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RCCC instructor wins award for online course

Online learning, or distance education, is designed to allow students to learn outside of the traditional classroom. The college’s goal is to provide students greater flexibility in scheduling classes while affording Rowan-Cabarrus Community College faculty with new and innovative approaches to teaching.
One instructor at RCCC has taken online education to a new level. Karen Lynden’s commitment to her online classes was evident when she received not just one, but two, separate national awards for her “Leadership and Management Skills” class.
Last year, Lynden was recognized by Blackboard (an online education provider) for excellence. Recently, she was acknowledged by ITC, the Instructional Technology Council, with the Outstanding Fully-Online Course Award.
“Having my course recognized is a true honor,” said Lynden, business administration instructor at RCCC. “The feedback helps me continuously develop my online teaching strategies.”
Lynden’s online class incorporated a variety of learning approaches and used online technologies to create a dynamic, interactive environment that fully engaged students. Her high ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance standards, use of service learning, and efforts to create a student community stood out among the competition. One of the judges noted that despite recognition for this course in 2011, “The instructor did not rest on her laurels; instead, she kept moving forward to make the course unique. The course is a work in progress, not frozen in time.”
“The design of the selected course was built on the foundation of a prototype instructional design template that was in process for our college’s Internet and Hybrid offerings,” said Lynden. “Receiving this recognition validates that our overall institution’s online course templates have a solid foundation.”
“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to excellence for our teachers and our students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of RCCC. “We are extremely proud of Karen and her fabulous work as an instructor.”
The college now offers seven degrees completely online: associate in arts (AA), AA in history, AA in political science, associate in applied science (AAS) in accounting, AAS in business administration and AAS in business administration-marketing and retailing and AAS in criminal justice; seven additional degrees have 90 percent or more of courses available online. Additionally, three diplomas can be completed entirely online, two within business administration and one within accounting, along with 15 certificates, eight within business administration and seven within accounting.
“Obviously, some degrees are not conducive to becoming entirely online. Where it is possible, however, we are seeking to provide these opportunities,” said Debra NeeSmith, dean of educational resource services.
ITC has honored outstanding eLearning faculty, staff and programs through its Awards for Excellence in eLearning since 1991. Judges include members of the ITC board of directors, past award winners, and attendees at ITC’s annual Leadership Academy. The judging panels carefully reviewed each nomination, the accompanying website or online course materials, and held each of the winners to the high standards and best-practices exemplified by previous ITC award winners.

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