Nipissing University is the only Canadian university to win what is described as the prestigious Blackboard Catalyst Award.  

The local post-secondary school’s Teaching Hub was honoured in the student success category. 

The recognition comes from Blackboard Inc., a global EdTech software and solutions company.

“At Nipissing, our focus on student success is woven into all facets of the university, including the online learning environment. In this unprecedented year, it’s an honour for our Teaching Hub team to be recognized for its ability to leverage technology in support of student success,” said Nipissing University Provost and Vice-President, Academic & Research, Dr. Arja Vainio-Mattila. 

Five Learning Systems Technologists (LSTs) at Nipissing – Chris Bird, Rob Boulet, Kyle Charron, Mark Giddens and Mary Toye – and four Online Learning Partners (OLPs) – Brianna Dos Santos, Tate Drynan, Kathryn Schefter and Miranda Wilby are on the award-winning team.  

At the start of the global pandemic, the LSTs worked with instructors to redesign their onsite courses for quick transition online. They assisted in pinpointing at-risk students who required more support in online learning, as well as celebrating and praising highly engaged students for their efforts. The Online Learning Partners program was also created to offer students peer-to-peer support related to online learning through the Blackboard platform. 

“In the Teaching Hub, we’re always looking for ways to innovate and excel,  and the pandemic showcased our abilities to do just that,” said Dr. Pat Maher, Dean of Teaching, Nipissing University. “I’m incredibly proud of the team and the support they have been able to provide to both faculty and students as everyone adjusted to the new online learning environment.” 

Written by Richard Coffin