I had the pleasure of speaking with Karen Lynden from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, a 2011 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program winner. As we begin the 2012 Catalyst Awards season, I thought it was important to hear from the 2011 winners to find out more about what motivated them to enter their course and how the win has impacted their profession. This is the first of a series of blogs from each of the Catalyst and Exemplary Course Award Winners.

Guest Blog Post from Karen Lynden, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

It was an honor to be a recipient of a Blackboard Catalyst award, and a meaningful professional achievement. I can’t think of a better way to close out my tenure as Distance Education Coordinator and begin my new full-time faculty member role at the college!

When I submitted the course for review, I did not have an expectation of receiving the award. My goal was to receive feedback and gain ideas toward course enhancement. At the time, I was involved with a college initiative for redeveloping our online course template. If I was going to lead a council that influenced the foundation of our online courses, I wanted to be able to personally demonstrate best practices through the courses I developed and facilitated -AKA “walk the talk.” Though I will never know who they specifically were by name, I really appreciate all of the reviewers’ comments that were returned to me at the end of the review cycle. Their notes reinforced the positives and provided me with new ideas.

The greatest benefit of participating in the program has been the benefit of being a part of a community of professionals where I am inspired to continuously focus on offering a dynamic learning experience for my students. I conducted a poster session at Blackboard World 2011 and presented at several higher education conferences in North Carolina. Through all of these experiences I have been able to engage in wonderful conversations while growing my circle of contacts around the state, and around the world. The year is over, yet the collaboration continues!

The 2012 Catalyst Awards and Exemplary Course Program has now begun and we are will be accepting nominations through February 29, 2012. Please consider submitting your course or becoming a Course Reviewer.

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