University of Central Florida faculty were recognized for excellence in online education, receiving two national awards from the United States Distance Learning Association.

Thomas Cavanagh, associate vice president of UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning, received the Outstanding Leadership Award. The award recognizes leaders who “excel within their organization, consistently reaching out through mentoring, sharing and collaboration.”

Cavanagh leads a team that develops UCF’s distance learning strategy, policies, and practices, including program and course design, production, and assessment. He has led e-learning teams in both academic and private industry and is an award-winning instructional designer, program manager and faculty member.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized with the USDLA Outstanding Leadership Award,” Cavanagh said. “It’s an honor I gladly share with the entire staff at the Center for Distributed Learning. The team here at UCF truly is outstanding.”

Also the team of Charles Dziuban, Patsy Moskal, Jeffrey Cassisi and graduate student Alexis Fawcett received the Quality Research Paper Award from USDLA, given to authors who produce a research paper that has the potential of making significant advances in the area of distance learning.

Dziuban is director of the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness at UCF and has been on the faculty since 1970. Moskal is the associate director for RITE and has been at UCF since 1989. They have been leading the impact evaluation of UCF’s distributed learning program for the past 20 years.

Cassisi is a professor in UCF’s Psychology Department and has been a faculty member since 2008. He is one of the early innovators in adaptive learning pedagogical methods. Fawcett has been developing innovative data analysis techniques during the past two years.

Their paper focused on a study related to UCF’s adaptive-learning initiative, revealing significant new insights into this growing area of technology-based education.

“The research team at UCF is deeply honored by this recognition and validation that comes with it. Most certainly the future of impactful research will involve the collaboration of many disciplines- all of which add value to the new science of learning.”

The recipients received the awards Monday in Indianapolis during the USDLA 2017 annual national conference. USDLA was founded in 1987 to support research, training, development and best practices among e-learning communities.

These international awards are presented annually to organizations and individuals engaged in the development and delivery of distance learning programs.

“USDLA enjoys honoring leaders within the industry,” said John G. Flores, executive director of USDLA. “Each year these recognized leaders raise the bar and exceed best practice expectations for the industry as a whole and we are truly honored by their contributions within all distance learning constituencies.”