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Online Learning Innovations Get Sloan Consortium Recognition

An online certificate program in food security, several programs of study that help educators learn how to deliver instruction online, and multi-degree program that includes online career fairs and webinars with experts were among the recipients of this year's innovation awards from Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C). Later six individuals and five institutions will be recognized by the non-profit, which is dedicated to advancing online instruction by integrating it into mainstream higher education. The awards will be given out during the organization's annual conference, taking place in Lake Buena Vista, FL Nov. 21.

The 2013 Sloan-C Awards will be given to:

  • Susan Manning, a faculty member who helps other instructors prepare to teach online through the University of Wisconsin-Stout;
  • Betty Rambur, who does the same with students in health fields at the University of Vermont. Lone Star College System in Texas whose online program provides 11 online associate degrees and 23 online certificate programs;
  • Jeff Seaman and I. Elaine Allen, who lead the Babson Survey Research Group at Babson University and reported in a survey of online learning that the number of students taking at least one online course has surpassed six million by 2011;
  • Kaye Shelton, an associate professor in educational leadership at Lamar University in Texas;
  • Jack M. Wilson, president emeritus of the University of Massachusetts and a professor of higher education, innovation, and emerging technologies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who has spoken cogently on how MOOCs--massive open online courses--can be integrated with other forms of online learning to help the United States become first ranked in the world in its proportion of college graduates;
  • The Certificate in Food Security, which addresses issues of hunger, malnutrition, distribution of food, and environmental sustainability at Ryerson University's Chang School of Continuing Education;
  • The Master of Science in Biotechnology, University of Maryland University College, which has four specializations, including bioinformatics, biosecurity and biodefense, and regulatory affairs;
  • Office of Distance Education, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which coordinates, organizes, and facilitates online courses, working in tandem with academic colleges, departments, and other institutional stakeholders; and
  • Washington State University Global Campus, which offers online degree programs that include a number of features that attempt to emulate the on-campus experience for students, including online career fairs, a digital pavilion to showcase student research, and Webinars with experts.

"The Sloan-C Awards recognize the tremendous advances in online learning that result from the ideas and initiatives of individuals and colleges and universities globally," said Meg Benke, president of Sloan-C's board of directors.

Added Burks Oakley II, chair of the awards selection committee, "This year's field of nominees implemented an impressive array of innovative approaches, creating a highly competitive selection process. The 2013 recipients have demonstrated exceptional leadership and real success in advancing online education."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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