Oklahoma Online Excellence Award

The purpose of the Online Learning Excellence Award is to recognize individuals and groups that demonstrate exemplary leadership, innovation, collaboration, and results that advance online and blended learning in the State of Oklahoma.

Awardees are selected based on the criteria listed below. Evidence should be provided that supports how the nominee demonstrates each of the criteria.

A diverse panel of reviewers will evaluate the submissions and select awardees to be recognized during the Oklahoma Learning Innovations Summit in April 2019.

Submit A Nomination

Award Nominations Open: November 15, 2018

Award Nominations Due: January 31, 2019


We look forward to receiving your 2019 Oklahoma Online Excellence Award nomination.

For questions related to the nomination process, please email Stacy Southerland at ssoutherland@uco.edu or Bucky Dodd at bdodd1@uco.edu.

Award Criteria


  • Innovation – The individual or team has been recognized for innovative, engaging, unique, and creative initiatives that advance online teaching and learning, disrupt normal processes, and meet a proven need. This innovation could take the form of a concept, project, tool, solution, program, pedagogy, or method.
  • Collaboration – The individual or team collaborates with other online education practitioners to provide leadership, share resources, and model innovative, creative practices in and approaches to online teaching and learning.
  • Impact, Results and Sustainability – The individual or team presents evidence of effectiveness and success, continuing assessment of effectiveness, and significant and sustainable impact.


  • Pedagogy The individual demonstrates excellence in online teaching and learning environment design practices.
  • Innovation – The individual Integrates unique, innovative, creative, engaging, and effective instructional learning environment design practices.
  • Collaboration – The individual collaborates with other online educators to provide leadership, share resources, model effective online teaching practices, and mentor.
  • Results and Sustainability – The individual Presents evidence of measures for assessing excellence, effectiveness, and sustainability of online teaching practices.



  • Leadership The individual demonstrates a commitment to leadership in advancing the quality and excellence in online education within their institution and the State of Oklahoma.
  • Innovation The individual demonstrates a proven record of accomplishment in innovation and advancing progressive approaches to supporting student success in online and blended learning environments.
  • Collaboration The individual engages in collaborative opportunities to advance the quality and success of online education in the State of Oklahoma.
  • Results The individual consistently produces results that demonstrate exemplary success with initiatives.


Team, Program, or Institution

  • Leadership – The institution/team/program demonstrates transformative leadership in advancing the quality and excellence in online education within their institution and the State of Oklahoma.
  • Innovation – The institution/team/program demonstrates a proven track record of innovation and advancing progressive approaches to supporting student success in online and blended learning environments.
  • Collaboration – The institution/team/program engages in collaborative opportunities to advance the quality and success of online education in the State of Oklahoma.
  • Results – The institution/team/program consistently produces results that demonstrate exemplary success with initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a minimum or maximum page, word, or character count limit for nominations?
No. Nomination narratives should address each criteria for the award category in questions and evidence should be provided for each criteria.
Is a specific format required for the narrative or evidence files?
No. The nominator has the creative freedom to determine how best to frame the narrative and present supporting evidence.

However, it is recommended that programs and formats for the narrative be those that are widely available and used to ensure the files can be opened by each selection committee member.

For example, Word documents and Adobe .pdf files are good options for written materials video files should also be formatted so as to be easily opened and viewed with ease.

Is there a limit on the number of evidence files that may be included with a nomination?
No. The file name for each evidence file should clearly represent which nomination the evidence accompanies and the criteria it addresses.

Individual files may not exceed 30MB. FIles that exceed that limit, such as video files, may be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or a simliar option and linked through the narrative or other evidence information files.

May I submit screen shots of a website, module, et cetera, with nomination materials?
Yes. The file name for each evidence file should clearly represent which nomination the evidence accompanies and the criteria it addresses. However, if you have multiple screenshots or images, consider presenting them in a single document to faciltiate ease of access for reviewers.
May I mail additional material or copies of my submission(s) to the selection committee for consideration?
No submission materials will be accepted via mail. All nominations and supporting materials must be submitted online via the awards website.
How should nominations for blended learning experiences be presented for awards that include online and blended contexts?
COLE considers blended courses a subset of online learning and the OOEA program includes consideration of blended initiatives and practices and their integration of online teaching methods and technologies with other delivery strategies.

The rubric referenced for the Oklahoma Online Excellence teaching award references “online/blended” teaching in the first section to indicate that blended teaching/initiatives were eligible for award consideration. Only the term “online” in criteria wording in order to render the readability of the rubric less cumbersome.

Effective teaching practices are universal regardless of the course delivery modality and largely related to learner success within a course environment. As such, evaluation of nominations that relate to blended learning will consider the integration of online facets of learning with the other learning environments/modalities teaching that the nomination entails.

Will nominations be evaluated by selection committee members from the nominated institution?
No. Nominations will be evaluated by committee members that are not affiliated with the individual, program, team, or institution nominated for an award.

In addition, members of COLE and/or the selection committee who are nominated for an award do not evaluate nominations in the category for which they have been nominated.

May I submit an award on behalf of someone else?
Yes. Given that nominees often have the most in-depth knowledge of their work, consider working closely the nominee to obtain information and evidence to support the nomination.
May I nominate myself?
When the nominee is a team, how do I clarify that there are multiple nominees even though there is only one individual indicated in the nominee field?
The nomination form includes fields both for the nominee and for indicating the name as it should appear on the award. Indicate the team leader in the nominee field and use the ‘ame as it should appear on the award field to enter the collective team name or the names of all team members. If there are more than 3-4 team members, the group should be referenced collectively. For example, “Center for Teaching and Learning, Example Community College.”

