eVersity Course Design Team Wins Third-Straight International Award

A University of Arkansas System eVersity instructional designer and faculty member duo was recently honored with an international Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP) Award for the third time in as many years.

It is the third consecutive Blackboard course-design award — and fourth national award overall — received by eVersity since its launch as the state’s only 100 percent-online institution in January 2016.

“It’s hard to put context around how rare it is to receive this award back-to-back-to-back,” said Michael Moore, Ph.D., chief academic/operating officer at eVersity. “This is a very strong reflection of the dedication and detail put into our overall mission of providing innovative, engaging online coursework to our students. Keep in mind we are one of the few institutions nationally to be a 100 percent Open Educational Resources (OER) institution, so students are getting these international award-winning courses without paying for books – all of the content is strategically and meticulously built into these courses. I’m very proud of our team and the product we’re able to offer students who choose to finish their college education with us.”

The Blackboard ECP recognizes faculty and course designers from schools, colleges and universities around the world who develop engaging and innovative courses that represent the best in technology and learning.

Ramesh Muthukumarana, senior instructional designer at eVersity, and Caitlin Howe, an eVersity faculty member, teamed up to win the award for their “Healthcare in Diverse Populations” course. It is the third-straight ECP award for Muthukumarana, and the second-straight he’s teamed up with Howe to earn. The course promotes development of an appreciation for cultural traditions and practices of diverse populations, including the roles that cultural traditions have on health outcomes and health status. Healthcare Management is one of five degree programs eVersity offers students.

“We spent months designing and developing this course to bring it to the level where it is now,” Muthukumarana said. “A lot of different things go into making our high-quality courses not only accessible to students in many formats, but also that they are presented in such a way that promotes collaboration and interaction, have good learning outcomes, and offers the support students need to get through them.”

The Blackboard ECP evaluates courses for excellence in four areas:

    Course Design: the elements of instructional design, such as its structure, learning objectives, and instructional strategies.

    Interaction and Collaboration: the level of engagement offered by the course and the level of student interaction and collaboration

    Assessment: the evaluation of student work toward the achievement of learning outcomes and the quality and type of student assessments

    Learner Support: the resources made available to students, which may be accessible within or external to the course environment.


For nearly two-decades, the ECP has honored instructors and course designers whose courses demonstrate best practices. Since its founding, thousands of instructors, teachers, and designers have used the ECP to evaluate and improve their courses with recognized best practices. To be considered for the honor, applicants must be a user of the Blackboard Learn learning management system. Submitted courses are evaluated by other course developers, instructional designers, teachers, and professors using the ECP Rubric.

“I am pleased to welcome the eVersity team back to the ECP family,” said Lee Blakemore, chief client officer and president of Global Markets at Blackboard. “Now more than ever, educators are challenged with creating engaging and effective courses. This 2020 cohort is among the best of the best for engaging and maximizing learning outcomes for students.”

To learn more about the Exemplary Course Program, visit https://www.blackboard.com/resources/are-your-courses-exemplary.