Syracuse University School of Information Studies professors Barbara Kwasnik and Anthony Rotolo have been named recipients of the 2009 Excellence in Online Education Award by the Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) Consortium. The award recognizes highly regarded instructors for their outstanding dedication to best practices in online education demonstrated through instructional style in one or more WISE courses in 2009.
Each year, WISE students are invited to nominate WISE host instructors who excel in the online classroom. Themes in the 2009 nominations include engagement and responsiveness, ability to create community in the online environment, and effective use of course technology to enhance learning. A unique aspect of the award is that the recipients are nominated by students who are not matriculated at the instructors' home institutions. Kwasnik and Rotolo were two of seven faculty recognized this year.
Kwasnik was nominated by a student in her course, Theory of Classification and Subject Representation, which she taught in fall 2009. The nomination stated: “Professor Kwasnik does not hesitate to ask questions and push her students to think beyond the basic assumptions of classifications. This is by far the class in which I have learned the most throughout my MLIS program. I can’t imagine a better individual for this award!"
Kwasnik also received the award in 2006 for her course, Indexing and Abstracting.
Rotolo received accolades for his Social Media course, which he taught in summer 2009. The nomination letter stated: “Mr. Rotolo was very engaged in discussions and furthering threads along, while demonstrating intelligent usage of social media tools. He was available online; utilized Twitter and Facebook; and maintained a challenging, well-planned, and manageable course. A very positive teacher and positive experience!”
Both nomination statements were complemented by positive evaluations and anecdotal feedback from students.
“I love this award and the opportunity for students from one institution to praise a faculty member from another program,” said Syracuse University Associate Provost Bruce Kingma, who co-founded WISE with Linda Smith, Associate Dean at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science in 2004. “This reinforces the positive effects of our members working together. The WISE consortium stimulates collaboration between our students, our faculty, our programs, and our universities.”
This 2009 WISE Excellence in Online Education Awards will be presented during the WISE Online Pedagogy Workshop at the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Conference in Boston.
This year’s free workshop, Keys to Successful Online Collaboration, will take place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers. The workshop will include a presentation of best practices contributed by award recipients, as well as rotating stations of mini-sessions and breakout discussion groups that address pedagogical issues related to the use of collaborative learning activities in online courses.
Kwasnik, who came to Syracuse in 1987, has been an internationally recognized leader in the field of classification research for many years. Drawing on the disciplines of anthropology, sociology of science, and cognitive psychology, as well as studies of human-computer interaction, she has explored many different aspects of this fundamental problem area in the field of information science. Her work has played a pivotal role in transforming classification research from a narrow specialty of practicing librarians to a thriving theoretical domain that influences information retrieval, knowledge management, bioinformatics, and machine learning. She was selected the 2009 Syracuse University Scholar-Teacher of the Year.
After graduating with a B.S. in Information Management and Technology from the iSchool, Rotolo ’02, G’06 launched New Concept Media, a web-based media company based in Rome, N.Y., that produced online video and ads for a range of clients. He later worked as a network administrator for Rome (N.Y.) City School District, where he developed an expertise in educational technology. He returned to the iSchool to become the instructional technology manager and began teaching a course he developed in Multimedia Technology in 2006, which later morphed into his Social Media course. In May 2009, he received the iSchool Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award. This fall, he was appointed the iSchool’s first social media strategist to expand the iSchool's leadership in social media as an area of study, and as a way to enhance traditional instruction.
WISE is a collaborative distance education model that increases the quality, access, and diversity of online education opportunities in Library and Information Science. The WISE consortium has 14 members and has offered 465 courses to 725 students since 2004. Each semester, the iSchool at Syracuse typically hosts 7 to10 WISE students, and 7 to 10 Syracuse iSchool students take WISE courses at other institutions through the consortium's online course exchange.