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Online Teaching Award Winners

The Centre for Extended Learning and Mario Coniglio, Associate Vice President, Academic, are pleased to announce the recipients of the University of Waterloo’s inaugural Online Teaching and Design Awards.

Award for Excellence in Online Course Design

This award recognizes exemplary undergraduate or graduate-level courses that meet or exceed the Quality Guidelines for University of Waterloo Online Courses (PDF). The authors of these courses have worked collaboratively with the Centre for Extended Learning in the design and development. Course authors are identified in the Course Syllabus.

2017 Winner - Professor Edwin NgPhoto - Edwin Ng

“Whenever I think about it – reading the student comments, winning this award, I’m just really humbled by everything. I’m very grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to even facilitate students’ learning. It’s a privilege and I’m really thankful.” Edwin Ng

Edwin Ng (Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Renison University College) was nominated for the Online Teaching Award based on his teaching of SWK 605R: Knowledge Mobilization and Evidence-Based Practice, SWK 601R: Health Policy, and SWK 609R: Social Work Practice in Mental Health, part of the online Master of Social Work program at Waterloo, which is unique in Canada.

When discussing what Ng finds the most rewarding about teaching online, he said, “I appreciate the students so much. I really do believe that if I know them better, as people, as professionals, and as students, I’m in a much better position to help them meet their learning needs.” Ng is always trying to empathize with his students and create a learning environment in which they can thrive and succeed. Students consistently praised his responsiveness and feedback.

Ng’s online teaching philosophy is simple but effective: be present online to show students that you care, set high and clear expectations to motivate students to succeed, and be authentic. This approach resonates with his students, who commented overwhelmingly that Ng shows a genuine interest in them and continuously puts in effort to make connections with his students and offer them support. One student commented that Edwin’s engagement was such that“We didn't even feel that we are not physically in a class.”

Award for Excellence in Online Teaching

This award recognizes course instructors who exemplify a high standard of teaching in one or more of Waterloo's fully-online undergraduate- or graduate-level course(s). Course instructors may be teaching an online course that they authored or one that was authored by another faculty member. They may be teaching the course in any term. Course instructors are identified in the Course Syllabus.

Photo - Doug Cowan2017 Winner - Professor Doug Cowan

“It’s nice to know that you’ve done something that works for people. The reason that I teach is so that students can take something valuable away from their experience in the classroom. Finding out about the award, means that, at least in this little corner of my universe, I was successful in doing that.”

The Online Course Design award goes to Doug Cowan, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies for his authorship of RS 270R: Religion and Popular Culture, developed with CEL support.

Cowan’s design of RS 270R included a thoughtful emphasis on providing opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, interaction among students, instructor presence, and effective feedback. Overall, Cowan’s main goal is to “give students critical and analytical tools, so that they can go out and live their lives.” In other words, Cowan wants to give students a tool kit that will help them think critically, no matter what context they’re in.

Students who nominated RS 270R for the Online Course Design award found the online lectures visually appealing and enjoyed the interaction that the online discussions offered. The course also benefited from Cowan’s passionate delivery of course content, as well as his active engagement in his students’ learning.


If you have any questions about the awards please email Dina Meunier.

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