COTELCO/IDPP Executive Director Dr. Derrick Cogburn and IDPP faculty member and Evaluation Commitee Co-Chair Dr. Jennifer Ellis are the recipients of the 2013 Blackboard Collaborate Hall of Fame Catalyst Award. The Catalyst Awards are bestowed upon eLearning professionals, system administrators and institution staff from around the world in recognition of the positive impact their participation in the Blackboard Community has on the organization’s evolution and growth. Both accepted the award on the IDPP’s behalf during the Catalyst Awards Ceremony on 11 July 2013 during the 2013 Blackboard World Conference (#bbworld13) in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they also presented the co-written paper “Accessible Cyberlearning” on 10 July from 3:10-4:05pm PST.

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

Dr. Cogburn has been working with Blackboard Collaborate for several years as a member of its Accessibility Taskforce. As an active contributor in the platform’s development, Dr. Cogburn worked closely with the software developer and user community to influence the interface design and accessibility features of Blackboard Collaborate.

In addition to receiving the award, the awardees presented their Blackboard-related innovative work during their presentation of “Accessible Cyberlearning” and at the BbWorld 2013 Poster Session, one of the most widely attended events at the conference. The paper presentation discussed best practices to ensure that cyberlearning infrastructure is conducive for supporting all learners, including understanding, implementing and evaluating Universal Design for Learning principles in a Blackboard Learn and Collaborate environment, as well as information on how to provide synchronous and asynchronous accessible course content across continents.

BbWorld is Blackboard’s largest conference of the year, attracting over 2,000 participants from across the globe. BbWorld 2013 was directly preceded by two events: Pre-Conference (PreCon) workshops and the Blackboard Developers’ Conference (DevCon). PreCon workshops provided participants with the opportunity to receive hands-on training for all of Blackboard’s products and, in some cases, the chance to receive certifications to become Blackboard Certified Trainers. DevCon provided technical individuals from educational institutions with insight into how Blackboard’s platform can be implemented to meet institutional needs or integrate with existing campus systems.

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