Each year NUTN’s global awards program recognizes significant contributions, innovation and leadership by individuals and organizations. These much sought after awards are given to those advancing applications of technology to teaching and learning in higher education.

Awardees are selected by review panels in response to an annual call for nominations, including self-nominations. In addition, awards nominated by NUTN members are given for Institutional Achievement and Leadership in NUTN. The highest individual honor given by the NUTN Advisory Board is the Distinguished Service Award, given to an individual or group of individuals of national prominence, who may come from other fields of endeavor and whose work has significantly contributed to our dynamic field. All awards are presented in-person at NUTN’s annual fall conference.

Awards / Categories

Award Recipients

  NUTN Research & Scholarship Award

The NUTN Research and Scholarship Award recognizes an individual or multiple individuals who have engaged in significant new research with implications for the field of distance learning and the use of technology as a delivery mechanism in higher education.

  •   Charles Hodges & Rachel Harris,
    "Using Google Tools for Online Coursework: Student Perceptions"
 Recipient: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"Using U-Pace Instruction to Improve the Academic Performance of Economically Disadvantaged Undergraduates"
Authors: Dr. Raymond Fleming, Ms. Leah Stoiber, Ms. Heidi Pfeiffer, Ms. Sarah Kienzler, Mr. Ryan Fleming, Ms. Laura Pedrick, Dr. Dylan Barth and Dr. Diane Reddy

"The Impact of Previous Online Course Experience on Students' Perceptions of Quality"
Authors: Emily Hixon and Casimir Barczyk, Purdue University Calumet, Penny Ralston-Berg, Penn State World Campus, Janet Buckenmeyer, Armstrong State University
"In Search of Quality: Using Quality Matters to Analyze the Quality of Massive, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs)"
Authors: Patrick R. Lowenthal, Boise State University and Charles B. Hodges, Georgia Southern University
  •   Dr. Kevin Bell, Northeastern University
    "Online 3.0- The Rise of the Gamer Educator: The Potential Role of Gamification in Online Education"

      Boise State University
    "Student Perceptions of Online Learning: An Analysis of Online Course Evaluation"
    Authors: Patrick Lowenthal, Christine Bower, Ken-Zen Chen
  •   Dr. Bethany Simunich, Kent State University,
    "The Impact of Findability on Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality"

      Dr Wu He, ODU
    "Examining students' online interaction in a live video streaming environment using data mining and text mining."
  •   Melissa Layne, Phil Ice, and Liz Wallace, American Public University System (APUS)
    "Measuring Students Perception of Teaching Presence in an Online Environment"

      Diane Reddy, Ray Fleming, Laura Pedrick, Danielle Jirovec, Heidi Pfeiffer, Katie Ports, Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris, Alicia Helion, and Rodney Swain,
    University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee,
    "U-Pace Instruction: Improving Student Success"
  •   Dr. Constance Wanstreet & David S. Stein, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH,
    "Presence Over Time in Synchronous Communities of Inquiry"
  • Honorable Mention:   James A. Wallis, St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, FL., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee,
    "A Phenomenological, Evaluative Approach to Developing Ecology Virtual Field Trips for Undergraduate, Non-Major College Students"
  •   Dr. Rebecca Van de Vord, Washington State University
    "Presence Over Time in Synchronous Communities of Inquiry"
  •   Dr. M'hammed Abdous and Dr. Wu He, Old Dominion University
    "Using Text Mining to Uncover Students' Technology-related Problems in Live Video Streaming"
  •   Gary Brown, Theron Desrosier, Nils Peterson, Meriem Chida and Randy Lagier, Washington State University: The Center for Teaching, Learning, & Technology,
    "Harvesting Feedback, Accountability & Community"
  •   Gary Brown, Yoon Jung Cho and Ashley Atter-Kranov, Washington State University,
    "Faculty Teaching Beliefs, ePortfolios, and Web 2.0 at the Crossroads"
  •   Joan Anderson, Gary Brown and Stephen Spaeth, Washington State University
    "Online Student Evaluations and Response Rates Reconsidered"
  •   Gail Derrick, Regent University
    "An Exploration of Attitudinal and Situational Factors Related to Intrinsic Motivation and Autonomy in Teacher Education Students"

  Distance Education Innovation Award

This award recognizes an individual or group that has developed an innovative program or practice that contributes to the field of distance education, in the context of a new or ongoing program, student or support services, pedagogy, faculty development and support or technology.

