More than 40 percent of Mizzou students took at least one online class as part of their schedules in academic year 2016. That percent is expected to grow at Mizzou and at universities nationwide in the coming year. Related to the increase in adoption of online learning is a growing focus on quality and outcomes in online learning.
To that end, MU recognized this week two members of the University of Missouri community for their efforts in designing high-quality online courses.
The awards were presented May 17 as part of MU’s annual Celebration of Teaching, at which the Mizzou community comes together to recognize educators for their unique approaches to teaching.
This year’s awards for Outstanding Online Course Design went to Steve Ball and Carmen L. Beck.
“The dedication and creativity demonstrated by Mizzou’s faculty and instructional designers in both in-class and online courses is unmatched,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain. “Successful learning outcomes for our students is our focus regardless of how the class is delivered.”
“It is a privilege to work with educators like Carmen and Steve,” Spain said. “Their enthusiasm and innovative thinking — and that of so many others here at Mizzou — help us provide all Missourians the benefits of a world-class research university. We could not fulfill our mission without them.”
Ball is a State Specialist and Associate Professor of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. His award recognizes his work in designing the online course Introduction to Exercise and Fitness.
Carla Beckmann, Senior Coordinator of Student Services and Records in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, nominated Ball for the honor. “It was and is very important to Dr. Ball that the presentation of online sections be appealing, meaningful and relevant to the students enrolled in the sections while giving the student the feeling of a classroom experience,” Beckmann wrote.
“Dr. Ball’s commitment to providing a learning environment to students is evident by the care he takes in creating the best possible online course. He accomplishes this by using technology with a personal touch,” she wrote.
The second course design award recipient, Beck, is an instructional designer at ET@MO. Her award acknowledges her work on the online course Introduction to Materials Engineering, which Beck designed alongside Angela Jeffrey.
Beck was nominated by Assistant Professor Heather Hunt in the Department of Bioengineering, who teaches the course.
Hunt noted that, by working on the course design with Beck, she “learned so much about best practices in educational technology, as well as teaching in general. … I became a better teacher, a better listener, and a better self-evaluator, because of [Beck’s] work.”
The awards are sponsored by Mizzou Online, which is dedicated to supporting distance students and expanding distance education at MU.
Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler thanked Ball and Beck for their outstanding contributions to MU. “We recently celebrated the commencement of more than 500 MU students who earned their degrees online,” she said. “That outcome is allowing more than 500 people to move ahead in their lives and careers thanks to online learning, and thanks to exceptional educators like Carmen and Steve.”
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