Athens, Ga. – Two programs in the University of Georgia College of Education have received a national award from the American Camp Association. The programs are interdepartmental collaborations, which resulted in the development of several online training programs for youth development professionals.
The recreation and leisure studies program in the department of counseling and human development services and the learning, design and technology program in the department of educational psychology and instructional technology are joint recipients of the ACA’s Special Recognition Award.
The project produced five of the seven online courses currently available on the ACA’s e-Institute.
UGA master’s students in instructional design and development, with support from the ACA’s National Staff Education Team, transformed education materials from a paper format into the online, interactive courses. The courses were field tested by UGA undergraduate students in recreation and leisure studies. That feedback was then synthesized to create a final product for the ACA.
“Our students seek service-learning clients who have instructional content, but need technology and design expertise to bring that content to life,” said Lloyd Rieber, a professor in instructional technology. “They get a far richer experience knowing that the projects they are working on focus on real problems or opportunities.”
Gwynn Powell, an associate professor in recreation and leisure studies who served as liaison with the ACA, agreed.
“The combination of professional camp background and technical design skills has resulted in a collaboration that benefits everyone. Students and faculty appreciate that their work is going to be used by real people in the real world,” she said. “The recognition that this award brings to both programs and their students reinforces that their work is valued by the profession, and showcases the mission of the university through the dissemination of information.”
The collaboration resulted in e-Institute courses titled Camp is for the Camper On-line, Designing Quality Youth Programs, Camp Business and Finance, Crisis Management and Creating Positive Youth Outcomes.
“In a world where travel budgets are tight and schedules are busy, the availability of these online training courses makes such a big difference for youth development professionals,” said Powell.
Additional College of Education faculty members involved in the project included Ikseon Choi, Greg Clinton, Michael Orey, and Tom Reeves, all from the LDT program. Student project group members included Myra Blackmon, Radcliffe Campbell, Roman Gaddis, Tina Harkness, Eddie Hutchinson, Lucas Jensen, Hsing-Mei Kung, Suhwa Lee, Jennifer Lortz, Taylor Mason, Erin Noh, Melinda Pethel, Trudian Trail, Kim Rodriguez and Paul Schlag.
The UGA programs will be jointly recognized with the award at the national ACA conference Feb. 19 in Orlando, Fla.