This past spring, the Office of Distance Education (DE) conducted an open call for online course portfolio reviews, marking the first invitation for faculty not previously supported by the DE office to submit their active online courses for review. Those who apply and are accepted into the review process benefit from constructive and collegial feedback from experienced online peers.

stephanie dodman

Online Course Excellence Award winner,
Dr. Stephanie Dodman.
Photo courtesy of CEHD.

This year’s open call award winner and recipient of an Online Course Excellence Award is Dr. Stephanie Dodman, Assistant Professor for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), whose work in her online section of EDUC 614: Designing and Assessing Teaching and Learning stood out to reviewers as exceptional.

“Many things about EDUC 614 ‘wowed’ the reviewers,” shares Dr. Darlene Smucny, Assistant Director for Quality in Online Instruction. “The course was clearly organized and visually engaging with logical and consistent navigation, and Dr. Dodman used a variety of teaching and learning strategies, including student collaboration. She set a positive tone and her presence was highly evident throughout the course.”

EDUC 614 Screenshot

Through engaging videos and regular announcements, Dr. Dodman maintains a strong social presence in her online course. Image courtesy of Dr. Stephanie Dodman.

In addition to formative feedback and an accessibility check by Mason’s Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI), Dr. Dodman will also receive DE sponsorship for virtual registration to an Online Learning Consortium (OLC) national conference and an OLC online workshop, a certificate of recognition, and a stipend of $500. For Dr. Dodman, the incorporation of an accessibility check stood out as particularly beneficial.

She explains, “I didn’t realize that ATI would help or do the captioning, and thinking about accessibility related to videos would not have been on my radar if I had not gone through the review process. Everybody is a kinesthetic, visual, auditory, and verbal learner, depending on what type of content they’re trying to learn, so providing that content in multiple ways and modalities is important.

Dr. Smucny notes, “Through the open call process, we hope to build a greater sense of community for all faculty teaching online at Mason. Those who may have developed online courses on their own discover a community of online instructors, services, and resources, and Mason has so many wonderful resources for online teaching and learning!”

EDUC 614 Screenshots

The clear organization, visually engaging layout, and consistent navigation of Dr. Stephanie Dodman’s online section of EDUC 614 were exemplary features that stood out to the open call portfolio reviewers. Images courtesy of Dr. Stephanie Dodman.

Interested in receiving formative feedback on your online course? Contact Dr. Darlene Smucny, Assistant Director for Quality in Online Instruction, at or 703-993-1907.