WOW Media Release 2018

WCET’s 2018 WOW Awardees Transform the College Learning Experience with Innovative, Technology-based Solutions

WCET is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 WCET Outstanding Work award— Colorado State University/ Grit Digital Health, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, Colorado Technical University, Open SUNY, and University of Montana.

Contact: Lindsey Downs
Manager, Communication, WCET

Boulder, CO – Since 2004, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) has presented the WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award to colleges, universities, and organizations who implement exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to contemporary challenges in higher education. The WOW award helps WCET meet its mission of promoting innovative and effective practice by providing exemplary programs as models for the higher education community to adapt for their own students and faculty.

The five 2018 WOW award recipients have all implemented solutions in areas shown to have impact on student success.

  • Colorado State University and Grit Digital Health: YOU@CSU.
  • Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide: WRAP Worldwide Retention, Affinity, and Persistence.
  • Colorado Technical University, CTU Faculty App.
  • Open SUNY, The Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) Rubric, Dashboard, and Resources.
  • University of Montana: EdReady Montana: Scaling a Low-Cost College Readiness Initiative Statewide.

“Each and every year, the WOW Awards committee has a challenging task to review outstanding proposals from across the country to select our final award recipients,” said Kara Monroe, Vice President for Academic Innovation and Support at Ivy Tech Community College, and chair of the WOW Awards committee. “This year’s five award recipients represent the entire 2018 class of proposals as an outstanding reflection of the innovation, quality, leadership, and vision needed to help students, faculty, and institutions succeed in higher education today.”

The WOW awardees will be recognized by WCET’s national community of higher education innovators during the WCET 30th Annual Meeting, October 23 – 25, 2018 in Portland, OR.

The 2018 WOW Award winners:

Colorado State University and Grit Digital Health: YOU@CSU.

Fifty percent of students who drop-out of higher education are in good academic standing; 25% with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. National trends indicate that 50% of students who drop out due to a mental health condition have not accessed on-campus supports for that condition (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2016). The goal of YOU@CSU is to provide a scalable and personalized tool that is available 24/7/365 to increase grit, resilience, coping strategies, and mental health literacy to promote academic success. YOU@CSU goals are to increase student self-awareness and provide early intervention and connection to campus resources related to students’ academic, physical, and mental health. To achieve these goals, the portal was designed to have resources that span three domains: Succeed – academic and career success; Thrive – physical and mental well-being; and Matter – campus involvement and connections. The portal uses personalization to cater specific content to each student and includes engaging screening tools that keep students on track in respects to their academics, health, and campus involvement.

From 2016-2018, YOU@CSU has had over 41,000 unique visitors and over 10,000 screening assessments have been completed. 75% of students reported that because of using the portal, they are better able to manage their stress. 98% of first year users also reported learning new skills, tips, and resources to support their academics, physical and mental health. This is significant in ensuring that students are connecting with resources to assist in their transition to increased classroom demands, new freedoms and heightened campus involvement to bolster social connections.

Contact: Nathaan Demers, Psy.D
Grit Digital Health
720-407-8920; nathaan@gritdigitalhealth.com

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide: WRAP Worldwide Retention, Affinity, and Persistence

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide provides instruction using online and face-to-face delivery methods. A drastic increase in virtual enrollments (from 9% to 90% in 13 years), created a need for a transformation of the institution’s student support services. To address this need, they implemented several technology-based solutions and an enhanced support structure. The WRAP initiative are immersive solutions which include the incorporation of virtual labs into courses through a centralized virtual hub, the creation of individual academic advisor webpages, a new student orientation, a virtual student readiness and resource course, personalized degree maps, virtual new student on-boarding, virtual career services, and a virtual community. Technology-based solutions were created to prepare students to be successful distance learners from the onset of their educational journey and provide on-demand technology assistance. Students now have an “advisory for life” and personalized plan to ensure degree progression. Each student is equipped with cutting-edge technology and resources to create a unique educational experience.

Since implementation, students have increased traffic to their advisor webpages, new student matriculation rates have increased over 10% and persistence rates have increased 17%, while overall individual course registrations have increased 24%. Qualitative feedback has also been collected from students on their experiences using the virtual labs and virtual on-boarding available to them, which is used to enhance the initiatives. Embry Riddle is proud about these innovative initiatives, which are meeting the needs of their students.

