wins Blackboard Catalyst Award

For his fun and innovative course that helps teachers explore what apps they can use in the classroom, Regent’s University London Deputy Learning Technology Manager Christopher Rowell has won a prestigious Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching and Learning.

Received in recognition of the instructional design features of Mr Rowell’s ‘12 Apps of Christmas’ course, the international award recognises those who have adopted flexible, distance and online delivery, including using mobile technologies to positively impact the educational experience.

“I am proud to represent Regent’s University London as one of the winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching and Learning. Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts and I really feel pleased to be awarded this highly-prestigious award,” Mr Rowell said.

The 12 Apps of Christmas course he was recognised for is a free online programme held yearly in December that looks at how 12 free mobile apps can help academics in teaching or supporting students. It is mainly aimed at academic staff but more than 1,000 people take part in the course each year, which began in 2014.

“Through the 12 Apps of Christmas course, Regent’s University London recognised the importance of integrating technology into the classroom and developed a creative solution for educating lecturers on some of the different types of technology available to them,” Mr Rowell said.

“It’s a fun and engaging course that takes on a Christmas theme and runs much like an advent calendar, with one app being introduced each day with suggestions on how to integrate it into the classroom. We have received overwhelming positive reviews for the course.”

Mr Rowell came up for the idea for the course as an interesting way of engaging staff at the University and supporting their online continuing professional development. In his position as Deputy Learning Technology Manager at Regent’s, he is responsible for staff training and overseeing educational technology software. He has previously held roles as an economics lecturer and curriculum leader in education and is currently completing his PhD on the use of social media in higher education.

Mr Rowell was one of four winners in the Teaching and Learning category and the only one from the UK. In total there were 22 winners of Blackboard Catalyst Awards and only three from the UK.

Mr Rowell will be honoured alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2017, Blackboard’s annual user conference, to be held 25-27 July in New Orleans.