Tuesday, October 14, 2008

UIS wins national award for quality online education

The University of Illinois at Springfield has won the 2008 Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education from the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C). UIS received the national award for innovative work in using quantitative data in a process of continuous quality improvement to assure excellence in online teaching and learning.

"This inaugural award is one of the highest honors to be granted by the Sloan Consortium," said Ray Schroeder, director of UIS' Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL). "It recognizes the quality and leadership of our online program among the consortium's nearly 1,500 member institutions."

Shown left, OTEL staff are (from left): Ray Schroeder, director; Carrie Levin, assistant director.; Bill Bloemer, research associate; Deborah Antoine, instructional designer; Shari McCurdy Smith, associate director; and Emily Welch Boles, instructional designer.

"We are especially honored to receive this award named after the recently-retired president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Ralph Gomory. The support of Dr. Gomory and the foundation have been invaluable in helping UIS become a national leader in the quality, scale, and breadth of online learning that it provides," Schroeder said.

The Sloan Consortium, comprised of nearly 1,500 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning, is a national organization dedicated to quality online teaching. It was created with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The award to UIS was among nine given by the Consortium this year for exceptional online education. The University of Central Florida also received the Gomory Award.

In 2007, UIS won the national award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching & Learning Programming from the Sloan Consortium. In 2002, the Sloan Consortium awarded Schroeder the Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual. And in 2003, Burks Oakley II, visiting research professor in OTEL, received the award.

Online course work began at UIS in 1998 with 30 students. This fall, a total of 1,200 students are enrolled in UIS' 16 fully online degree and degree-completion programs. About half of UIS' 4,711 students are taking at least one online class.

With substantial support from the Sloan Foundation and others, UIS has embraced online learning, integrating online courses and programs into its mainstream curriculum. Online classes are taught by the same faculty members and adjunct faculty who teach on campus. More than 135 UIS faculty members are teaching at least one online course this fall.

The Sloan Consortium will present its 2008 awards at the 14th Annual International Conference on Asynchronous Learning Networks: Improving Learning in a Networked World on November 6 in Orlando, Florida.

For more information about UIS' online program, please contact Shari McCurdy at 206-7360 or go to online.uis.edu.

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