WOW Awards Go to SILS Alumna Jen Klaudinyi and UNC System

January 8, 2014

Jen KlaudiniUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) alumna Jen Klaudinyi (MSLS ’09), reference and instruction librarian and faculty technology specialist, was one of only three honored with a 2013 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award for a project she leads at Lane Community College. Another recipient was the UNC System for work done on a system-wide Online Proctoring Network. The WOW award is given annually through the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET).

Klaudinyi’s award-winning project is the Open Educational Resource (OER) Faculty Fellowship. OER was created shortly after the student government body approached one of Lane Community College’s Deans with concerns about textbook affordability.  

According to the program’s description, “The OER Faculty Fellowship meets the needs of students and faculty alike; and contributes directly to scholarly inquiry and rigorous exploration of open, higher education. The College has made a minor annual investment over the past few years that - as of today - saves students $326,400 per year in textbook costs.” (See the video here.)

“The goals were to (1) reduce textbook costs for students, (2) create an OER community on campus and try to get some advocates within the disciplines and departments who could share their experiences, and (3) be transparent, because this was student money,” Klaudinyi said in an interview with Lane Community College’s Campus Technology.

In the future, Klaudinyi hopes to see the program grow to include more faculty members, increasing the benefit for students and the College as a whole. 

UNC System Honored for Innovation in Online Exam Administration

The University of North Carolina system also won a WOW award for "Innovation in Online Exam Administration." The 17-campus UNC system received the 2013 WCET WOW Award for the development of a system-wide Online Proctoring Network that has standardized and streamlined the test proctoring process for students, faculty and proctors.

As American colleges and universities offer more academic degree programs online, ensuring academic integrity in online testing has become a high priority.  Since requiring students to come to campus to take online exams is typically not feasible, universities generally require that online exams be administered only by pre-approved “proctors,” who receive the exam from the instructor, verify the student’s identity, administer and submit the exam during a designated timeframe, and ensure that specified testing guidelines are followed.  The process can be time-consuming for faculty and confusing and frustrating for students and proctors.

The network promotes academic integrity by providing online students across the UNC system with a pool of qualified local and remote proctors and testing centers. The secure “one-stop” system allows students, faculty and proctors to schedule appointments, securely transfer exam documents or passwords and receive automated reminders when an action is required. The network is already in use at ten UNC campuses, and two additional campuses will come on board in spring 2014. To date, nearly 13,000 students have used the system to schedule more than 60,000 exam appointments.

Through UNC Online (, UNC campuses currently offer 328 online programs—214 degree or degree-completion programs, plus 114 certificate and licensure programs.  Students pursuing one of the 72 baccalaureate programs may enroll entirely online as juniors and seniors.  A number of UNC campuses have articulation agreements that enable students to complete their first two years online at a regional community college and then seamlessly transfer into a UNC online program as a junior.  Of the 137 programs offered at the master’s degree level, 56 percent are in education and health professions.

"As chair of the WOW Award Committee, I can attest to the highly competitive nature of this important WCET award," said Ben Zastrocky, director, Educational Technology Center, Metropolitan State University of Denver. "Clearly within the WCET community, there's a robust level of innovation and creativity that schools are applying towards the overarching goals of quality and student success. While the three 2013 WOW projects are so diverse -- open textbooks, a system-wide proctoring network, shareable learning resources -- they have one interesting common theme - utilizing technologies to increase efficiencies in the teaching and learning process so that faculty can focus on their job #1 - teaching, assessing student progress, engaging with students."

According to the award Web site, “Since 2004, the WOW award has been presented to colleges, universities and organizations for exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to a significant problem or need in higher education.”