USDLA Awards Bloomsburg University’s Use of Wimba for Excellence in Distance Learning

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<strong>New York &mdash; April 23</strong><br />Wimba, an education technology company, announced that the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) has awarded Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Professors Dr. Samuel Slike and Pamela Berman with its 2008 International Distance Learning Award for their use of Wimba to offer courses specifically designed for the deaf and hard of hearing. <br /><br />The award, Best Practices for Distance Learning Programming – Online Technology in Higher Education, was presented in conjunction with the 2008 National Conference in St. Louis. <br /><br />In the fall of 2006, Bloomsburg University launched an online course for students interested in learning the basic challenges, principles and practices related to educating people who are deaf and hard of hearing. <br /><br />The course, titled "History, Education, and Guidance of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing," combines a number of innovative design features using a variety of learning techniques essential to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Through the integration of Wimba Classroom, students have access to a sign-language interpreter and closed-caption text that accompany the standard slide presentation and instructor&#39;s voice. <br /><br />"We&#39;re making it possible for deaf and hard of hearing people to have equal access to information via the Internet," said Dr. Slike, instructor and curriculum coordinator of the Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program at Bloomsburg University. "The Wimba platform makes it possible to reach different student populations, with real-time lectures where students can collaborate and interact using an array of rich tools and resources." <br /><br />"We are honored that Wimba is recognized as a contributing factor in the success of Bloomsburg University&#39;s course for the deaf and hard of hearing," said Yancy Oshita, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Wimba. "This course is a testament to how technology has fostered the growth and development of new and innovative educational opportunities, specifically those that support a number of varying learning styles." <br /><br />Wimba Classroom is a live, virtual learning environment that allows faculty and students to build relationships by combining new interactive technologies with traditional best practices of instruction. Through the integration of online video, voice, chat, application sharing and white boarding, Wimba Classroom provides users with a rich multimedia experience and personal interaction With Wimba Classroom, faculty and students can listen and talk to each other, express emotion and be part of a learning community. Additionally, students with different learning styles, such as auditory and visual learners, can better meet their educational objectives. Students with hearing loss and visually impaired students can also be served better through a number of features designed to support these learning styles. <br /><br />Since 1987, USDLA has been the world&#39;s premier distance learning association. The USDLA International Awards program honored outstanding individuals and organizations for excellence in the field distance learning, education and training. <br /><br />"As a premier organization for the entire distance learning profession, we are honoring Bloomsburg University as a leader in the industry," said Dr. John G. Flores, CEO of USDLA. "The work of Samuel Slike and Pamela Berman has raised the bar of excellence and we are truly honored by their contributions to the distance learning industry." <br /><br />These prestigious International Awards are presented annually to organizations and individuals engaged in the development and delivery of distance learning programs. Included in the recognition ceremony were awards for 21st Century Best Practice, Best Practice for Distance Learning Programming, Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching, Outstanding Leadership by an Individual, Hall of Fame and Eagle Awards. <br /><br />The USDLA Awards were created to acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and to highlight those distance learning instructors, programs and professionals who have achieved and demonstrated extraordinary results through the use of online, videoconferencing, satellite and blended learning delivery technologies. <br /><br />In addition, winners will be recognized in an edition of USDLA&#39;s Distance Learning Today quarterly supplement, which appears in USA Today, and featured on the USDLA Web site. <br />

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