November 18, 2013

Jon Dorbolo, Philosophy Instructor and Associate Director of Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC), was named a winner of a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Program, which honors members of the community who design and develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

"InterQuest: Introduction to Philosophy" was one of the first university courses in the world to be fully taught on the web. In the 20 years since its initial development, Dr. Dorbolo has continually enriched the course and provoked learners into active reflection into the sources and implications of their personal belief systems.

Technology Enables Personalized Pedagogy

"This course is the result of many years of experimentation with how to connect the philosophic tradition with the personal belief systems of individual learners," says Dr. Dorbolo, "and the technology enables the personalized pedagogy that I seek."

"Each of us has such a belief system," he continues. "A reflective philosopher is someone who examines the contents of their own belief system and revises their beliefs as their investigation calls for. It is this mode of reflective philosophy that InterQuest is designed to offer."

Active reflection is enhanced by frequent and effective communication between learners and the instructor, a feature highlighted by Blackboard Catalyst Award reviewers. "This course design has clearly invested in communication choices that provide an inviting environment for student engagement," one reviewer wrote. "There are many opportunities for student-instructor interaction [and] student-student interaction is done mainly through the ten dialogue assignments."

Communication opportunities are augmented by a variety of pedagogical strategies, including frequent writing assignments and self-assessment quizzes. "The entire package is incredible," another reviewer wrote. "This is a product of years of work to organize sources and cultivating interactive opportunities for students."

About the Blackboard Catalyst Award

"InterQuest: Introduction to Philosophy" was honored alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld®, Blackboard's annual user conference was held in July 2013 in Las Vegas. Part of the annual Blackboard Catalyst Awards program since 2000, the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award highlights technologically rich, engaging, well designed, and pedagogically sound courses that showcase best practices for the user community. Over 160 entries were evaluated in a rigorous peer-review process by more than 300 faculty and instructional designers. Submissions were judged on the following components: course design, interaction, collaboration, assessment and learner support.

The Blackboard Catalyst Awards program annually recognizes and honors innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where teachers and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology.

Blackboard Learn has been Oregon State University's platform for online learning since the late 1990s.

Jon Dorbolo

Jon Dorbolo, Philosophy Instructor and Associate Director of TAC
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InterQuest: Introduction to Philosophy