be accessible within or external to the course environment.CSU exemplary awards1.jpg


    According to MacWhinnie, who has also won a Blackboard Catalyst award, English Composition II is an integrated learning resource course that teaches students the core skills for academic writing through interactive lessons, videos, practice, and examples.

    “The assignment structure really stands out in this course as students write one paper throughout the course, learn one element of writing at a time, and receive thorough feedback from faculty throughout the writing process,” she explained.

    Kula, a two-time ECP award winner who worked with Marion, enjoyed working on the Project Stakeholders business course. “We were very focused on putting together a course that will keep students engaged and give them some real-world practice as project managers.”

    For nearly two decades, the Exemplary Course Program has honored instructors and course designers whose courses demonstrate best practices. The Exemplary Course Program Awards were expanded when Blackboard, Inc., merged with Anthology in 2021.

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    About Columbia Southern University

    As an innovator in online education, CSU was established in 1993 to provide an alternative to the traditional university experience. CSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees such as business administration, criminal justice, fire administration and occupational safety and health. Visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu or call (877) 347-6050 to learn more

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