Contact: Tiffani Jett
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
386-226-7960; JETTT1@erau.edu

Colorado Technical University: CTU Faculty App

After the successful implementation of a CTU student mobile application, faculty requested the development of an app just for them. Faculty requested a way to stay connected with their students, check in on their classes, and make the most of their time while on the go throughout the day. CTU responded by designing a mobile app specifically for faculty.

It was imperative for the functionality of the app to match the needs of CTU faculty, so their involvement in the creation of the app was a priority. Several focus groups were held with faculty to obtain feedback regarding what they wanted out of the app in order to best support their students. Once pieces of the app were built, faculty also participated in test groups to ensure the functionality was intuitive to use and met their needs. The app is a tool for busy faculty to have greater accessibility to their classroom so that they can more easily meet expectations, and most importantly, support students’ learning.

The app allows faculty to:

  • Stay on top of their courses anytime and anywhere,
  • Easily connect with students via email filtering mechanisms,
  • Monitor courses and view recently submitted assignments,
  • Review due dates and items that need attention,
  • Reply to discussion board postings, access adaptive learning technology, and post announcements while on the go.

732 faculty (out of 1180) have downloaded an used the app (adoption rate 62%) and faculty have spent 1,048 hours of time in the app since its release.

Contact: Airenicque Reeves
Colorado Technical University
(719) 598-0200; AReeves@coloradotech.edu

Open SUNY: The Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) Rubric, Dashboard, and Resources

The goal of the Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) rubric and process is to ensure that all SUNY online courses across the system at all SUNY campuses meet quality instructional design and accessibility standards, and are regularly and systematically reviewed, refreshed, and improved to reflect campus guidelines and research-based online effective practices. Open SUNY Online Teaching developed an online course design rubric and process that addresses both the instructional design and accessibility of an online course. The aim of the Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) Rubric and Process is to assist online instructional designers and online faculty to improve the quality and accessibility of their online courses. SUNY also uses OSCQR in new online faculty development and trains online instructional designers and online faculty peer course reviewers to use the tool to review existing online courses to identify areas that need improvement.

In a 2018 survey, 72% of responding students reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their online course, and 73% indicated that they had learned a great deal. In a 2015 survey, 71% of faculty agreed/strongly agreed that online courses achieve student learning outcomes at least equivalent to the in-person courses they themselves teach. The OSCQR rubric and process are currently being used by 56 SUNY institutions, and 825 non-SUNY individual, institutions, and organizations to improve the quality of their online courses and programs. The OSCQR rubric and processes can inform and influence the quality of online instruction on a very large scale. The rubric and processes are openly licensed for anyone to use and adapt.

Contact: Holly Liapis
518-320-1311; holly.Liapis@suny.edu

University of Montana: EdReady Montana: Scaling a Low-Cost College Readiness Initiative Statewide

State of Montana statistics in 2012 showed that fewer than 10% of Montana students starting in developmental math at the college level graduated within six years. EdReady Montana is closing students’ math learning gaps across the state and beyond. Starting with a pilot program in 2013 to address the issue of students in developmental math being underprepared for college-level math classes, the program was the first to adopt NROC’s EdReady program statewide in February of 2014 (two months before it was officially publicly released). The implementation has now stretched to serve over 450 organizations from upper elementary to middle and high school and all adult basic education centers in the state. Over 5,000 Montana students log in each month. These students work on accomplishing individual goals (selected by their school or themselves) and complete math related learning activities.

Adoption, professional development, adapted usage, research and statistics, technical support, innovations of the program to meet new/evolving needs, etc. all come into play in the complex system of support that it takes to offer, disseminate, communicate, and proliferate such a diverse program at a large scale.

The goals of the program included:

  • Providing a low cost or free alternative program for personalized math instruction for Montana teachers and learners,
  • Helping improve students’ confidence and attitudes toward their abilities in mathematics.

EdReady Montana can serve as a national model for how to scale this personalized instruction to a state implementation that encompasses K12, adult education, and higher education to address a systemic educational issue.


Cathy Cole
University of Montana
(406) 243-2311; Cathy.cole@mso.umt.edu


Adrea Lawrence
University of Montana
(406) 243-5054; Adrea.lawrence@mso.umt.edu


About WCET

WCET – the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies – is the leader in the practice, policy, & advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET is a national, member-driven, non-profit which brings together colleges and universities, higher education organizations and companies to collectively improve the quality and reach of e-learning programs. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), WCET’s parent organization, serves states, students, and institutions throughout and beyond the American West, and is one of four U.S. regional interstate compacts. Learn more: wcet.wiche.edu.