This award honors those institutions who are on the forefront of educational innovation and have developed and implemented high impact educational strategies that scale.

Tuscaloosa City Schools

Tuscaloosa City Schools, Alabama, United States
Andrew Maxey, Lesley Bruinton, Mike Daria, Junelle Christian

Tuscaloosa City Schools launched their Summer Learning program as an initiative to address student achievement gaps through targeted academics, valuable instructors, and enrichment opportunities. This program proves to be continuously successful with increasing participation, strong community support, expanding partnerships, and positive feedback. The program was strategically designed to meet the needs of families and provide optimal benefits for students. City leaders have expressed their recognition and support with the mayor enacting, “Elevate Tuscaloosa,” dedicating funds to Summer Learning.

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University of Bahrain

University of Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain
Professor Riyadh Yousif Hamza, Faculty, Staff, Students and Board of Trustees

The University of Bahrain faculty have become leaders in using innovative technology to organize and implement their courses. They moved their course to Blackboard to ease communication with students. The platform has aided the faculty in many different course areas, including taking care of deadlines, using Bb announcements to eliminate inquiry emails, allowing for continuous and incremental development of the courses, and providing a valid record of all teaching materials.

Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University

Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Sahar Almasoud and the Online Learning Administration Team

To support their mission of enhancing the learning experience, Princess Nourah University (PNU) invested in eLearning through offering four university requirement courses entirely online. The content was reviewed and redesigned into a completely online format for Blackboard. A university-wide training and awareness campaign took place for students, and a robust system for follow-up and academic support was put in place to ensure an enriching learning experience for faculty and students. This initiative resulted in solved class number and teaching capacity issues, and their data proves that the online course was equally as successful as the version taught on campus.

Montgomery County Community College

Montgomery County Community College, Pennsylvania, United States
Students, Faculty, Staff, and Board of Trustees

Montgomery County Community College is recognized for their devotion to making online tutoring accessible for all of their students. Academic faculty collaborated with IT and Student Services to initiate a vendor partnership to provide students with 24/7 online tutoring. This has led to an increase in students who use online tutoring, better grades and retention rates for those who use the tutoring when comparing to their peers, and even an increase in on-ground tutoring at the university. These initiatives have driven more than 5,700 hours of academic support and continue to improve student outcomes.

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Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University, Texas, United States
SHSU Online

The Sam Houston State University Online Operations department launched a Shared-Services initiative to support online strategic growth by sharing academic and technological resources across the Texas State University System. This initiative has helped improve online teaching quality by giving equal access to Blackboard Learn, providing instructional design services, and providing opportunities for students to achieve their academic goals who are unable to attend college on a physical campus.

Northumbria University

Northumbria University, United Kingdom
Blackboard Ultra Project Team

Northumbria was the first UK institution to enable Ultra Base Navigation and to switch on Ultra course view at an institutional level to all students across all years and delivery pathways. This transition provided the community an example and reference site of an institution which completed the migration to SaaS and the enablement of Blackboard Ultra on an institutional scale to plan. Northumbria has engaged, consulted and supported other UK and non-UK institutions in the development and transition to Ultra Learn.


Fundación Universitaria San Pablo CEU, Spain
IT and Digital Transformation Teams

CEU San Pablo University incorporated “Alexa, opens CEU” in its CEU Cardenal Herrera University, a tool designed to interact with students both in English and Spanish, that provides them with the possibility of accessing Blackboard content. Students can ask Alexa about their list of subjects and the agenda of a specific subject, activities or events scheduled and it also communicates the programmed tutorials between the teacher and the student. This integration Blackboard-Alexa integration facilitated the opening of new spaces of relationship, communication and teacher-student collaboration.

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This award recognizes customers who are dedicated to improving student achievement by fostering a connection between institutions, academics, students, and their communities.

Alief ISD

Alief ISD, Texas, United States
Leslee Hackett

Alief ISD uses multi-platform communication to reach a broader school community and provide a convenient location for all campus and district information. On their webpage, the team added their social media platforms with links to more information and an opportunity to highlight their district app. Since initiating multi-platform communication, Alief ISD has measured a significant increase in the number of webpage users and community engagement.

University of Derby and Northumbria University

University of Derby and Northumbria University, United Kingdom
Claire Gardener and Kristen McCartney-Bulmer

Claire Gardener (University of Derby) and Kristen McCartney-Bulmer (Northumbria University) have co-lead the European Ally User Group since its inception in April 2018. They have developed an engaged and supportive “Community of practice” based on Blackboard Ally. The European Blackboard Ally Community has helped other institutions to implement and adopt Ally and have supported wider conversations about accessibility and inclusive practice.


