College of Arts & Sciences

UNCW’s Ashlee Balena Awarded 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award

MARCH 19, 2018

Ashlee Balena, senior lecturer in UNCW’s Department of World Languages and Cultures, is the recipient of the 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award. The award honors educators who use Blackboard Learn or Moodlerooms to enhance teaching and improve the student experience. To receive the award, a course must demonstrate excellence in design, interaction and collaboration, assessment and learner support. Balena earned the award for her online Spanish 201 course, “Intermediate Spanish I.”

Balena will receive the award at a celebration on March 28. She will also be recognized at Blackboard World 2018, the company’s annual users’ conference.

“Students have taken my online courses while stationed in places like Japan and California or at home for summer break in Maine and Minnesota,” said Balena. “However, I really understood the need for offering quality online courses when I began receiving override requests from single moms working 40-hour workweeks, students convalescing from major surgery or from members of military families living an hour away from campus. It feels good to fill a need while doing something I love to do!”

Balena began teaching Spanish online in the summer of 2012 with Spanish 101. Since then she has taught Introductory Spanish 102 and 120 online and Synchronous Intermediate Spanish 201, which won the 2015 UNCW Excellence in e-Learning Award.