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Oregon State faculty, staff earn awards for online learning innovation, engagement

May 6, 2020

At Oregon State University Ecampus, we partner with nearly 1,000 Oregon State faculty members each year, and we constantly stand in awe of their expertise and innovation.

That’s why we developed the annual Oregon State Ecampus Awards – to recognize our outstanding partners who go above and beyond to improve the student experience for OSU’s distance learners.

This year, we honor five faculty and staff members who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and student success in everything they do.

Ecampus Innovation Award

Clare Braun, School of Writing, Literature and Film

Headshot of Clare Braun, a writing instructor in Oregon State University's School of Writing, Literature and Film

Ecampus Innovation Award winner Clare Braun, writing instructor

The Ecampus Innovation Award recognizes innovations in online courses pertaining to design, pedagogy and/or media development. The 2020 winner of the Ecampus Innovation Award is Clare Braun, instructor in the School of Writing, Literature and Film within the College of Liberal Arts.

Clare developed a new OSU honors college course, HC 407 – Murder, Mayhem and Makeup: Lady Detectives on Page and Screen, which exemplifies the Honors College learning outcomes of engaged and scholarly inquiry. The class is lauded for its creativity and student engagement.

She worked to create a course that made students think critically, see diverse perspectives and challenge the status quo. She introduced students to various forms of mystery writing, delving deep into the genre and encouraging students to do the same.

Additionally, Clare worked closely with the Ecampus video team to ensure her course was fun to be a part of, even donning several roles in vignettes created just for the class.

Ecampus Appreciation Award

James Howard, OSU Beaver Store

Headshot of James Howard, OSU Beaver Store manager of academic materials

Ecampus Appreciation Award winner James Howard, OSU Beaver Store academic materials manager

This award recognizes an outstanding campus partner who has worked with Ecampus to make a positive impact on our programs and students. The 2020 Ecampus Appreciation Award goes to James Howard, manager of academic materials for the OSU Beaver Store.

James is an enthusiastic collaborator with Ecampus – supporting faculty and students alike. He works with the Ecampus team to share textbook options that  help faculty make informed choices for their online classes, inform new Ecampus students about textbooks and more.

He goes above and beyond for Ecampus students, emailing online homework tool codes to students while  their physical books are being shipped so that they can engage in their coursework as soon as possible.

James serves as a fierce advocate for Ecampus students, promoting affordable textbook options and helpful service at a distance.

Ecampus Excellence in Online Teaching and Student Engagement Award

This award recognizes three faculty members who exemplify excellence in online teaching and student engagement. Ecampus instructors are nominated by current online students. This year, 284 students nominated more than 140 faculty and instructors.

The 2020 winners of the Ecampus Excellence in Online Teaching and Student Engagement Award are Christy Anderson Brekken, senior instructor of applied economics in the College of Agricultural Sciences; Ana-Maria M’Enesti, French instructor in the College of Liberal Arts; and Charlotte Wickham, assistant professor of Statistics in the College of Science.

Christy Anderson Brekken, College of Agricultural Sciences

Headshot of Christy Anderson Brekken, applied economics instructor at Oregon State University

Excellence in Online Teaching and Student Engagement Award winner Christy Anderson Brekken, applied economics instructor

Christy was nominated for her dedication to student success and ability to engage students in all settings. Several students pointed out her ability to adapt to students’ learning needs, and showcase applications of course concepts outside the online classroom.

Christy creates opportunity after opportunity for student engagement, and she takes the time to make students feel important.

“It is visible in all that Christy does that she genuinely loves her work and sincerely cares about the student… She has proven that whether on campus or online, OSU strives to provide its students with a lasting education,” wrote one student.

Christy’s students note her true passion for the discipline and her focus on student success and real-world application of the coursework. Another student wrote, “She challenges you to think outside the box and goes above and beyond to help you reach your goals.”

Ana-Maria M’Enesti, Department of World Languages and Cultures

Headshot of Ana-Maria M'Enesti, French instructor at Oregon State University

Excellence in Online Teaching and Student Engagement Award winner Ana-Maria M’Enesti, French instructor

Ana-Maria was nominated for her compassion for students, availability to help and dedication to creating an engaging learning environment.

One student noted that Ana-Maria “meets us where we are as individual learners and guides us to a deeper understanding and to the next level. With every lesson, I feel as though she’s there to catch me if I falter, but then she has an innate ability to also pinpoint our strengths as well.”

In addition to her active participation and a desire to create an open channel of communication in her classes, Ana-Maria’s students highlighted her dependability and consistency as key facets of their meaningful learning experiences online.

“Ana-Maria understands that we want to learn as students and challenges us to be our best every day,” one student wrote.“She is always available and is passionate about her line of work… I want to continue my education because of her. She CARES.”

Charlotte Wickham, College of Science

Headshot of Charlotte Wickham, statistics instructor at Oregon State University

Excellence in Online Teaching and Student Engagement Award winner Charlotte Wickham, statistics instructor

Charlotte has developed multiple Ecampus courses built around students and their learning, leveraging open source materials and engaging texts from the OSU Library.

Student nominations focused on several key areas, including Charlotte’s engagement in student discussions and her encouragement of experimentation, even if that approach requires more individualized time and feedback in facilitation.

One student noted, “I never felt like I needed to rein in an assignment and only do just what was required when I really wanted to run with an idea… That’s great teaching.”

Another student pointed out Charlotte’s thorough organization and the passion that goes into the development of each of her Ecampus courses. Charlotte approaches students with enthusiasm, and students leave her classes excited about statistics and prepared to take on today’s data-driven environment.

Congratulations to these Quality Matters honorees

We also would like to recognize a handful of Oregon State faculty members whose Ecampus courses were recently certified by the Quality Matters organization. QM is the gold standard in online course design, and we’re proud to honor these instructors who went the extra mile to ensure excellence in their online classes:

  • Andrea Allan, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (ATS 201)
  • Arien Muzacz, College of Education (COUN 531, COUN 581)
  • Jen Myers, College of Agricultural Sciences (SUS 420)
  • Nelly Patiño-Cabrera, College of Education (ED 471/571)
  • Paul Ries, College of Forestry (FES 447/547)

QM focuses on the design of online and hybrid classes, as opposed to the delivery or content of the courses. More than 60 Ecampus courses have been certified by QM.

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