Monday, October 03, 2011

UIS professor honored with national Excellence in Online Teaching Award

Dr. Michael Cheney, professor of communication at the University of Illinois Springfield, is being honored with a national Excellence in Online Teaching Award. The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) award is one of the highest honors presented by the group, which is comprised of fellow online educators.

“I am very honored to receive this award. UIS is known for its excellence in online education and I am happy to contribute to that reputation through my work,” Cheney said.

Cheney is known for his popular online courses, which include The Beatles: Popular Music and Society, Political Communication and Writing for Public Relations. In 2010, Cheney’s “Unit 1: Beatles as Mosaic” podcast was the second most downloaded podcast on iTunes U for several weeks. The series was also listed in the “Noteworthy” section of iTunes U.

“It is very exciting for our university to hear that Professor Cheney has earned this prestigious recognition,” said University of Illinois Vice President and UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “The Sloan Consortium has helped UIS become an internationally recognized leader in online learning. We are proud of Professor Cheney’s efforts and his colleagues as they continue to provide leadership in this very important educational area.”

Cheney began using three to four minute podcasts during the Fall Semester of 2005. The weekly podcasts include lectures and supporting material. Students use Apple’s iTunes software to listen to the recordings. The service is offered free of charge to both students and the university.

“I use podcasts in the class as a way to complement the material students are already studying and to provide them with poignant references and information to enhance their understanding of the course,” Cheney said.

Sloan-C awarded three UIS faculty members Outstanding Achievement Awards in 2002, 2003 and 2006. No other university in the country has received more outstanding achievement awards. UIS was recognized with an Institution-Wide Excellence Award in 2007 and the Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education in 2008. In 2010, Ray Schroeder, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) was awarded the inaugural A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award. The UIS Teacher Leadership Program was also honored the same year with the Outstanding Online Program Award.

The Sloan Consortium is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. Membership in Sloan-C provides knowledge, practice, community, and direction for educators. Originally funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, it is now a non-profit, member sustained organization.

The Excellence in Online Teaching Award will be presented to Cheney during the 17th-Annual International Conference on Online Learning: Online Teaching, Learning and Research in the New Media Ecology, in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011.

For more information, contact Ray Schroeder at 217/206-7531 or email

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