Stream It, Dallas County Community College District
Member Division: Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence
Open Division: University of South Florida

 Member Division Finalists
Master of Science in Data Analytics (MSDA), University of Maryland University College,

Dr. Kaye Shelton, Lamar University
  • Member Division Winners (Tie):
      Fort Hays State University, College of Education & Technology (COET)
      World Campus Learning Design, WPSU Penn State, The Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

    Clemson University, Clemson Online
  • Open Division Winner:
      Colorado Technical University

    University of South Florida
  • Member Division:
      Dr Brian Worden, Capella University, Competency Based Education Program

    Excelsior College OWL Team, Excelsior College, ESL Writing Online: OWL Initiative
  • Non-Member Division:
      Stacey Utley-Bernhard, Frostburg State University, Summer Online Freshman Initiative

    Dr. David Stein, The Ohio State University, Bootcamp for Beginning Online Instructors
  • NUTN Member Division:
      Excelsior College, ESL WOW at Excelsior College: "A Writing Online Workshop for ESL Writers"

    Memorial University, Newfoundland & Labrador, The CONNECT Program
    Michigan State University, AgShare: Creating Open Resources That Make a Difference
    Lone Star College, Lone Star College Online
  • Open Academic Division:
      WICHE, The Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework

    University of California - Irvine, UCI Open Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University, Personalized Learning
  • NUTN Member Division:
      Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI: "MetroAgOPEN Online Course"
      Penn State World Campus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, "Utilizing Web 2.0 Technologies to Build a Dynamic Community of Penn Staters Worldwide"

    Honorable Mention:
    Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA, "Online Course Design & Multimedia Components"
    Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ, "CloudCre8 - Fluid Course Design"
  • Open Academic Division:
      University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, "U-Pace: Advancing the Practice of Distance Education"

    Honorable Mention:
    American Military University/American Public University, Manassas, VA, "American Public University System Library Guides: Doppler Shift Project"
    Jogi Vedavati, "By the Students - For the Students"
    Northeastern University Online, Boston, MA, "Creating a Culture of Quality in Online Education"
  • Corporate Division - Honorable Mention:
    Hands-on Labs, Englewood, CO, "LabPaq"
  •   Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS), Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: "The Miawpukek First Nations Heritage Project"
      Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Tallahassee, FL: "Orange Grove Texts Plus: Providing Affordable, Adaptable and Accessible Open Textbooks to Faculty and Students"
      University of California, Irvine: "OpenCourseWare"
      Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ: "FlashTrack – Education on the Move"

    Honorable Mention:
      Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: "High Park Tour with Sam Benvie"
      Massey University, New Zealand: "A Student Success Framework: Beyond the Distance Retention Goulash"
      Dr. Irena Bojanova and Les Pang, University of Maryland University College (UMUC), Adelphi, MD: "Integration of Virtual Worlds, Social Networks, and Cloud Computing for the Next Generation Learning Platform"
      Dr. Frank Vander Valk, State University of New York (SUNY),Albany, New York
  •   Liz Anderson, Capella University, Minneapolis, MN: "Next Generation Learning: New Models for Course Personalization and Relationship Building"
      David Shupe, eLumen Collaborative, Saint Paul, MN: "eLumen: A Truly Academic Approach to Assessing Learning Outcomes"

    Honorable Mention:
      Naza Djafarova, The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: "Lake Devo Online Role Play Application"
  •   Alexandra M. Pickett, Associate Director, SUNY Learning Network (SLN): Online Teaching Self-Assessment Survey for Experienced Online Faculty
  •   Weber State University: Jo Ellen Jonsson, WSU Online: Master Online Teacher Certification Program
  •   The University of Michigan College of Engineering & General Motors Technical Education Program
  •   Capella University

  Distinguished Service Award

Each year, the NUTN Advisory Board selects one person to receive this highest award given. The honoree will be invited to be our luncheon speaker on the second day of our conference. This award is sometimes described as the highest award the NUTN Board gives annually. From its inception in 1997, it is indeed a distinguished list.

