United States Distance Learning Association

Dr. Bonk wins Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual Award! | Pictures | Full Press Release

Washington, D.C. April 30, 2003 The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) today presented it 2003 Distance Learning Awards at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Learning and Training Week Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., the premier conference and exposition for the distance learning industry. The USDLA Awards were presented to distance learning professionals, organizations, companies and institutions for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching, Excellence in Distance Learning Programming and Outstanding Individual Achievements. The annual Awards Program was created to acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and to highlight those instructors, programs, and distance learning professionals who have achieved excellence in the field. Categories include Higher Education, Government, Pre K-12 Education, Corporate/Business and Telehealth. This year's winners cover a broad spectrum of educational expertise from new approaches to collaborative learning.

The 2003 USDLA Distance Learning Awards include the following categories:

Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching recognizes an outstanding individual who has creatively utilized the medium to inspire learning in a given subject. The recipients have all taught a course, series, or unit in a distance learning format with an imaginative approach to the material taught, well designed visuals and demonstrated rapport with the program's participants.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING TEACHING - Higher Education: to James Theroux, Ph.D. of UMassOnline and The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Management. Dr. Theroux is responsible for the development and delivery of the innovative Real-Time Case study. This new type of online education leverages Internet technologies to "super-charge" the case method, making online education more compelling for students and transforming the student-professor relationship into a problem-solving partnership.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING TEACHING - Government: to William L. Atkinson, M.D., Medical Epidemiologist for the National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Atkinson's innovative use of technology has resulted in a blended learning approach, integrating the use of satellite, web-based, and computer based technologies to teach the nations' health workforce about the many vital and emergent trends in the field of immunization. Dr. Atkinson's program typically exceeds an enrollment of 10,000, largely due to his sincere presence, teaching style, dedication, and interaction with his learners accomplished through live audio, e-mail, and chat rooms.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING TEACHING - Pre K-12 Education: to Mary Mitchell, Florida Virtual School. Ms. Mitchell developed and teaches the student centered, standards based, and highly acclaimed online Biology course for FVS. The course's real world motif scaffolds the learning. To understand Biological concepts, students are invited to put on their safari hats and travel through seven BioScope Adventures. In each of these adventures students learn Biology through real life applications. The course was designed to ensure that the activities students are asked to perform would enhance retention, transfer and application. It is a dynamic interactive, real-world learning environment that gives choices to students and requires that students take ownership of the learning process. Ms. Mitchell is also an FLVS mentor for new teachers in the online environment.

EXCELLENCE in DISTANCE LEARNING TEACHING - Telehealth: to Denise B. Freeman, D.P.M., College of Podiatric Medicine, Des Moines University. Dr. Freeman has been the project leader and inspiration behind a new instructional tool to teach Biomechanics to Podiatric Medicine students. This educational, online tool was developed using original 3-D animation sequences and original illustrations to describe foot function. The course is representative of a difficult subject for student mastery and has had very little history of visualization in the field of Biomechanics. The product exemplifies creative and innovative vignettes that portray foot and ankle movement. The Instructional sequences were designed with a team of illustrators, instructional designers and subject matter experts to produce interactive lessons that, not only give illustration to, but also provide feedback and visual practice for users.

Excellence in Distance Learning Programming recognizes organization that have designed and delivered an outstanding and comprehensive distance learning program service. Recipients have regional, multi-state and international comprehensive programming, include courses from diverse disciplines.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMMING - Higher Education: to The University of Wisconsin-Madison Master of Engineering Professional Practice Degree Program (MEPP). MEPP is an outstanding Internet-based program, which has provided a model of good practice, which is, in effect, the "gold standard" for the campus. The MEPP program expertly uses a wide variety of Internet and telecommunications tools to bring their students into the university. In doing this, they have provided models for student support, library access, and Internet utilization. The MEPP program developers worked closely with the university's service units, which are primarily oriented to on-campus students, teaching the staff how to work with distance students. Thomas W. Smith, an instructor with the MEPP program and Michael Aimone of the US Air Force and member of the MEPP Advisory Committee accepted the award.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMMING - Government: to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services for the Public Health Training Network (PHTN). The Public Health Training Network is a recognized leader in providing award winning educational programs to health care professionals and the public health care community throughout the world. This past year, through a blended learning approach that encompassed both satellite and online technologies, the PHTN provided critical health care training and continuing education to more than 80,000 health care professionals. Since September 11, 2001, the PHTN has supported homeland security through its "CDC Responds" Series, providing bioterrorism, epidemiology, and disaster preparedness courses to local and state agencies that resulted in over 2.5 million individuals trained. Dennis McDowell, Director of PHTN with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention accepted the award.

