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KCTCS wins award for online training and professional development from Blackboard

Three members of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s (KCTCS) online learning team have won awards for training and professional development from Blackboard, a global ed-tech company.

The KCTCS team received recognition for creating the KCTCS Optimizing Online Learning (KOOL ) Academy and Boot Camp for Hybrid Course Design. Those who created the programs are:

• Juli Gatling Book, online learning special initiatives manager
• Kim Calebs, online learning manager
• Leah Parsons Simpson, executive director for online learning.

KCTCS Online launched its year-long KOOL Academy as an initiative to develop online courses and assist instructors. This program paired current online faculty with instructional experts and used the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP) as a guide for redesigning online courses to meet rigorous quality standards. KOOL Academy combines online instruction with mentorship to develop faculty who can design online courses using evidence-based decision making. The first KOOL Academy cohort took home nearly one-third of the 2020 Blackboard ECP Awards.

In response to COVID-19, KCTCS Online helped shift thousands of courses to hybrid and online formats using The Boot Camp for Hybrid Course Design. This intensive training focuses on rapid Blackboard Learn Ultra course design based on activities where faculty use the tools in their own Ultra template as they move throughout the boot camp. The result is a rapidly designed Ultra course based on best practices.

“Receiving a Blackboard Catalyst Award is a tremendous achievement and honor for our team,” KCTCS Chancellor Kris Williams said. “It’s especially rewarding to be recognized for these innovative programs that assisted our faculty in delivering courses to our students during the pandemic.”

The KCTCS team will be announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2021, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held virtually over a two-week period, July 13-15 and 20-22.
“It’s an honor to recognize this year’s Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to advancing learning and delivering outstanding online education experiences,” said Lee Blakemore, chief client officer and president, global markets at Blackboard. “Their passion for sharing best practices around leveraging technology in innovative ways is helping to drive student success around the globe. In a year like no other, winners demonstrated an unparalleled level of ingenuity and resolve.”

For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, click here.  

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