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EKU Online Instructional Designer Alix Heintzman and Lecturer Margaret Frozena have been named winners in Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program. They won for their online course, ENG 101R: Reading, Writing, and Rhetoric.

The Exemplary Course Program, which was established in 2000, recognizes innovation, engagement and best practices in instructional development. Course designers, developers and instructors from schools around the world submit their courses for review by their peers in education.

Dr. Steve Dwinnells, director of the e-Campus Instructional Design Center at Eastern Kentucky University, says the award is an affirmation of the hard work and high standards of the EKU Online instructional development team.

“I am continually impressed by the work our instructional designers and faculty commit themselves to in terms of both innovation and course excellence,” Dwinnells said. “They truly care about the student’s learning experience.”

Winning courses are celebrated for excellence in the following categories:

·         Course Design: the elements of instructional design, such as course structure, learning objectives and instructional strategies.

·         Interaction and Collaboration: the level of engagement offered by the course and the level of student interaction and collaboration

·         Learner Support: the availability of student resources

·         Assessment: the type of assessments conducted within the course and the review of student progress toward learning outcomes

Reviewers praised Heintzman and Frozena for including engaging videos that brought in elements of a face-to-face course. They also noted that universal design was used throughout the course, which makes the material accessible to individuals with disabilities and makes it easier for all students to navigate in the online learning format.

This is the second time an EKU Online course has been honored by Blackboard. Instructional Designer Jennifer Perkins and Associate Professor Scott Townsend created EME870: Trends in Science Education, which won a Catalyst Award and was named a Directors’ Choice for Courses with Distinction in 2014.

Heintzman and Frozena will be honored at Blackboard’s annual conference, BbWorld, to be held in Orlando in July. For more information about EKU Online degree programs, visit

Consistently recognized as having some of the nation’s best online degree programs, EKU strives to make quality education accessible to everyone. EKU is an accredited, brick-and-mortar institution that has offered online degree programs since 2006. Today, more than 40 online options are available in a variety of fields.