October 1, 2009
Contact: Russell Poulin, Associate Director, WCET
Boulder, Colorado – WCET announces the recipients of the 2009 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award, a competition that recognizes innovative uses of educational technologies in higher education. WCET recognizes these efforts that include increasing the academic effectiveness of programs and the quality of online courses, improving student interactions with faculty and other students, and using online courses to improve student outcomes on a statewide graduation exam.
“The WOW Award represents a way to recognize and celebrate the best and most promising practices within the WCET community,” says Janet Kendall, WCET Awards Committee chair and Director of Distance Degree Programs for Washington State University. “For the 2009 WOW Award, there was a wonderful group of nominations that made the committee’s job especially difficult. This year’s recipients reinforced the value of innovative solutions that improve access both to higher education and the teaching and learning process itself.”
The 2009 WOW recipients include:
California Virtual Campus’s California High School Exit Examination Preparation Initiative-Stepping into Your Future Program with its two online courses that have improved student retention and pass rates for K-12 students preparing for California’s English and Math high school exit exams.
Capella University’s Capitalizing on Course Assessments at the Institutional Level for creating systems that maximize knowledge about the effectiveness of its online degree programs. That knowledge is used to improve course quality, assure the delivery of the intended learning outcomes, and report publicly on learner achievement of these outcomes.
University of Maryland University College’s UMUC 111 Virtual Meet & Greet for creating a relaxed, online environment for students, faculty and staff to discuss issues of concern to students, to provide help and advice to students, and to create connections that encourage persistence and retention.
WCET (www.wcet.info), is a membership cooperative of institutions and organizations dedicated to advancing access and excellence in higher education through the innovative use of technology. Celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, WCET has members in 46 states and six countries.
LONGER DESCRIPTIONS OF THE 2009 WCET WOW AWARD RECIPIENTS
California Virtual Campus
California High School Exit Examination Preparation Initiative-CAHSEE- Stepping into Your Future Program
Teachers, faculty, and staff from the K-20 education community, public libraries and nonprofit community technology centers worked together to develop and support student access to two engaging courses that prepare students for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). This K20 California Educational Technology Collaborative (CETC)—known as 'Stepping into Your Future!'— connects students across the state to an innovative and comprehensive instructional program. Through a combination of interactive technologies, online learning resources, and face-to-face meetings, students have access to “any place, any time” teaching of active reading, writing, Math, and test taking strategies. More than 2,600 teachers and students in 40 of California’s 58 counties have been served by the program. Increased student retention and pass rates of 36% for English Language Arts (ELA) and 45% for Math have resulted. This is highlighted by an 85% average between ELA and Math for students reporting a native language other than English and survey data showing the majority of students had previously failed the test 3 to 5 times.
The strength-based program is grounded in research and provides a seamless point of entry for students, access to the learning material, data collections and participation in live, synchronized learning sessions. The technology provides a flexible, cost-effective distribution model. Interactive lessons, video ‘mini lectures’, and a Web-based conferencing tool ( allowing instructors to ‘meet’ with students from across the state) are hosted on an open source learning management system.
Contact: Pam Thompson
Title: Project Director, CAHSEE-Stepping into Your Future
Contact: Elizabeth Yeager
Title: Executive Director, Center for Literacy and Inquiry in Networking Communities; UC Santa Barbara
Contact: Douglas Cremer
Title: Executive Director, California Community College Technology Center
Shown here: Doug Cremer, Stephanie Couch, Pam Thompson, and LeBaron Woodyard.
Capella University Capitalizing on Course Assessments at the Institutional Level
As part of Capella University’s longstanding commitment to accountability, Capella is a member of the Transparency by Design consortium, a group of institutions who serve adult learners by providing the comprehensive information needed to make informed choices about which higher-education programs will best meet their educational and career goals.
Capella’s commitment to Transparency by Design requires reporting on the learning outcomes of our students who have completed their programs on the College Choices for Adults website. To make this data truly meaningful for continuous quality improvement, we also require data on how our students are performing throughout their academic path. Capella is building an infrastructure which maximizes the knowledge we have about the effectiveness of our degree programs, and the delivery of our intended learning outcomes, which we call the Learning and Career Outcomes (LCO) infrastructure.
LCO will capture all of a Capella student’s curricular alignment relationships and performance data from all course level assessments. This academic model serves as the foundation for delivering analytic reports that detail how well our students are achieving the program outcomes, while also finding opportunities for improvement. Capella is an outcomes-based institution and the LCO infrastructure has already been invaluable in our work toward continuous quality improvement.
Contact: Irene Silber
Title: Director of Public Relations
Director of Assessment & Institutional Research
School of Education
Manager of Assessment
Office of Assessment and Institutional Research
University of Maryland University College UMUC 111 Virtual Meet & Greet
UMUC 111: This virtual “Meet & Greet” was created to proactively encourage positive, relaxed interactions between UMUC administration and students in an online environment. Students, faculty, and staff met in synchronous and asynchronous forums to discuss issues of concern to students, to gather feedback and thoughts of students, to discuss the undergraduate computing programs offered by UMUC, to provide help and advice to students, and to create connections that encourage persistence and retention.
Project organizers had modest goals, as it is often difficult for adult students to find time to participate in forums, chats, or extra dialogue on top of their careers, families, and schoolwork. CITE administrators hoped to have 20 to 30 students participate (defined as either posting at least one asynchronous message or attend at least one synchronous chat) in the November UMUC 111 class.
UMUC administrators and faculty were surprised and pleased when more than 100 students participated in the first meet & greet. The level of participation was higher than either face-to-face or online open houses. Students taking surveys evaluating this event gave it high marks. They almost universally indicated that the session made them feel more connected to the university, the academic department, and their peers within the discipline. Students wanted to communicate and were willing to take time out of their schedules to do so.
Contact: Christopher (Chip) V. Cassano
Title: Director of Public Relations
S. K. Bhaskar
Assistant Dean, Computing
Assistant Vice President,