The nomination narrative should also reference the group as a whole when describing accomplishments for which the team is being nomiated to help clarify that a team rather than only the team leader is being nominated.

Will my nomination materials be kept confidential?
Yes. All nominations and related materials are used for judging purposes only and will remain confidential.
Is there a limit to the number of submissions an individual or organization may submit?
What is the absolute latest time and date for submitting a nomination?
11:59 PM CDT on the indicated nomination due date. This deadline allows the selection committee to complete its work before the opening of the COLE Learning Innovations Summit when awardees are announced and won’t be extended.
When will award winners be notified?
The OSRHE Oklahoma Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) will notify award recipients and non-recipients by e-mail approximately no later than the week before the COLE Learning Innovations Summit.
Is there a nomination fee?

 2018 Selection Committee

  • Chris Austin, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics, Oklahoma Christian University
  • Jake Boedecker, MS, Coordinator and Chair of Distance/Online Learning, Northwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Tamara Dawson, EdD, Associate Professor of Business, School of Professional and Graduate Studies, Southern Nazarene University
  • Tracy Fairless, MA, Assistant Director, Center for eLearning and Connected Environments, University of Central Oklahoma
  • Jonathan Fozard, MBA, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology, University of Oklahoma
  • Shona Gambrell, MS, Director of Online Learning, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University
  • DeLisa Ging, EdD, Language Arts Instructor, Instructional Designer, Faculty Professional Development Coordinator, Northern Oklahoma College
  • Sarah Harrel, MA, Instructional Designer, Center for eLearning and Connected Environments, University of Central Oklahoma
  • Dana Lindon-Burgett, PhD, Director, Center for Academic Innovation, Rose State College
  • Veronica McGowan, DEd, Assistant Professor, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Kyle Motsinger, MA, Instructional Designer, Center for eLearning and Connected Environments, University of Central Oklahoma
  • Simon Ringsmuth, MS, Computer Specialist, Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Oklahoma State University
  • Brenda Sherbourne, EdD, Dean, College of Education and Psychology, East Central University
  • Stacy Southerland, PhD, Professor, Center for eLearning and Connected Environments, University of Central Oklahoma, Committee Chair (Non-Voting)
  • Glenne’ Whisenhunt, PhD, Director, Center for Learning & Teaching, Oklahoma City Community College, Coordinator, 2018 Teaching Award Selection Sub-Committee

Past Recipients



Mr. Randy Dominguez, Director of Online Learning at Tulsa Community College (TCC).


Online Learning Department

Tulsa Community College

In the nomination materials, Mr. Dominguez and his team were praised for their “Ongoing Professional Development Plan for Faculty Who Teach Online” project.  This project specifically targets improving online education and requires that full-time faculty attend a recognized and significant training activity with a demonstrated outcome of improving course design or content.  This innovative, three-year program gives faculty members the flexibility to select one of 8 options for professional development, all with the goal of improving online teaching at TCC.



Dr. Stacy Southerland, Professor of Spanish and CeCE Faculty Liaison, University of Central Oklahoma (UCO).

Dr. Stacy Southerland

University of Central Oklahoma

In her nomination materials, Dr. Southerland’s colleagues describe her online teaching and learning environment design practices as a “pillar of excellence.”  Dr. Southerland has received awards for innovative, creative teaching at multiple levels, including UCO’s Vanderford Initiative Award, given by UCO’s president for exceptional initiative in support of character, civility, community and leadership, as well as spotlight recognition at the D2L Users’ Global Conference.  She has worked tirelessly and effectively to design exceptional online Spanish courses.  This is evidenced in communication from her students, who routinely discuss her empathy for and understanding of learner needs, teaching effectiveness, and high academic standards.


Leadership: Individual

Dr. Gary Dotterer, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

Dr. Gary Dotterer

Rogers State University

Dr. Dotterer was described by his nominator as a “tireless advocate for student and faculty needs in online education.”  As a leader in online teaching and learning, Dr. Dotterer led a major, university-wide initiative to migrate to a new learning management system.  Dr. Dotterer demonstrated careful leadership in this process, resulting in the university’s distance education committee, faculty senate, and academic council unanimously voting to migrate to the same learning management system.  Dr. Dotterer’s leadership has yielded tangible results: even when on-ground enrollment has declined, online enrollment has continued to grow under his leadership.


Leadership: Team

University of Oklahoma (OU) Information Technology division

Courtney Kneifl, Eddie Huebsch, Zena Chatman Madi, Kevin Buck

Office of Information Technology

 University of Oklahoma

OU Information Technology (OU IT) is a nationally recognized, leading information technology organization in higher education. OU IT has demonstrated repeated excellence in user experience, community engagement, and innovation on the University of Oklahoma’s campus.  OU IT demonstrates particular excellence in their role in student engagement, and they recognize that the process of coming to college can be overwhelming. There are new people to meet, a new place to live, classes to locate, jobs to find, and a multitude of deadlines – in addition to coursework that is many times more challenging than anything students have previously experienced. To make this time less stressful, OU IT ensures students know how to quickly and easily access the IT resources they need.  Additionally, the team recently undertook a campus-wide transition of OU’s online learning management system (LMS), in which they decommissioned D2L (Desire to Learn) and adopted Canvas. In order to better prepare students for this transition, OU IT refreshed all the content of the university’s Tech Bootcamp course and moved it into Canvas to showcase the new LMS. By adding multimedia content and offering incentives for participation, OU IT was able to better engage students online with the technology they will use to complete their coursework.

2017 Award Recipients