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18 for '11: 2011 another award-winning, record-breaking year for Memorial

By Courtenay Alcock

A screen capture of the book Muinji'j Becomes a Man in Second Life.

This year has shaped up to be another awards success story for Memorial's Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS).

DELTS received a total of 18 awards in 2011 from a string of professional organizations. The awards include recognition for DELTS partnerships and collaborations, animation, video production, student services, innovation, marketing and communications, classroom design and program excellence.

The latest was accepted at the recent National University Technology Network (NUTN) conference, where DELTS received the Distance Education Innovation award for the Miawpukek Heritage First Nations Project. "These awards are a reflection of the depth of talent dedicated to the services we provide," said Rob Wells, acting director of DELTS. "The tremendous thing about these awards is that they touch virtually every facet of our organization." In addition to being Memorial's distance education provider, the unit supports teaching and learning across the institution offering media services, classroom design and support, and instructional development for faculty and graduate students. DELTS also provides significant support to on-campus use of the university's learning management system, Desire2Learn, which is used for all online aspects of courses, whether they are offered at a distance or on campus.

"Our partnerships with academic units, our students, the K-12 system and communities in this province have all contributed to these awards," said Mr. Wells. The Miawpukek First Nations Heritage project has received several awards for partnership/collaboration, animation and innovation for distance education.

Together with the Miawpukek Band Council of Conne River, Newfoundland and Labrador, DELTS created an immersive environment for the project to engage First Nation youth and allow them to learn of their cultural past and traditions, and preserve and share their history for generations to come. Another successful project, The Course of Choice campaign, received a number of marketing and communications awards. This campaign was created to profile and highlight inspiring students who have pursued a university education despite various challenges of location, lifestyle and time constraints. Students were photographed in their own stunning vistas, telling stories about why distance education is their course of choice. The awards for this campaign prove the impact and reach of real world experiences and stories.