Nipissing U Teaching Center team honored with an award



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The Nipissing University Teaching Center team received a Blackboard Catalyst Award, making it the only Canadian university to receive one this year.

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Nipissing was honored in the Student Achievement category, which recognizes individuals, institutions, or both whose creative application of the program has led to increased retention, increased completion, better student outcomes, or combination of the three.

The university has been recognized by Blackboard Inc., a global EdTech software and solutions company. The annual Catalyst Awards are in their 16th year.

“At Nipissing, our focus on student success is embedded in all facets of the university, including the online learning environment. In this unprecedented year, it is an honor for our teaching center team to be recognized for their ability to leverage technology for student success, â€said Arja Vainio-Mattila, Rector and vice president of studies and research at Nipissing University, in a statement.

Nipissing’s award-winning team includes five Learning Systems Technologists (LST) – Chris Bird, Rob Boulet, Kyle Charron, Mark Giddens and Mary Toye – and four e-learning partners (OLP) – Brianna Dos Santos, Tate Drynan, Kathryn Schefter and Miranda Wilby.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, LSTs worked with instructors to redesign their onsite courses for a quick online transition, according to the university.

They helped identify at-risk students who needed more support in online learning and celebrated and praised the highly engaged students for their efforts.

The Online Learning Partners program was also created to provide students with peer-to-peer support related to online learning through the Blackboard platform.

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“In the education center, we are always looking for ways to innovate and excel, and the pandemic has shown our ability to do that,†said Pat Maher, dean of education at Nipissing University.

“I am incredibly proud of the team and the support they were able to provide to faculty and students as everyone adjusted to the new online learning environment.

Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts.

Winners from around the world will be honored at BbWorld, Blackboard’s annual global conference, to be held virtually over a two-week period, July 13-15 and July 20-22.

The 58 winners were selected from 130 nominees, the highest number since the start of the Catalyst Awards program. Applications came from institutions in 17 countries.

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