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University Policies News



SIS Professor Honored for Online Innovation

Professors Derrick L. Cogburn and Jennifer Ellis of the Comparative and International Disability Policy Program.

Professors Derrick L. Cogburn and Jennifer Ellis of the Comparative and International Disability Policy Program.

SIS Professor and COTELCO/IDPP (Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities/Institute on Disability and Public Policy) Executive Director Derrick L. Cogburn has been named the recipient of the 2013 Blackboard Collaborate Hall of Fame Catalyst Award.

The Catalyst Awards recognize the positive impact of eLearning professionals, institution staff and system administrators around the world on the organization’s evolution and growth. Cogburn has worked with Blackboard Collaborate as a member of its Accessibility Taskforce for a number of years, contributing to the platform’s development and assisting the software developer and user community to influence the interface design and accessibility features of Blackboard Collaborate.

“It is an honor to receive the 2013 Blackboard Collaborate Hall of Fame Catalyst Award,” said Cogburn. “I have enjoyed the company’s continued focus on making the product as solid, feature-rich, accessible, and user friendly as it has become.”

Blackboard Collaborate allows web and audio conferencing and mobile collaboration, and has been instrumental to the IDPP in facilitating the Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) degree at SIS. CIDP is AU’s first all-online degree and the world’s first virtual master’s program in disability policy. The program allows faculty to teach and students to learn from anywhere around the world through its accessible virtual classroom. This accessibility to students and faculty who are blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; and mobility impaired is a result of COTELCO/IDPP’s collaboration with and innovative configuration of Blackboard Collaborate features.

Born as an initiative of The Nippon Foundation (TNF), the IDPP has been fully funded by TNF since its launch in 2011. The IDPP is a network of university and outreach partners that contributes to an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society focused on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

“The Institute on Disability and Public Policy has achieved the honored distinction of being among a select group of winners in the Blackboard community to receive this award,” said Blackboard president Maurice Heiblum. “This award program is designed to enhance the visibility of the innovation taking place at [American University] and to recognize the efforts your staff is making that directly and positively impact online teaching and learning programs.”

Cogburn and his co-winner, IDPP faculty member Jennifer Ellis, will receive the award at the Blackboard awards luncheon on July 11 in Las Vegas at the annual user conference, Blackboard World 2013.