Jill Bradley-Levine, assistant professor of educational studies at Ball State, sees them as more than students. She calls them “a community of learners.”

Her contributions to this community over the past year were rewarded with the 2018 Rawlings Outstanding Distance Education Teaching Award. Established in 2002, the award honors a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in online teaching at Ball State University.

During the summer of 2017, Bradley-Levine worked with instructional consultant Cindy Cash from Ball State’s Division of Online and Strategic Learning to redesign the Department of Educational Studies’ Introduction to Mixed Methods Research course. Bradley-Levine taught it online for the first time in fall 2017. She also participated in the Summer 2018 Faculty Academy Track III, Course Design for Student Success, redesigning two courses for online delivery.

Cash said she was impressed with Bradley-Levine’s “professionalism, integrity, and dedication to delivering a quality course.”

During the summer of 2018, Bradley-Levine taught a course that emphasized ways that teachers can strengthen curriculum through instructional coaching, mentoring, and as professional developers.

“It was a fantastic online course because it brought together teachers from across Indiana and the country who were at different stages of their careers,” Bradley-Levine says, noting that her community of learners included former administrators, experienced and novice instructional coaches, department chairs, higher education instructors, and teacher mentors.

Bradley-Levine says the class shared experiences and advice while exploring the literature about teacher leadership roles and responsibilities.

The Rawlings winner appreciates the fact that teaching online is more adaptable than on-site.

“I understand that those who take my courses need and appreciate flexibility. It is also powerful that students from all over the state, country and world can share in an online learning experience,” she says. “Last spring, my students were able to participate in a virtual exchange with students in Iraq. This would not have been possible without online learning.”