 Recipient: Dr. Karen Swan, Professor of Educational Leadership and a Research Associate in the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS)
 Recipient: Dr. Javier Miyares, University of Maryland University College
  •   Sir John Daniel, Distance Learning Pioneer, The UK Open University
  •   Dr. Candace Marie Thille, Director, Open Learning Initiative Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
  •   Dr. Bruce N. Chaloux, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sloan Consortium, Southern Regional Education Board
  •   Dr. Linda Thor, Chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Los Altos Hills, CA
  •   Dr. Mark David Milliron, Deputy Director, Higher Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  •   Dr. Dwight W. Allen, Eminent Scholar of Educational Reform, Emeritus, Old Dominion University
  •   Elliott Masie, The Masie Center
  •   Gary Miller, Penn State World Campus
  •   Chris Dede, Graduate School of Education/Futurist, Harvard University
  •   Diane Oblinger, Vice President, Educause
  •   John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems
  •   Dr. Carol Twigg, President and CEO, National Center for Academic Transformation
  •   Steve Crow, Executive Director, The Higher Learning Commission
  •   Mary Beth Peters, U.S. Registrar of Copyrights, Library of Congress
  •   Lionel Baldwin, Founding President, National Technological University (NTU)
  •   Dr. Sally Johnstone, Executive Director, WCET
  •   Frank Mayadas, Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  •   Larry Irving, Jr., Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce and Director, >National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
  •   Michael Leavitt, Governor of Utah contributions to Western Governors University

  Institutional Achievement

The NUTN Institution Achievement award recognizes an institutional member of the National University Technology Network (NUTN) for effective use of technology in teaching and learning and/or organizational administration (or administrative operations) that is exemplary, demonstrates leadership and commitment, and advances the field as an institutional model.

 Recipient: Colorado Technical University
 Recipient: Herkimer College / SUNY
  •   Open SUNY, The State University of New York
  •   Ann Marie Vaughan, The College of the North Atlantic

    Dr. Suzan Harkness, University of the District of Columbia
  •   Virginia Tech, Virginia Polytechnic & State University
  •   eduKan, Great Bend, KS

    Honorable Mention:
      Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI and
      Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA
  •   R. Jan LeCroy Center, Dallas County Community College District, Dallas, TX
  •   Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada - Press release

  J.O. Grantham Leadership Award

The J. O. Grantham Leadership Award, named for the founder of NUTN, is given to a person who represents strong leadership in the field of distance learning and technology. This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities in the NUTN organization and in the field of educational technologies as a whole. Nominations and vote of the NUTN membership determine the recipient of the award. Only NUTN members are eligible for this award.

 Recipient: Mark C. Halsey, University System of Maryland Hagerstown
  •   John Sener, Sener Knowledge LLC
  •   Dr. Henry van Zyl, TESC
  •   Dr. Mel Muchnik, Professor Emeritus, Governors State University
  •   Danella Soeka, Hands-on Labs, Englewood, CO and
      Governors State University, Chicago, IL
  •   Dr. Dana Offerman
  •   Gary Greenberg and
      Patrick Pow
  •   Janis Hall
  •   Nancy Thompson
  •   Elizabeth Craft
  •   Cynthia Elliot
  •   Edie Barnett and
      Janis Hall
  •   Monica Pilkey
  •   Jeanne McGrath
  •   Ted Christensen

  Nofflet Williams Service Award

In 2001, the NUTN Advisory Board established the Nofflet Williams Service Award in honor of the contributions and memory of Dr. Nofflet Williams as a founding member. Dr. Williams provided service to hundreds of individuals in the area of distance education at the local, regional and national levels.

This award recognizes an individual who exhibits, over a sustained period and in a consistent manner, the commitment to providing service to those in the field. It signifies the individual is acknowledged to be a contributor, a mentor, a do-er, and a leader of national and international note. Since the central core of NUTN is to provide service in the exchange of experience, practice and theory to all in the organization in a free manner, the award is doubly significant.