EXCELLENCE in DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMMING - Pre K-12 Education: to Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a leader in education and the world of distance learning. Florida Virtual School has changed the way that teachers interact with students. Through their online courses, threaded discussions, synchronous chats, conference calls and even group projects, interaction and communication is the most important ingredient in keeping learners engaged. FLVS has developed 65 courses for middle and high school students, of which eleven are Advanced Placement. Each of the FLVS courses features a motif and engages students in real-life scenarios. FVS also participates in teacher mentoring programs so that the staff may help expose traditional classroom teachers to online curriculum and approaches to learning. Through partnerships with a variety of organizations such as the College Board, FLVS builds connections and projects to serve the needs of children in the 21st century. Accepting the award was Executive Director, Julie Young.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMMING - Telehealth: to The University of Delaware - Dietetic Internship Program is an outstanding Internet-based program that prepares students, especially those living in rural areas, to become registered dietitians. Partnerships with universities and State Health Department throughout the United State have been developed. The program serves as a model for developing Internet- based programs. The program is currently completing its second year and has received outstanding evaluations both from students and preceptors. Dr. Charlene Hamilton has been a pioneer in developing distance learning courses utilizing threaded discussions, synchronous chats, and discussions with guest speakers, interactive case studies and problem solving activities. Accepting the award was Dr. Hamliton, Professor of Dietetics and Baerbel Schumacher, Program Manager at the University of Maryland.

EXCELLENCE IN DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMMING - Corporate/Business: to The International Petroleum Industry Multimedia System (IPIMS) developed by the International Human Resources Development Corporation (IHRDC) for its IPIMS e-learning system. The system has set a new industry standard. The e- learning system currently being used by 40 companies worldwide provides employees with innovative, competency-based learning at a fraction of the cost of traditional training methods and is a key component of IHRDC's Certificate and Diploma Programs in Oil and Gas Practice and Management programs. These programs combine e-learning activities, practical assignments, opportunities for shared learning, and a mentor-based approach into a curriculum that is unique to the industry. IHRDC, for over 33 years, continues to be a leader in meeting the personnel needs of the petroleum, natural gas and power businesses. IHRDC President, David A. T Donohue and Timothy D.A Donohue, Director of Media Production accepted the award.

Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual recognizes an individual who demonstrates extraordinary achievements through distance learning. They have demonstrated achievement in areas that include research and writing as well as leadership activities in regional, national and international presentations and speeches; recognition by and service to education, technology and distance learning organizations; and have engaged in activities that have contributed to a better understanding of distance learning, resulting in cooperative efforts with other organization or improvement in distance learning methodologies.

MOST OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT BY AN INDIVIDUAL - Higher Education: to Curtis J. Bonk, Ph.D., Indiana University, School of Education. Dr. Bonk is a Professor in Educational Psychology as well as Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. He is a renowned practitioner and presenter in the field of distance education and collaborative learning environments. His stellar contributions via his research, publications, teaching, and visionary approaches have shared valuable knowledge with countless others. From the company Dr. Bonk founded, CourseShare, to his numerous publications, he continues to provide avenues for the sharing of resources advancing distance education.

MOST OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT BY AN INDIVIDUAL - Government: to Dennis L. McDowell, Director, Professional Development & Evaluation Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. McDowell distinguished himself by working extensively with states, universities, and professional organizations in forging alliances to develop distance learning technologies that would serve the professional health care community. Through his leadership and vision, Mr. McDowell, recognized the need to develop a distance learning network that would ensure the timely distribution of CDC courses to the public health care community. His vision was realized with creation of the Public Health Training Network, one of the most successful and notable distance learning networks in the country.

MOST OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT BY AN INDIVIDUAL - Pre K- 12 Education: to Bruce Friend, Chief Academic Officer of Florida Virtual School, fosters the vision and manages the day-to-day operations of a state-of-the-art online school that has become an industry leader. Bruce is a national leader in distance education and is sought of for his counsel, skill and wisdom as a regular trainer, speaker and consultant. He has assisted in numerous national projects, such as a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education in the development of an online Spanish course that has served students in both states and he works with the Texas Internet Quality Project to provide standard for online courses. In addition, Bruce directs the development of new course offerings and management of instructional staff at Florida Virtual School.

MOST OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT BY AN INDIVIDUAL - Corporate: to Lisa Neal,Ph.D. is Editor-in-Chief of ACM eLearn Magazine, a Managing Consultant with Electronic Data Systems, and an Adjunct Professor at Tufts Medical School. She received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University. Dr. Neal consults on e-learning projects with corporate, academic, and government clients and has been developing and delivering e- learning courses and programs for eight years. She has worked to popularize both online learning and her own philosophy of learner-centered design through lectures, tutorials, and keynote addresses delivered all over the world, as well as through her work on eLearn Magazine.

USDLA Awards Committee

The 2003 Distance Learning Awards were presented by the USDLA Awards Committee Members and include Dr. Deborah Harrison, TANDBERG, Mr. Donald S. Lake, Los Angeles County Office of Education and Dr. Ray Steele, Ball State University.

Recognized leaders in the field of distance learning judged the nominations submitted to USDLA and worked in teams of three to review and evaluate submissions in each of distance learning categories.

2003 USDLA Distance Learning Awards Judges:


The United States Distance Learning Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 to promote the development and application of distance learning for education and training. USDLA represents 2000 members from pre-K through 12 education and higher education, continuing education, corporate, military and government training, home schooling and telemedicine. USDLA is a leading source of information and policy for distance learning that focuses on all legislation impacting the distance learning community and its varied constituencies. Since 1993 USDLA has continued to establish state chapters in all fifty states. For more information about USDLA visit the organization's website at http://www.usdla.org/.


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