Blackboard Catalyst Awards

Blackboard Exemplary Course Program

The Blackboard Exemplary Course Program began in 2000 with the goal of identifying and disseminating best practices for designing engaging online courses. Using the Exemplary Course Rubric, instructors and course designers are able to evaluate how well their own course conforms to best practices outlined in the rubric.

Due to the ever-increasing adoption of the Exemplary Course Program rubric and interest in the ECP Catalyst Award, we are making some exciting changes to expand the Exemplary Course Program. Starting in 2015, the program will run year-round, with expanded opportunities for course reviews and collaboration. Exemplary Course awards will be announced on a rolling basis. New ECP activities will start in early 2015, and we look forward to your continuing engagement in the professional development opportunities of this program.

To stay up to date on the latest Catalyst Awards and ECP information, please fill out this form.

Benefits of Participating

Submitting your course for review will provide you the opportunity to:

  • Reflect on your own course design through a self-evaluation of your course and gain new perspective and insights on your course.
  • Receive detailed feedback on your own course development including best practices and areas for improvement.
  • Apply lessons learned from the Exemplary Course Rubric to your own courses or those you are helping to develop.
  • Gain professional development experience and recognition for your accomplishments and participation in the program.

All courses will be reviewed and will receive detailed feedback on their design, interaction and collaboration, assessment, and learner support components. Submitted courses are reviewed by peer reviewers. Additional feedback is provided by the Reviewer Council and the Exemplary Course Program Directors. Reviewers complete a detailed evaluation form that is provided back to the course submitter.

Don't want to submit a course? Consider becoming a volunteer course reviewer to:

  • Explore in-depth a variety of different online courses and get ideas and inspiration for your own online courses
  • Apply lessons learned from the Exemplary Course Rubric to your own courses or those you are helping to develop
  • Share your knowledge and experience with others by providing feedback on their course designs

How Can I Prepare for My Course Submission?

  • Members of the Blackboard user community are welcome to submit courses for the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program. Courses being submitted must be in one of the following systems: Blackboard Learn; Campus Edition, Vista Edition; ANGEL; CourseSites by Blackboard; or joule.
  • Download a copy of the ECP Rubric to use as a reference. This is an extensive rubric used to measure your course against and is needed for the course evaluation.
  • Provide appropriate access to your course
    • The reviewers will need online access to a copy of the course so they can evaluate it. Work with your system administrator to create a copy of your course without student data. The reviewers will need both designer/course builder and student level access to the archived course instance until at least July 31, 2014. Courses submitted for review must have ended by the submission deadline. Please do not provide us access to courses in which students are currently enrolled.
    • All reviewers will access the copied course via the same login credentials. Many schools create generic username and passwords such as “ecpcourse” or “guest.”
    • For more information about copying courses, please visit this Help page. Please note that when selecting options for course copy, choose “Copy Course Materials into a New Course.”
    • If you are unable to provide access to your system, you can export your course package to CourseSites, a free hosted version of Blackboard Learn. Instructions about exporting and importing your course can be found here.
  • Showcase evidence of interaction and collaboration
    • Create a folder called “For the Reviewer” in your course copy
    • This folder will house examples of interaction and collaboration from your course
      • Capture screen shots of great discussion boards, multi-media interactions, test questions, etc. – save all of these documents as a .pdf.
      • Create multi-media examples of your course or student interaction, using Flash, PowerPoint, Camtasia, Jing, or some other similar tool (not required for your submission).
      • Make sure no student data is included
    • Note: Interaction and collaboration is a fundamental aspect of an Exemplary Course. If there is no evidence of interaction, using such tools as discussion, chat, email, blogs, wikis, or podcasts, video, synchronous or asynchronous collaboration, the course will not be considered for review.