Rankings & Awards

School of Extended Education wins award for creative use of technology

October 15, 2018

The following content first appeared on the news page while UMass Global operated under its former name of Brandman University.

The portfolio of competency-based courses created for K-12 professionals earned Brandman University the ACHE Creative Use of Technology Award for 2018.

Erica Leahy, director of programs for the School of Extended Education, accepted the award at the 80th annual meeting of the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) in Newport, Rhode Island, Oct. 8-10.

Plumb and Leahy
Robin Plumb, regional director for ACHE, with Erica Leahy, director of programs for Brandman University School of Extended Education.

The award recognizes ACHE members for their innovative uses of instructional and distance learning technologies in lifelong learning. It’s presented annually.
“The award exemplifies content being put into action,” Leahy said. The conference theme of “Keeping the beacon of continuing education burning bright” matches Brandman’s emphasis on workforce development, she said.

The conference also gave Leahy the opportunity to learn what other universities are doing. “Everyone is interested in student engagement and finding ways to understand what matters to students,” Leahy said. The Brandman K-12 competency-based portfolio’s emphasis on community-building while still having the flexibility of an online, self-paced program was of particular interest to other conference attendees.

Development of the nine-course portfolio was made possible through a state grant to Woodlake Unified School District near Visalia, California. The district commissioned Brandman to deliver a two-year, teacher-training program with an emphasis on developing teacher confidence in implementing classroom instructional strategies focused on math concepts.

The portfolio of career and confidence-building courses is now available to teachers throughout California. It’s the university’s first competency-based set of programs not associated with the Brandman MyPath™ degree programs.

“We worked closely with our instructional design team to ensure that technology was integrated into the curriculum design to increase learner’s engagement, challenge and excitement in the learning process and maximize the potential of every learner,” Leahy wrote in nominating the university for the award.

Awards are always appreciated, Leahy said but the steady growth in interest in the portfolio is even better proof of the program’s success, Leahy said. “Teachers are completing the program and putting the concepts to use. They’re using the activities they’ve learned in their classrooms.”

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