Blackboard To Give Away $25,000 Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds

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Learning management provider Blackboard is expanding its "Greenhouse" initiative into the area of immersive virtual learning. Through a new program, called the Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds, a single recipient will receive a $25,000 for the integration of virtual worlds into teaching and learning.

Blackboard's Greenhouse initiative recognizes a variety of efforts on the part of K-12 and higher education institutions, covering such areas as Exemplary Courses, Exemplary Campus Services, and best practices in electronic learning. The new Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds joins the regular, ol' Greenhouse Grant and the Exemplary Campus Services Awards in giving cash to educators who innovate using Blackboard software.

The new Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds will award one $25,000 prize for initiatives that integrate virtual worlds, such as There and Second Life, into education. Blackboard's stated criteria for the winning entry include:

  • The program must enhance the learning experience;
  • It must "leverage existing teaching and learning strategies and best practices;"
  • It has to "integrate virtual worlds and Blackboard Enterprise Software through Blackboard Building Blocks and Blackboard PowerLinks;" and
  • The results should be accessible to the Blackboard community.

The deadline for submissions for this latest grant opportunity is Sept. 24, 2007. See the link below for further details.

In related news, Blackboard earlier this month handed out 10 awards in the Greenhouse Exemplary Course Program, five "Best Practices" recognitions, and two Greenhouse Grant awards (not to be confused with Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds).

The 10 awards in the Greenhouse Exemplary Course Program include:

  • Capella University
    Public Speaking
    Submitted by Nick White and Adonica Aune
  • Governors State University
    Introduction to Online Teaching
    Submitted by Jan Engle
  • Iowa Department of Education
    General Biology
    Submitted by Gail Wortman
  • Kamehameha Schools
    Hawaiian Pacific Literature
    Submitted by Kelly Dukelow and Christy Sato
  • Regent University
    Web Design and Publishing
    Submitted by Tracy Stewart
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Nuclear Phenomena for Engineering Applications
    Submitted by Don Steiner
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake
    The Sacred Feminine in Latin America
    Submitted by Teresa Van Hoy and Azalea Boehm
  • University of Pittsburgh
    Allied Health Education
    Submitted by Joanne Nicoll and Carol Washburn
  • Utah State University
    Intro to Deafness/Blindness
    Submitted by Nanette Sorensen and Linda Alsop
  • Virtual School
    Cultural Identity Through Literature
    Submitted by Lisa Pupo

The "best practices" recognitions went to:

  • Capella University
    Communication Strategies for IT Professionals
    Submitted by Liz Anderson and Eileen Dittmar
    Best practice for exemplary development and use of a rubric that aligns
    with course objectives
  • Iowa State University
    Computer Literacy and Applications
    Submitted by Susan Chang
    Best practice for exemplary migration of research online while preserving
    student satisfaction and success
  • Florida State University
    Introduction to Sociology
    Submitted by Isaac Eberstein
    Best practice for exemplary student engagement through clickers (PRS) and
    other technologies in a large course
  • Madison Area Technical College
    News Writing and Reporting
    Submitted by Larry Hansen
    Best practice for exemplary use of wiki tools in an online magazine
  • Southbank Institute of Technology
    Communication in the Workplace
    Submitted by Tanya Wolfe and Robyn Horsman
    Best practice for exemplary use of Page Tracker in a course

And, finally, the Greenhouse Grant recipients were:

  • Seneca College (Toronto) and Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan)
    Advanced System Tracking & Reporting Building Block
    Submitted by Santo Nucifora, Seneca College and Eric Kunnen,
    Grand Rapids Community College
  • Deakin University (Australia)
    Open-Source Social Software Tools Integration
    Submitted by Ian Smissen

Winners of the Greenhouse Grants took home $25,000. These awards and recognitions were given out earlier this month at the BbWorld '07 user conference.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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