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Art faculty members win Blackboard Catalyst Award for innovative online class

Seder Burns and Phoebe Ballard, faculty members in the UT Department of Art, won a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Program, which honors the design and development of innovative classes that represent the best in technology and learning.

Seder Burns and Phoebe Ballard, who received a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Program for their digital media class, stand outside the Center for the Visual Arts.

Seder Burns and Phoebe Ballard, who received a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Program for their digital media class, stand outside the Center for the Visual Arts.

Their online course, Fundamentals of Digital Media, also was one of 10 exemplary course winners recognized as Directors’ Choice for Courses With Distinction.

Part of the annual Blackboard Catalyst Awards Program since 2000, the Exemplary Course Program Award highlights technologically rich, engaging, well-designed and pedagogically sound courses that showcase best practices for the user community. More than 160 entries were evaluated in a peer-review process by more than 300 faculty and instructional designers. Submissions were judged on course design, interaction, collaboration, assessment and learner support.

“The Exemplary Course Program gives faculty of online and blended courses the opportunity to reflect on their own course design and to gain new insights about best practices in online instruction,” said Ballard, UT instructor of art, senior instructional designer in UT Learning Ventures, and University alumna. “Using the Exemplary Course Rubric, we were able to identify unique and exemplary design elements that make Fundamentals of Digital Media a high-quality, interactive and engaging learning experience for our online students.”

The Blackboard Catalyst Awards annually recognizes innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where teachers and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology.

“Catalyst Award winners represent some of today’s finest examples of leveraging technology to improve the education experience,” said Ray Henderson, chief technology officer and president of academic platforms at Blackboard. “Each winner has established best-in-field approaches in critical areas, including online learning, course development, school communication and mobile education. We congratulate the winners on their vision and their excellent work.” 


Burns, lecturer in the Art Department, and Ballard will be honored alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld, Blackboard’s annual user conference, in July in Las Vegas. Additionally, their course will be highlighted on the Blackboard Catalyst Award website at blackboard.com/catalyst.

To learn more about UT’s online degree and certificate programs, visit utoledo.edu/dl, email UTDL@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.8835.