DE Program Garners Leadership Award

Once again, the College of Engineering’s Distance Education Program is winning with stylus.

At IMS Global Learning Consortium’s annual conference, which was held in Austin, Texas, May 12-15, the College’s DE Program received a 2008 Learning Impact Leadership Award. This award is given in recognition of the most effective uses of technology to support and enhance learning.

Villanova was one 23 finalists from around the world selected to present their projects at the conference. A panel of judges performed the final rankings. Sean O’Donnell, the Distance Education Director, was particularly pleased to receive this award. "We won because of our whole program, not just because of our technology."

In April, O'Donnell was also an invited speaker at the 2008 national conference of the United States Distance Learning Association in St. Louis, Missouri. In one of the conference’s featured sessions, O’Donnell showed what a successful DE model looks like, highlighting the program's capabilities and outcomes. This was the second year that Villanova presented at the annual gathering, which attracts educators from around the country.

In the past several years, the DE Program has shared its expertise at many conferences and has received several accolades, including a Rich Media Impact Award for excellence in education and a Best Presentation Rooms Award for classroom design.

The College of Engineering's DE Program makes it possible for students with busy lives and tight schedules to pursue graduate degrees without ever coming to campus. Because the program uses rich media, a Web-based technology that allows for interactive learning and communication, DE students can participate in live classes and view archived ones. With 50 percent of the graduate engineering students now enrolled in DE courses, "it is clear," O'Donnell said, "that the line between classroom and online learning has been erased for most people."