News Release
Contacts: Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director
Janelle Toman, Director of Information and Institutional Research
T: 605.773.3455
F: 605.773.5320


For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 10, 2003 

Public University Faculty Recognized for E-learning Coursework 

ABERDEEN – Twelve faculty members from South Dakota’s public university system earned awards Thursday for their work in delivering high-quality instruction via technology. The Board of Regents’ Faculty Recognition Awards for Excellence in E-Learning were to be presented Thursday night at the South Dakota Distance Education Conference in Aberdeen. 

“These awards honor faculty for creative accomplishments on behalf of students, as well as acknowledging the universities’ support for faculty development and technology innovation,” said Lesta Turchen, the Regents’ chief academic officer. “The high quality of the courses submitted for this year’s competition attests to the talent and expertise in our public universities.” 

The Best Overall award in the e-learning competition went to Michelle Rogge Gannon, who teaches English 101 for the University of South Dakota. Rogge Gannon’s course also took top honors in the Internet-only category.

 Reviewers said the USD English course made innovative use of WebCT tools and features that afforded students the opportunity to learn whether on campus or elsewhere. “Her Web site is comprehensive and provides a strong example for other distance education courses,” one judge noted. “The course includes many components that are often not found in traditional face-to-face courses. Those students who take this course benefit from their online experience.”

 “These awards demonstrate the Board of Regents’ commitment to integrating technology to enhance quality of education, as well using technology to better deliver distance education across this state and region,” said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett. 

Other winners of the Regents’ E-learning Excellence Awards were:


  • Internet-Assisted (Team)Lisa Bryan and Roger Ochse, Black Hills State University, for their Joint Venture Creation/Technical Communication course (BADM 316/ENGL 379). Reviewers singled out this course for utilizing various delivery methods, collaborating across disciplines, and use of an interactive syllabus.  “This course was more complete than courses I’d seen being offered via the Internet alone,” one judge said. “If I’d been a student, I would have been thrilled because these instructors have it together.”

  • Digital Dakota NetworkJudy Vondruska, South Dakota State University, for Introduction to Astronomy (PHYS 185). Vondruska was given high marks for being inventive and resourceful in reaching students using the Digital Dakota Network and the Internet. Reviewers said course activities met the different learning styles of students, while encouraging students at different sites to interact with each other. One judge commented, “Ms. Vondruska has recognized the fact that student interaction in DDN courses is a necessary component.” 
  • Support of Large SectionDan Tallman, Northern State University, for the Biology Survey course and lab (BIOL 101/101L). Tallman was recognized for utilizing various technologies, including the Internet, to support a large-section course. The course’s Web site was praised for its easy navigation and user-friendly nature. “If I was enrolled in this course, I feel the site would be invaluable as a resource for the class,” one reviewer said. “The strongest aspect of the site is the information provided on exams, quizzes, and assignments. Students can take practice exams, and review the rubrics for each of the assignments.”

Because of the high caliber of many of the entries in this year’s e-learning competition, special awards of merit were presented to two additional projects, Turchen said. Winners of the merit awards were: 

  • Judy Sneller of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for the Technical Communications I (ENGL 279) course. Reviewers said the course offers students opportunities to expand their interaction and explore content, both in and out of class. One of the judges said, “Students have many more avenues for interaction with both peers and content than they could get with a one-hour class meeting.” 
  • A team of University of South Dakota instructors who teach Nursing 281, Caring for Persons Across the Lifespan. Judges praised the course for an instructionally sound interface and content. Online material greatly improves the quality of instruction in this course, the reviewers said. One judge commented, “It offers varied media for learning, complete content, tools for empowering the user, and varied interactions to ensure successful learning outcomes.” Members of the NURS 281 instructional team are Connie Evenson, Jennifer Leonard, Kathy Manning, Kathy Jorgensen, Gary Larson, and Bob Corio.





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