Monday, October 22, 2007

UIS Receives National Award for Online Learning

By Courtney Westlake

From two classes with 30 students to 220 classes with about 4,000 students, the University of Illinois at Springfield has grown its online program by leaps and bounds since the program first began in 1998.

In recognition for the university’s leadership in the area of online learning, the Sloan Consortium announced Monday, Oct. 22, that it has selected UIS as the recipient of the Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching & Learning Programming award.

"I’m really excited about this award particularly because it’s a national award that recognizes excellence in teaching and learning online, and UIS is receiving this award among all the thousands of colleges and universities who teach online," said Ray Schroeder, director of the Office of Technology – Enhanced Learning.

"For our campus, this is particularly significant because we’ve been a leader in online learning, and we really were a pioneer in the late 1990’s in beginning to deliver our online programs," Schroeder added. "Now we have programs like philosophy, history, computer science and more that really aren’t represented in online learning at other universities."

The Sloan Consortium, comprised of more than 1,200 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning, is a national organization dedicated to quality online teaching. The award to UIS was among six given by the Consortium this year for exceptional online education, and UIS was the only institution to receive an award for institution-wide teaching and learning programming.

The award will be presented on Nov. 7 in Orlando at the annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning, which draws more than 1,000 attendees both nationally and internationally, Schroeder said.

"After we receive this honor, we'll present the award to Chancellor Richard Ringeisen and Provost Harry Berman because it truly is not an individual award, not a department award, but a university-wide award," Schroeder said.