This award recognizes those who have adopted flexible, distance and online delivery, including using mobile technologies to positively impact the educational experience.

Davidson Academy Online

Davidson Academy Online, Nevada, United States
English Department – Tina Crowder, Carly Ghantous, Jessica Potts, Tracy Sangster, and Erica Shumaker

At Davidson Academy Online, the English department strives to utilize online learning resources to provide an optimal experience for every online student. Instructors use direct instruction, inductive methods, modeling, and guided workshops to teach in both synchronous meetings and through asynchronous elements. The English courses are strategically structured to enable a tight-knit writing community where students can help each other through a service called the Writing Center. Student feedback has indicated that courses are well-designed, encourage interaction, and taught by content experts, which is all reflected in the 100% graduation rate at Davidson Academy Online.

Universidad de Palermo

Universidad de Palermo, Argentina
Education Lab Team, Matias Popovsky

In order to address challenges in teaching math to online students with diverse backgrounds, Universidad de Palermo launched Reimagine Math Education to design courses using Blackboard Learn and Collaborate with adaptive learning, proper research, and technology in math education, contextualized math, feedback monitoring, and participant-centered learning. The initial trial of a Calculus course resulted in overall improved academic performance with a 50% reduction in the drop-out rate and 80% of students enrolling in future courses.

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SER Educacional Group

SER Educacional Group, Brazil
Fábio Maia, Fabio Souza, Enzo Moreira and the Distance Learning Team

The SER Educational Group launched a virtual classroom application on Blackboard Learn to provide an analysis of the students’ adherence in practical distance learning courses compared to in-person course experiences in engineering. They discovered that adoption of practical classes at a distance requires facilitating the standardization of experiments and methodologies, reducing investments in physical labs, and will allow for greater follow-up using virtual tools. Some of the added features for the engineering course were collaborative discussions, conferencing, and interactive content. SER Education Group understands the value in improving the academic experience through expanding virtual capabilities.

Dar Al-Hekma University

Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi Arabia
Rasha Al-Malik and Abeer Al-Hattami

Dar Al-Hemka University developed a mobile application with information on the best tips and practices for navigating Blackboard. This provided a convenient and accessible location for faculty to find relevant information in place of their existing weekly emails. This application has resulted in positive feedback from the university community because it is easy to use and saves time when finding answers to common platform issues.

MEF University

MEF University, Turkey
MEF University Leadership, Management, Faculty, Administration, Library and Students

Prior to their decision to move all classes online in preparation for the epidemic, MEF University courses took place via Flipped Learning: a combination of online and in-class learning. MEF University decided it was time to train their faculty on a strategy for distance lessons if campuses were to close due to the outbreak. They tested capabilities of Blackboard Collaborate through a pilot lesson and followed with strategic face-to-face and online lessons for instructors and students to ensure everyone was prepared with the skills needed to learn in a fully synchronous environment. This online Collaborate initiative resulted in over 250 instructors and 3,200 students being fully trained on the platform and prepared for the outbreak.

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Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky, United States
Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Instructional Design Center – Patrick Coen, James Grogan, and Mary Henson

In order to improve student outcomes, James Grogan and Pat Coen redesigned an introductory math course into two 8-week courses. They did this through first observing issues that prevented student success. After determining these issues and creating prerequisite courses, they utilized technology to create supportive instructional videos and other resources for students to access throughout the course. These actions resulted in a drastic increase in the course passing rate and improved the overall student experience.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky, United States
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program – Rachael Hovermale, Aileen Jones, Maurine Hume, Wanda France, Kara Renfro Taylor, Chris Daniels, Lindsey Turner, Christi Isaacs, and Angie Wheeler 

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program at Eastern Kentucky University is helping to address the shortage of psychiatrists by training specialists in a myriad of mental health disorders through a four-tiered approach to online instructional delivery. This approach includes strong relationships with clinical placement sites, interpersonal engagement in every course, strategic use of interactive content, and rigorous assessments of the highest academic integrity. This strategy has resulted in a 100% board exam passage rate in 2019 and a profound impact on the local communities.

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Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, United States
Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, United States Whiting School of Engineering – Dr. David L. Porter and Ms. Margo Williams

David Porter’s graduate-level online course “Introduction to Oceanography” at Johns Hopkins University, has opened a field of environmental physics to higher education students, which in the past were only served by oceanography centers. The course includes 14 Blackboard Modules, each with video lectures that utilize a variety of digital techniques to explain the concepts and interact with participants. Blackboard discussions and chats also allow students to share experiences, ask questions and get feedback on research topics. The structure of the course relied heavily upon the design expertise of the instructional designer, Margo Williams, who using her unique skills created a well-structured and effective course that has received great feedback and engages students through clean and simple layouts.

