GVSU earns national award for Blackboard innovation

Eric Kunnen sits at a table with a student working on a Blackboard project.
Eric Kunnen
Image Credit: Valerie Wojo

Staff from Grand Valley's eLearning and Emerging Technologies team have been named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for training and professional development, which honors those who use Blackboard programs to support and enhance their faculty and staff’s training and professional development. 

Founded in 2005, the annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where millions of educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology. Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts. 

As part of the Information Technology department on campus, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies program provides a wide array of services and resources designed to support faculty who teach online and hybrid courses as well as to assist faculty in delivering innovative classroom-based instruction. Their work to earn the Blackboard award focused on creating creative learning opportunities in the newest technologies while displaying an organization-wide dedication to innovative development programs. 

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team includes: Eric Kunnen, Katie Clark, Colleen Cameron, Vince St. Germain, Sherry Barricklow, Kim Kenward, Glenna Decker, Matthew Roberts, Justin Melick, Hunter Bridwell and graduate assistants LaShawntelle Carson-Pops and Sean Driscoll.

"Our team has been lucky to work with faculty and staff that has widely adopted the Blackboard platform into their teaching and work, and we are very happy to be recognized as a national leader in learning technology development," said Eric Kunnen, associate director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies. "We know our work has strategic importance to the university, and I'm proud of our team for being recognized as leaders among the thousands of universities and colleges that use the Blackboard system."

Grand Valley's team will also be honored alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2018, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held July 16-19 in Orlando.  

LaShawntelle Carson-Pops, a Blackboard graduate assistant in the eLearning department, said that she sees the real-world impact that Blackboard has in her classes and on her fellow students. 

"As a graduate assistant, I see how instructors use Blackboard and I see how students use it to enhance their learning," Carson-Pops said. "Blackboard can take a lot of work but it's great to see our faculty and staff learn how they can use the platform to make a difference in how they teach and how their students learn. It's empowering to know that the work I am doing is helping faculty use technology to influence learning."

For more information on the eLearning and Emerging Technologies program, visit gvsu.edu/elearn or follow them  on  social  media.