NIU wins 2012 Blackboard Catalyst Award, Rhode featured at BbWorld 2012 Conference

NIU’s Blackboard Catalyst AwardNIU’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center stepped into a familiar spotlight last week at Bb World 2012, Blackboard’s Worldwide User Conference in New Orleans.

Jason Rhode, assistant director of the center, represented NIU to accept the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Collaboration.

This award recognizes leaders within the Blackboard user community who encourage collaboration, and share advice, insight, content and effective practices with fellow educators outside their own institutions.

With more than 3,500 attendees, BbWorld is the premier event of the year for institutions worldwide that use Blackboard products and services to come together to meet the experts, connect with peers and engage in hands-on training activities.

NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center was recognized for its long history of being a leader in the support of teaching with technology.

Murali Krishnamurthi, director of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, said the Catalyst victory is due to the work of many NIU staff.

“With 96 percent of NIU students and 78 percent of faculty using Blackboard for teaching and learning, supporting Blackboard is a high priority for NIU and one that wouldn’t be achieved without the dedication of Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center and ITS staff who provide the high-level of support that this award recognizes,” Krishnamurthi said.

Jason Rhode, assistant director of the NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, represented NIU to accept the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Collaboration.
Jason Rhode, assistant director of the NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, represented NIU to accept the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Collaboration.

“The Catalyst Award for Community Collaboration is for going beyond the institution and helping other institutions that use Blackboard for teaching and learning,” Krishnamurthi added.

“Since our successful major Blackboard upgrade last year, a number of colleges and universities have been contacting us to adapt our plans to meet their Blackboard upgrade and support needs. Our staff have been generous in sharing with them our comprehensive upgrade and support plan, and this has brought considerable visibility and name recognition to NIU.”

Along with receiving the award at the Bb World Conference, the center was invited to present to a worldwide audience on NIU’s use of Blackboard and innovative approaches to supporting its implementation and development on campus.

Rhode (left) and Ray Henderson, CEO of Blackboard, Inc.
Rhode (left) and Ray Henderson, CEO of Blackboard, Inc.

Rhode was invited by Blackboard to give five presentations at the BbWorld Conference, a special recognition for any institution.

He not only shared NIU’s comprehensive training and support plan for the campus but, joined by Vance Moore from Information Technology Services, highlighted NIU’s integration of the Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Mobile solutions to provide faculty with robust and feature-rich online learning platform in support of distributed learning.

“NIU has long been regarded as a pioneer in the adoption and support of online teaching and learning technologies,” Rhode said.

“With the recent addition of new mobile (Blackboard Mobile) and collaboration technologies (Blackboard Collaborate) NIU faculty and students truly have the latest cutting-edge technologies available at their fingertips. Exciting days are ahead as we see the innovative new ways that faculty will leverage these new tools in their teaching.”

For more information about using Blackboard in a course and to view a schedule of upcoming programs about Blackboard, visit the Teaching with Blackboard website, call (815) 753-0595 or email facdev@niu.edu.

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