The Nofflet Williams Service Award is presented on an annual basis (as appropriate) by the NUTN Board to an individual who is seen as providing an outstanding example of service to the organization and to others in our field. All professionals in the field are eligible for this award regardless of NUTN membership.

  •   Russell Poulin, Director, Policy & Analysis, WCET
Dr. Deb Adair, Quality Matters
Dr. Kevin Bell, Western Sydney University
  •   Alexandra Pickett, Director of the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence
  •   Dr. Mike Offerman, Capella University
  •   Dr. Karen Vignare, University of Maryland University College
  •   Julie Porosky Hamlin, Quality Matters & Maryland Online, Annapolis, MD
  •   Dr. Chris Geith
  •   Joeann Humbert
      Frank Mayadas
  •   Ted Christensen
  •   Monica Pilkey
  •   Mel Muchnik
  •   Anne Raymond Savage
  •   Jerry Hargis (first recipient)

  Shirley Davis Award

Partnerships between academic institutions and corporations (or other non-academic organizations) can be creative and powerful opportunities for advancing teaching and learning through the use of technology. They bring together technology-based resources, perspectives and approaches that can uniquely and positively impact experiences and outcomes for students. This award recognizes such partnerships that have demonstrated impact from the collaboration and integration of perspectives and resources in an initiative or program.

 Recipient: Jacksonville State University & The NROC Project Collaboration
  •   Mr. Steven R. Crawford, Arizona State University, "The Fab Tech Workshop"
  •   College of North Atlantic, Newfoundland, Labrador, & Qatar, "Blended Delivery of Apprenticeship Training: Brining Learners Together Through Technology"

    Dr. Linda Yarrow, Kansas State University and
    Michigan State University, Equine Business Network
  •   Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, Penn State Video Learning Network

    Honorable Mention:
      Division of Continuing Education, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, "Comparative Food and Agriculture Systems"
     Florida State University at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL, "Using Anchored Instruction and Game-Based Learning in a Cybersecurity Course"
  •   The United States Coast Guard, (PSSU Honolulu Learning Center, Barber’s Point Air Station) in partnership with the Wayland Baptist University campus in Aiea, Hawaii

    Honorable Mention:
      Temple University and Catherine C. Schifter, Ph.D., "Introduction to Research Method and Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods"
  •   Dr. Ruth Farber, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA: "National and International Models Serving People with Disabilities: Teaching Occupational Therapy Theory Using Distance Education"
  •   Michigan State University: Gwyn Heyboer, Christine Skelly, Karen Vignare & Kathleen Anderson: My Horse University & Extension HorseQuest
  •   Capella University: Susan Perry, Nick White
  •   Washington State University: Cheryl Dhein, DVM MS, "Web Conferencing in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University"
  •   STARLINK: "Connecting CATs and CoLTs: Techniques to Improve Student Learning"

  Learner Recognition Award

The NUTN Student Recognition Award recognizes students whose use of distance learning has been both exemplary and impactful in providing opportunities for personal or professional advancement.

Students for the NUTN Student Recognition award will be nominated by local or host institutions to the annual NUTN event (conference/summit). The nominating party should submit a brief synopsis of the student's distance learning experiences, and address the three criteria listed below. Selected students will be invited to attend the NUTN annual event with a complimentary registration to receive their recognition award.

Nathan Smit, Kansas State University
Kathleen Gervase, University of Maryland, University College
 Recipient: John Cook, University of Maryland University College
  •   Alicia Fernandez, The State University of New York
  • Jacklyn Thompson, UMUC
  • Ms. Jody Burke, Memorial University
  • Molly Frendo, Michigan State University
  • Rebecca Anderson, College of North Atlantic
  • Adam Jennings, University of Maryland University College
  • Brent Chyna, University of Maryland University College Adelphi, MD
  • Glori Hinck, Boise State University, Boise, ID
  • Honorable Mention:
    Sheryl Davis, Savannah College of Art and Design
    Deborah Kane, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
    Alfred P. Orth, U.S. Coast Guard Learning Center, Honolulu, HI & St. Leo University, St. Leo, FL
  •   Andrew Bedley, Cedar Valley Community College
      Leslie Sussan, The University of Maryland University College
  •   Mariana Faiai, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS
      Brian Mackes, Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs, CO