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Dowden recognized for excellence in online education

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Dr. Luke Dowden, director of Distance Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, will receive the 2014 Bruce N. Chaloux Award for Early Career Excellence in Online Education.

The Online Learning Consortium is presenting the award to him. According to the Consortium, Dowden has been recognized for his contributions and leadership toward increasing learners’ access to quality online education.

In spring 2010, Dowden was hired to establish the Office of Distance Learning at UL Lafayette.

“When Dr. Dowden arrived, the University had only one online program, limited faculty professional development for online teaching, and lacked a mechanism to track online and hybrid courses,” said Ellen Cook, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs.

The number of online and hybrid courses at the University has grown by 229 percent, from 77 in spring 2011 to 253 in fall 2014, with 7,431 students enrolled.

“He has been instrumental in growing our online and hybrid programs in the last four and a half years, as well as increasing our range of online and hybrid course offerings across the University,” Cook said.

In 2013, the Consortium presented the University with the Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching Award.

That award, according to the Consortium, recognized the University’s positive impact on faculty members’ online course development, in terms of delivering quality courses and maintaining faculty satisfaction.

Dowden will receive the 2014 award at the Online Learning Consortium International Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Oct. 30.