The State Regents’ Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) recognized a faculty member, administrators and a university team for their outstanding work during yesterday’s State Regents meeting.

Cristina Colquhoun, instructional designer and online learning librarian at Oklahoma State University, was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Accessibility. Dr. Abbie Lambert-Vogt, assistant professor of management at the University of Central Oklahoma, was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Teaching. Melanie Rinehart, distance learning director at Seminole State College, was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Individual Leadership. Oklahoma Teacher Connection, a division of the State Regents, was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Team Leadership. The IDEA Team of the Center for eLearning and Connected Environments at UCO was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Innovation.

“Online education is an increasingly integral component of Oklahoma higher education,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “Our goal as a system is to continue providing an innovative, academically rigorous online learning experience that expands college access and increases flexibility for students working to complete their degrees.”

As the inaugural recipient of the accessibility award, Colquhoun was praised for her attention to ensuring substantially equivalent ease of use and quality of learning experience for a person with a disability as for one without.

Lambert-Vogt was noted for application of multiple neuroeducation principles in the design of her online courses, including fostering opportunities for experiential learning within and lifelong learning beyond her classroom. As a leader in online education, she coordinated development of the online Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management and two graduate-level courses for the online Master of Business Administration program.

Rinehart was noted for her contributions to the distance education programs at SSC, which initially included collaborating with multiple divisions across campus to ensure online learners have an experience equal to that of traditional learners.

Oklahoma Teacher Connection colleagues Dr. Goldie Thompson, Dr. Melissa Brevetti, and Ms. Sylvia Bryant were recognized for their extraordinary efforts to provide leadership to higher education institutions, agency partners, and community groups in adapting to emerging trends in enhancing educational practices, including online education in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the OTC’s innovative efforts to support administrators and faculty in teacher education programs have been adopted by institutions across the state.

The IDEA Team at UCO practices an iterative design method that allows for continuous refinement to maximize effectiveness, which has been used on a variety of projects ranging from website development to classroom simulations. Under the leadership of Mr. Robert Wall, the team has collaborated with groups including Lumina Foundation and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and publishes all projects with open-source code to make these solutions scalable and deployable for any size institution or program.

The State Regents’ Online Education Task Force formed the COLE in 2016. COLE is comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators representing each tier of Oklahoma’s public and private colleges and universities, as well as other entities connected to online learning technologies.

As part of the effort to improve online learning in Oklahoma, COLE members recognize the excellent work of faculty, staff, and administrators at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities. The Oklahoma Online Excellence Awards were established in 2017 to formally recognize individuals and teams for excellent work in online or hybrid learning. Nominations are submitted by peers and judged by a committee of COLE members. For more information about the awards and current and previous awardees, visit