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Universidad Internacional de Valencia

Universidad Internacional de Valencia, Spain
Daniel R. Soriano i Argente

Valencian International University developed a strategy called “Campus Revolution” that allowed them to have a deeper understanding of the students’ impressions, behavior and journey to deliver the best and most possible adapted and customized experience. Based on this information, they developed a new LMS template, and students now spend more time attending the classroom and reading contents; reducing frustration, bounce and increasing retention.

University of Lincoln

University of Lincoln, United Kingdom
Digital Education and Student Life

The University of Lincoln designed, built and trialed a new AI chatbot solution to support academic staff with digital technologies. Embedded in the VLE, it provides personalized and rapid support for Blackboard and the associated learning technologies that are integrated within. The Digital Education Chatbot project directly improved the Help and Support provision by allowing staff to ask questions directly within Blackboard and get a quick and specific answer, and by reducing the amount of support tickets received by the online service desk team.


California State University, Fresno, California, United States
Kathryn Biacindo

At California State University, Fresno, a flow chart was designed with steps to create a student-centered self-paced online course through Blackboard. The flow chart includes authentic assessment, project-based group assignments where students set their own deadlines, rubric driven self-check activities for modules, visual navigation guides, and many other unique features. This design has improved student outcomes and accomplished its goals of ensuring courses contain real-world content and give students control over how and when they complete the work.

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This award recognizes those who display an organization-wide dedication to innovative training and development programs.

ADA University

ADA University, Azerbaijan
Samira Rasulova, Director of Faculty Affairs and Academic Administration

ADA University wanted to take full advantage of virtual learning and boost academic performance when they adopted Blackboard Learn for all courses, so they partnered with Blackboard to introduce the Digital Teaching and Learning Series to their faculty. This program certification program ensures that institutions will increase the value of their learning technology in addition to being confident in their academic staff’s teaching approach. The staff has experienced many improvements including changes to pedagogical practices, eliminating additional work, and using more customized web materials for the course. ADA is on track to certify all of its staff by Summer 2020.

Auditoría Superior del Estado de Coahuila

Auditoría Superior del Estado de Coahuila, Mexico
ASEC Learn Team – José Armando Plata Sandoval, Ing. Néstor Espinoza Guajardo, Ing. María del Carmen Yadira Herrera Romo, Lic. Alma Paulina Amador Duéñez, Ing. Danna de Jesús Zavala García, and TSU Miguel Arispe Núñez

The Auditoría Superior del Estado de Coahuila constructed a detailed ASEC Learn Project to provide useful technology resources, new work strategies, and innovative tools to improve the learning experience. Some unique aspects of the program include mentors, configuration tools, feedback quotes, an E-library, and gamification for learning challenges. These innovative items have resulted in instructional clarity, logical progression of materials, and 98% of students believe that the courses were useful and beat their expectations.

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Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland, United States
Learning Management Support Group & Network Security Team

The Baltimore City Schools developed and implemented a Cyber Awareness campaign to educate their community on the dangers of the internet after the Baltimore City Government fell victim to an email cyber-attack. This campaign included three interactive training models: digital awareness, email awareness, and personally identifiable information. These training sessions leveraged the use of the City Schools Blackboard application and Human Capital system integration to enroll all employees in the training, and approximately 74% of the staff members have completed their trainings associated with the course.

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Belmont University

Belmont University, Tennessee, United States
Chris Rains

Chris Rains, Instructional Technology Specialist at Belmont University, helped transform the Ultra adoption process through a hands-on, gamified learning experience with a one-stop support site for using Blackboard Learn with tutorials and training modules. These unique adoption strategies with the team helped the university significantly increase the number of courses and instructors choosing to use the Ultra Course Experience, and left instructors feeling more confident after on-boarding and training.

Davenport University

Davenport University, Michigan, United States
Kriss Ferluga, Ph.D.

Davenport University implemented a Global Campus Instructor Assessment to ensure that instructors in technology-driven courses receive the preparation and teaching demonstrations needed to deliver high quality learning experiences. This assessment has improved operations and outcomes by using the course as a way to ensure every instructor is fully informed and comfortable with the tech-driven formats. This process has helped streamline scheduling processes, implement new course format pilots, and allow for even more innovation in the future.

