University of Vermont

Professor Rambur Wins National Online Teaching Award

Continuing and Distance Education focuses on quality, specialty online programming for UVM

Betty Rambur
Betty Rambur, professor of health policy and nursing. (Photo: Sally McCay)

Professor Betty Rambur is a recipient of the 2013 Sloan Consortium Excellence in Online Teaching award. The Sloan Consortium, based in Newburyport, Mass., is a leading professional learning society devoted to advancing quality online education.

Rambur, professor of health policy and nursing at the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is being recognized as an outstanding individual who is creative in her approach, uses well-designed course materials and instructional strategies, and has a demonstrated rapport with students.

Dean of Continuing and Distance Education (CDE) Cynthia Belliveau nominated Rambur for the prestigious award. CDE provides quality oversight for online education, as well as faculty support and program support in conjunction with the UVM Center for Teaching and Learning. CDE helps design, implement and measure online program quality using the Sloan Consortium’s Five Pillars, which include learning effectiveness, scale (cost effectiveness and commitment), access, faculty satisfaction and student satisfaction.

“Dr. Rambur empowers her students by creating a sense of community and encouraging students to take risks to further their education,” Belliveau said. “Most of her students are working professionals who have been out of school for 10-20 years and are taking an online course for the first time. By providing resources, support and encouragement, Dr. Rambur helps her students embrace the challenge and thrive in an online environment.”

Over the past three years, Rambur has designed, developed and taught five online graduate and undergraduate courses. Committed to connecting with her students, Rambur’s online course evaluations are consistently excellent. As a testament to her success, her student retention rate is nearly 100 percent.

“I’m thrilled and honored to receive this award,” Rambur said. “Building a relationship with distance learning students is a rewarding challenge. I work incredibly hard to mentor them and to inspire a passion for learning. For me, the most important part of an online program is to create a learning environment that is based on trust and communication.”

UVM offers a variety of online education programs, ranging from public health to speech language pathology, as well as hybrid courses that are both online and in the classroom.

Instructional designers from CDE and the UVM Center for Teaching and Learning have trained and worked with more than 125 instructors to create or convert almost 200 courses online.

UVM has offered online opportunities for two decades, but with current rapid global and large-scale expansion of online educational programs, the university is positioning itself strongly to engage new and diverse student markets.

“Key to UVM’s mission is our commitment to expand our reach globally and to provide lifelong learning opportunities for campus and distant students, and alumni,” Belliveau said. “We’re very focused on providing quality, innovative, niche-focused programming to engage people in Vermont and beyond. Online education is the future of higher education, and it’s happening right here, right now. Thanks to professors like Dr. Rambur, we have an excellent model for success.”

The 2013 Sloan Consortium awards will be formally announced at the organization’s 19th annual International Conference on Online Learning Nov. 20-22 in Orlando, Fla. The full list of 2013 winners are included in the Sloan Consortium's press release.

For more information about Distance Education at UVM, visit learn.uvm.edu/online.