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From intellectual property to American cinema, this year's WebCT exemplary courses break new ground
[July 12, 2005]

From intellectual property to American cinema, this year's WebCT exemplary courses break new ground

LYNNFIELD, Mass. --(Business Wire)-- July 12, 2005 --

Educators from high school through higher education showcase advances in coursework development

WebCT, provider of higher education's most flexible and widely used e-learning solutions, today announced the winners of the world's most prominent and longest-running honor for online learning faculty achievement. The WebCT Exemplary Course Project awards went to six courses spanning a wide range of content, formats and philosophies.

For the sixth straight year, WebCT's Exemplary Course Project has singled out online courses for displaying best practices in course design, interaction/collaboration, assessment/evaluation, meaningful technology use and learner support. This year's selections are: -0- *T Frank Wright, Lecturer Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute International Business Patricia Cukor-Avila, Associate Professor of English and Shobhana Chelliah, Associate Professor of English University of North Texas General Linguistics Donna Matsumoto, Instructor in Writing Leeward Community College, part of the University of Hawaii system Expository Writing *T -0- *T Thomas Valasek Professor of Film & Communication Studies Chair of Communication & Languages Department Raritan Valley Community College The American Film Virgil E. Varvel, Jr., CAI Specialist/Instructor University of Illinois Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues in Education Gail B. Wortmann, Instructor/Developer Iowa Learning Online Anatomy and Physiology *T

It was a ground-breaking year for the Exemplary Course Project. Wortmann's award for a high school course that exposes students to the general structure and function of the human body underscores how WebCT customers at that grade level are increasingly deriving e-learning benefits on par with colleges and universities.

The University of Illinois' copyright/intellectual property issues course is the first Exemplary Course Project winner developed for a faculty audience. Judges hailed the course's graphics, organization and sophisticated use of the discussion tool, saying the instructor made a concerted effort to build a strong sense of community among the students.

"WebCT gives instructors more control over the look, feel and behavior of their courses than other course management systems," said instructor Virgil E. Varvel. "The discussion tool has all the features I need to get students to break the ice, challenge one another's preconceived notions, and walk away with a deeper understanding of the subject matter. The tool is great, but it's all about what you do with it. And WebCT offers many possibilities."

The totally online American film course also makes extensive use of online discussion for critical analysis, as well as film-related Web sites instead of textbooks. The expository writing course employs a fictional character named Dr. English and engages students with video, word puzzles, graphic organizers, games, external links, voice narration, ink-streamed whiteboard files and peer review. In course evaluations, students strongly agreed that the online environment made the content even more engaging than the face-to-face approach.

RPI's international business course employs video streams that enable students to relive classroom moments and use them as launching pads for lively online discussions. The totally online linguistics course asks students to apply material from their own communities and collaboratively negotiate meaning in online discussions.

The Exemplary Course Project evaluation was conducted for WebCT by Dr. David Graf, director of technology support services at the Fischler Graduate School of Education & Human Services at Nova Southeastern University; and Maisie Caines, WebCT faculty development specialist at the College of the North Atlantic's Clarenville Campus.

Working with Graf and Caines on the evaluation of the WebCT 2005 Exemplary Course applications were the following WebCT Institutes: University of Alberta, University of Central Florida, California State University (Chico), Univ. of Northern Iowa, Utah State University, Coventry University, Tennessee Technological University, University of Connecticut, Purdue University, University of Ulster and University of Maryland.

"I continue to be inspired by the creative ways in which instructors and course designers marry their content with WebCT course management capabilities," said WebCT President and CEO Carol Vallone. "Our goal is to continue to recognize powerful pedagogical achievements and to provide unlimited flexibility so course designers can continue raising the bar."

For more information and to view the winning courses, please visit:

About WebCT

WebCT has set the standard for e-learning systems in higher education. Based in Lynnfield, Mass., WebCT provides a highly flexible e-learning environment that empowers institutions across the educational spectrum with the ability to achieve their unique objectives for faculty empowerment, administrative efficiency and student outcomes. Colleges and universities around the world - from community colleges to large university consortia - are using WebCT to expand the boundaries of teaching and learning. For more information, please visit

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