DLIAward 2017 Convening – Critically Advancing Excellence in Digital Courseware


Nori Barajas-Murphy, Grant Project Director, Online Learning Consortium


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Twelve members of the Digital Learning Innovation Award community convened in early February to revise the DLIA scoring rubric.  Their goal was to establish excellence in courseware implementation in light of the maturing digital courseware landscape. Facilitating the event was OLC’s Director of Grant Projects, Nori Barajas, with assistance from OLC’s Jennifer Mathes, Director of Strategic Partnerships.

DLIA advisory committee members 500The group of field experts was comprised of three DLIA advisory committee members, four members of the 2016 award review team, and representatives from higher education including EdSurge, MindWires, APLU and the New Media Consortium (NMC). During the two-day event, the group debated the digital courseware landscape and the impact courseware has on student success, agreeing that the work in this space is important yet inconclusive. Unanimously, the group believed that annually reviewing the submission criteria and scoring rubric moves the conversation in an honest and open direction and richly informs other partners in higher education. Emma Zone, Vice Provost, Colorado Technical University reflected, “I’m impressed by the collaborative, iterative spirit of this award process, and it was important to hear the perspectives of other reviewers, advisory board members and partners.”

The group critically reviewed the award submission criteria and the companion scoring rubric by using the themes and trends from the 2016 submissions, as well as feedback from the review team and judges in order to drive the discussion. Through a series of activities, the group agreed that access, innovation, implementation, sustainability will remain essential criteria for the 2017 award submission. The team operationally defined each of the criteria in relation to the digital courseware landscape to better capture implementation quality. 

Additionally, it was decided that a greater emphasis on problem definition and measurable outcomes will be part of the 2017 submission. Established and mature digital courseware projects will be accepted for the 2017 award; however, projects in development were determined to lack the credibility to inform other institutions. Emerging projects were considered better suited for a grant rather than an award.

The group felt the revisions strongly advanced the goal of the award. Nick White, Director, Competency Based Learning Solutions, Capella University, believes “the changes will really accelerate how the award program serves as a catalyst for improving student success for hundreds of thousands of students.”  The convening adjourned with a renewed commitment to advancing the success of digital courseware implementations through OLC’s 2017 DLIAward. The group believes that the revisions will capture more detail to establish excellence in scalable implementations. Additionally, the submission criteria, when analyzed, establish an annual state of the field snapshot unlike any other research in the field. Sunny Lee, Sr. Product Manager, Higher Ed, EdSurge; Co-Founder and Director of Product, Badge Labs, elaborated on her role at the convening, stating, “We’re excited to be a part of an initiative that is shining light on and celebrating innovative efforts happening at institutions across the country in order to expand opportunities for students of all stripes and support their success in higher ed.”

The submission window will run from late March through June 30, 2017.  Visit our site to learn more about the 2016 DLIAward recipients https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/about/2016-dliaward-recipients-2/

Sign up for an informational webinar to learn more about the 2017 DLIAward: https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/learn/webinars/

DLIA Rubric Convening Attendees

DLIA Advisory Committee Members

Joe Moreau, Vice Chancellor, Technology, Foothill De Anza Community College
Dale Johnson, Senior Business Analyst, Arizona State University
Connie Johnson, Chief Academic Officer and Provost, Colorado Technical University Online

DLIA Review Team

Emma Zone, Vice Provost, Colorado Technical University
Niki Bray, Faculty/Instructional Designer, University of Memphis
Nick White, Director, Competency Based Learning Solutions, Capella University
Sharon Goodall, Director of Innovations, Learning Design & Solutions, UMUC

DLIA Higher Ed Partners

Phil Hill, Educational Technology Consultant and Industry Analyst, MindWires
Karen Vignare, CEO and Founder, KV Consulting; APLU
Peggy Snyder, Strategic Advisor, The New Media Consortium
Sunny Lee, Sr. Product Manager, Higher Ed, EdSurge; Co-Founder and Director of Product, Badge Labs

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