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Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky, United States
Dr. Nedim Slijepcevic and e-Campus Instructional Design Center

The Instructional Design Center (IDC) at Eastern Kentucky University launched the “Online Course Development and Teaching Certificate Program,” to guide faculty in successfully transitioning to online learning with detailed course development resources. This course program has equipped the faculty with the best resources and instructions for eLearning, which is reflected in positive student course satisfaction and improved learning experiences.


Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates
Division of Education Technologies – Dr. Abdullatif Alshamsi, Dr. Jihad Mohaidat, Azim Ahmed and Sarah Whittaker

The Professional Development teams at Higher Colleges of Technology are continuously working to enhance development offerings and the faculty learning experience to facilitate an improved learning experience. The faculty has achieved many milestones including system-wide reporting to align Blackboard’s Grade Center with the same strategy as defined in HCT’s Curriculum Management System, acquiring valuable ICT skills and additional features within Blackboard Learn, and leveraging ePortfolio functionality in Blackboard Learn to deliver coaching. HCT was the first Higher Institute in the RMEA region to implement the Digital Teaching & Learning Series and continues to train faculty to utilize advanced technology to benefit the HCT community.

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Keiser University

Keiser University, Florida, United States
Online Division

Keiser University’s Online Division developed two training and professional development programs: The Training and Professional Development Model and The Training and Professional Development – Beyond the Online Environment. These valuable programs have conducted over 360 training sessions for faculty and administrators leading to increases in student retention, engagement, and in meeting performance goals.

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National Defense University, Washington, United States
Tammy J. Dreyer-Capo’

Tammy Dreyer-Capo’, Instructional Designer for the National Defense University, has made a measurable impact to support NDU’s professional development. Due to her experience and expertise, she is fondly known as the go-to person for all faculty, staff, and students. She is dedicated to educating the staff and providing exceptional resources and workshops for the NDU community. She played a key role in the creation of the Academic Technology Team and Professional Development Workshops and continues to support the community through providing Blackboard training courses, instructional design consultations, synchronous online collaboration training, requested topic-specific workshops, and hosting Lunch and Learns.

Northumbria University

Northumbria University, United Kingdom
Benjamin Coomber, Cesare Rizzo, Larry McGuirk, and Lee Hall

In order to support the implementation and launch of Blackboard Ultra, Northumbria University created a four-stage training program that ran for a year and a half, to meet the needs of all stakeholders during the transition. With 80% of academic staff involved, as well as professional support and students, the University began the academic year in the Blackboard Ultra VLE with staff and students successfully engaged.

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The State University of New York at Buffalo

The State University of New York at Buffalo, New York, United States
Center for Educational Innovation

The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) established CEI Academies to support their teaching and learning mission. The academies follow three tracks: Designing Experiences, Learning Paradigms, and Teaching Effectively, and include interactive workshops with effective instruction to improve faculty development and skills. The content from the academies will be shared throughout the SUNY system and are continuously improving from participant feedback.

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Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas

Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, Peru
Digital Learning Team – Jorge Bossio, Silvana Balarezo, Isabel Arana, and Cleofe Vergara

When UPC made the switch to Blackboard, they immediately looked for ways to educate faculty and develop their institution virtually. BBChampion was their first initiative, which resulted in instructors becoming experts on the online platforms. From there, UPC launched “Summer Challenges” where they experienced incredible results and significant increases in participation. UPC teachers are designing innovative learning experiences and other projects related to digital transformation that are helping the university in terms of retention and exploring the learning space beyond the physical classroom.

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University of Southampton

University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Digital Learning Team, iSolutions – Bobbi Moore, Anna Ruff, Matthew Deeprose, Sarah Fielding, and Tamsyn Smith

The University of Southampton, discovers and disseminates existing best practices through the “Excellence in Blackboard VLE Awards”. Now in its 8th edition, this initiative engages students and gathers their feedback to showcase good practices and innovative learning approaches and shares them across all levels at the university.


This award honors those customers whose methods have ensured their pedagogy, content, technology, and educational services are fully inclusive and supportive of all learners with disabilities.


Texas Tech University, Texas, United States
eLearning Instructional Design & Blackboard Support

The eLearning team at Texas Tech University implemented a university-wide incorporation of Ally through a roll-out campaign entitled, “Get Your Gauge Up,” through extensive marketing, training, website redesign, and faculty support. TTU eLearning executed a system to evaluate new online courses for quality course design and accessibility, resulting in 142 additional courses and a significant increase in the institutional accessibility score. This Ally roll-out plan was accomplished by collaboration between many departments and team members, including the eLearning instructional design team, IT, marketing, Blackboard support, and the accessibility team.

