APPLIED HEALTH SCIENCES AND BUSINESS
The University Professional and Continuing Education Association, which recognizes excellence in both individual and institutional achievements, has presented two awards to the U. of I.
This year’s recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award is Aric Rindfleisch, a professor of business administration. Rindfleisch was nominated by the U. of I. Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. The award is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students and service to online and continuing education.
While having no previous experience with instructing a massive open online course, Rindfleisch created the course “Marketing in a Digital World,” which examines the impact of digitization on the marketing environment and introduces learners to new developments and ideas that can readily be put into practice.
Since January, more than 90,000 learners from nearly 200 countries have enrolled, making the course among the top 1 percent of Coursera offerings and earning some of the highest ratings from influential business and education websites. The Digital Marketing Specialization certificate, which includes Rindfleish’s course, was ranked among the “Top 10 Most Coveted Certificates of 2015.”
“Marketing in a Digital World” serves as the kick-off course for the digital marketing specialization that serves as one of the specializations toward the College of Business’ new iMBA program.
The Information Accessibility Design and Policy professional certificate program in the U. of I. College of Applied Health Sciences received the Leadership in Diversity Award from the association. The program is the first and only university-based, for-credit program in the nation teaching the principles of universal design and accessibility architecture to ensure that people with disabilities can access critical digital resources.
Under the direction of Reginald Alston, an associate dean of academic affairs in the college, the online certificate was designed by leading experts in functional and digital information accessibility: Marc Thompson, an instructional designer at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning; Tim Offenstein, the lead information design specialist for Technology Services; Keith Hays, a senior information design specialist for Technology Services; Hadi Rangin, an academic hourly employee for the Office of Academic Programs and Services; and Jon Gunderson, a coordinator of assistive communication and information technology accessibility for the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services.
“As technology continues to advance and more of the world moves to a digital format in educational, governmental, employment and commercial settings, it is critical that everyone can participate,” Alston said. “The IADP program was designed to educate and train a full spectrum of learners, including programmers, designers, IT specialists, Web developers, educators and compliance officers – anyone responsible for delivering accessible content in a digital format.”
The program has caught the attention of accessibility industry experts, top government agencies and corporations.
“Based on knowledge shared and impact of reach, IADP has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people around the globe with visual impairments as well as physical and cognitive conditions,” Alston said.
In collaboration with the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services, the College of Applied Health Sciences continues to pioneer efforts to foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. The Information Accessibility Design and Policy professional certificate program continues this legacy of inclusion by offering an online certificate program that sets the standard for findable, usable and accessible digital content.
Rebecca L. Sandefur, a professor of sociology with a courtesy appointment in law, spoke about her research on “Access to Justice” at the U.S. Department of Justice and before U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Feb. 29. Her research focused on public experience with civil justice problems and civil legal aid. Sandefur's appearance coincided with the release of the DOJ's Civil Legal Aid Research Workshop Report, to which she was a contributing expert. Sandefur is a faculty fellow of the American Bar Foundation.