University of Derby technologist wins national Community Engagement award

18 June 2020

A technologist at the University of Derby has been named winner of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Engagement.

Senior Learning Technologist Claire Gardener’s success acknowledges her dedication to improving student achievement by fostering a connection between institutions, educators and their communities, primarily through the European Blackboard Ally User group which Claire leads alongside Kristen McCartney-Bulmer from Northumbria University.

Since its establishment in April 2018, both Claire and Kristen have been integral to the formation and development of an engaged and supportive community of practice based on Blackboard Ally, a tool that is integrated into a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and focuses on making digital course content more accessible.

With nearly 300 members, the group is continuously sharing best practice and resources to become more inclusive.

Founded in 2005, the annual Blackboard Catalyst Awards recognise and honour innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community.  

Claire said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have received this award for Community Engagement which recognises my contribution in forming and developing an engaged and supportive community of practice based on Blackboard Ally and digital accessibility.”

Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer and President of Global Markets at Blackboard, added: "We’re pleased to honour this year's Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to improving the educational experience for all learners through EdTech and sharing these insights with the broader community.”

Claire will be recognised during Blackboard’s annual users conference, BbWorld 2020, taking place virtually between July 21 and 22.

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