Columbia Southern University Receives Award for Innovative Course Design

Blackboard, Inc., a leader in virtual learning environments and course management systems, recently announced Columbia Southern University as one of the winners of its 2021 Exemplary Course Program (ECP) Awards. This is the university’s sixth Blackboard Award.  

The Blackboard Exemplary Award recognizes faculty and course designers from schools, colleges and universities around the world who develop engaging and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

The award honors the efforts of CSU professor Kent Kelso, Ph.D., and instructional designer John Beczkowski for their work designing United States Military History I.  The two wanted to feature notable engagement and interactive presentations filled with fun and engaging material.

“Each unit has interactive presentations that give the student a deeper understanding of the people, places, and events that were part of U.S. military history from the Colonial period to World War I,” said Beczkowski. “Each study guide has excellent content, video and articles to enrich the student’s learning. Finally, there are interactive assessments that require the student to determine how certain people or events shaped U.S. military history and its role on a person’s perception.”

The role-play portion of the course was designed by Kelso.

“I designed many of the assignments as role-plays encouraging students to assume the life and experiences of fictional characters who were exposed to various military conflicts in American history. I told the students to treat the fictional characters as ancestors of theirs who wrote about their experiences during the wars,” he said.

Dayna Fuller, director of CSU’s Department of Instructional Design and Technology, was pleased the duo won another Exemplary Award for the university.

“I am always excited to see intentional and well-planned collaboration between CSU’s course writers and instructional designers,” she said. “This is our fifth Exemplary Award and second award we’ve received from Blackboard this year. That tells me that our approach to developing engaging and innovative courses is working.”

In July, CSU was awarded a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Engagement. To learn more about Columbia Southern University, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu.

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