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
Walker Center for Teaching and Learning

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga uses Blackboard Ally, the LMS, Quality Matters, and other tools to support their effort to create a vibrant, inclusive campus that is accessible to all. Through their Accessible Information, Materials, and Technology Program (AIMT) and utilizing the Ally tool, UTC has improved its accessibility score by 41%. Their innovative strategy included promotion of accessibility through the AIMT, email communications, faculty training workshops, changes to the syllabus template, and changes to the LMS global navigation and course template.

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Universidad Autónoma de Baja California

Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico
Centro de Educación Abierta y a Distancia

Universidad Autónoma de Baja California designed the University Accessibility course to use with the UABC Online Learning Units Catalog to provide an inclusive, fully accessible course environment for students. The team worked on syllabus design, instructional design and publication on Blackboard, teacher training, and online course delivery to create a recognizable experience from course to course. This accessibility course aligns with UABC’s goal to utilize digital strategy across the entire institution, including management and substantive functions of the university.

University of Massachusetts Lowell,

University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
GPS Faculty Development Team – Lisa Panagopoulos, Carrie Powanda-Croft, Lois Reynolds, and Alena Woods

The GPS faculty development team at University of Massachusetts Lowell worked closely with faculty to ensure that every online course followed a standardized structure and was fully accessible to every student. This strategy included a detailed course compliance rubric that would be completed by faculty and approved by the GPS team, resulting in 80% of all online courses at UMass Lowell being fully accessible to students.

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This award recognizes institutions whose creative program application has led to increased retention, increased completion, and/or improved outcomes

Indian River State College

Indian River State College, Florida, United States
Virtual Campus – Veronica Martabano and Dr. Leigh Clay & Advising Services – Dale Hayes and the Academic Advising team

At Indiana River State College, the Student Learning Coordinator (SLC) works with advisors through a program called SLC-Advisor Connect, where data on students who may need more support is gathered and sent to advisors. From there, advisors reach out to students for further assistance. This process has helped IRSC utilize data to pinpoint who needs the most assistance and streamline the communication to those students for further guidance.

King Abdulaziz University

King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Deanship of e-learning and Distance Education

King Abdulaziz University redesigned online courses and launched The Development of the Supportive Course Program to address issues surrounding their Foundational Year Program (FYP) after experiencing low student engagement and achievement. The redesigning of online courses consisted of extensive training to implement instructional design practices, monitoring of progress, and evaluation of the newly developed courses. The Development of the Supportive Course Program targeted issues related to FYP students’ performance in science courses in both tracks. These improvement plans resulted in 80% student satisfaction rates with the new course versions and an increase in student interactions.

Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas

Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, Peru
Academic Excellence Program – Héctor Viale Tudela and Jessica Vlasica

The Academic Excellence Program (PEA) at the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC) aims to provide resources for new students to successfully transition into university life with educational technology. The program consists of three subjects: mathematics, language, and coaching for university learning, with accompanying educational methodology and technology at UPC. This process ensures readiness and full understanding when making the transition from secondary to higher education. Students enrolled in the program demonstrate lower drop-out rates and superior academic performance when compared to unenrolled students.


This award honors those institutions whose educational and administrative innovations have markedly improved the total learner experience.

College of Western Idaho

College of Western Idaho, Idaho, United States
Center for Teaching and Learning

College of Western Idaho supported their goal of growing student engagement through creating a collaborative instructional opportunity program called myCommons. myCommons is a centralized spot for students to engage in extended learning opportunities and earn badges created by university departments. This program has increased student engagement by providing a platform for students to participate in educational events and has already awarded nearly 7,500 badges to approximately 2,000 students.

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Schoolcraft College, Michigan, United States
Distance Learning Team

Schoolcraft College supported its initiative of improving the student experience through leveraging Open Educational Resources (OER) and providing a path for students to meet their Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) requirements completely online. The initial campaign focused on making courses fully accessible through replacing publisher textbooks with free OER resources for students. Schoolcraft has redesigned 14 different courses with OER textbooks, saving more than $1.4 million in textbook costs for nearly 11,000 students and savings of over $1,200 per student that completes their MTA online.

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The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Learn Foundations Project Team in ISG

The Learn Foundations project is transforming the online learning space at Edinburgh by delivering a more consistent student experience and providing students with everything they need in a simple, quick and efficient way, to minimize time spent searching and maximize time spent learning. The project is also inspiring staff to re-think how they use Learn, shifting the conversation from the VLE as a simple online repository to a dynamic area for the facilitation of learning.

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