Public Health Professor Wins Blackboard Exemplary Course Award
Bethany Lanese, assistant professor of health policy and management in the College of Public Health at Kent State University, has been awarded the 2016-2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award for her course Foundations of Effective Public Health Leadership.
The biannual award program, hosted by Blackboard, the learning management system, used at Kent State for teaching, learning and student engagement, recognizes online courses that have excelled in four areas: Course Design, Interaction and Collaboration, Assessment and Learner Support.
Lanese previously won the award in 2015 for the course, Health Care Systems.
“When I won the first time, I wasn’t designing the course with the rubric in mind,” Lanese says, “So I went back through to make sure the assignments had authentic assessments and allowed for a certain level of interaction between students with things like peer review, which it did. Other suggestions from the reviewers were to include information about where to find rubrics and to encourage more discussion beyond the minimum requirements.”
Online courses that have great elements of instructional design, a high level of engagement through student interaction and collaboration and a high quality of students’ assessments and availability of resources are considered for the award.
“For the second course, right from the start I knew I wanted to put it up for the award,” Lanese says. “It was easier to make the assignments reach a certain standard at that point.”
Courses are first self-reviewed by the instructor with a rubric that divvies up the four core areas and ranks strengths in these areas. Then, the course is peer-reviewed to analyze elements of those same course elements.
Lanese holds a doctorate in political science from Wayne State University and taught at Eastern Michigan University before venturing into the healthcare field.
“For about five years, I was in healthcare management and really wanted to get back into academia,” Lanese says. “I saw an opening in public health at Kent State and thought it was a perfect mix between my new healthcare background mixed with public policy and administration.”
Lanese’s course is offered in the Master of Public Health Program, of which she is the online coordinator.
“A lot of our students come from a nursing background or work in a public health agency and then want to advance their careers,” Lanese says. “We definitely have a vast majority of students who are already in careers and choose to do the program online.”
Ken Slenkovich, assistant dean of the College of Public Health at Kent State, also won the award in 2015 for the course, Sex: A Wicked Health Problem.
“In the College of Public Health, we work very closely with the Office of Continuing and Distance Education, and they help us through the process of creating an online course,” Lanese says.