The State Regents’ Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) recognized faculty members, an administrator, three college and university teams, and one college consortium for their outstanding work during Friday’s State Regents meeting.

The Rose State College Writing Committee was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Open Education Impact. The recipient of the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Accessibility is the University of Central Oklahoma Digital Accessibility Coalition (DAC) led by Darren Denham. Dr. Susmita Hazra, assistant professor at Cameron University, was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Teaching. Dr. Melissa Brevetti, coordinator for teacher education programs for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Individual Leadership. The CACE (Carl Albert State College, Connors State College, and Eastern Oklahoma State College) Educational Partnership was honored with the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Team Leadership. Oklahoma State University’s College of Arts and Sciences (OSU CAS) Outreach Team received the Oklahoma Online Excellence Award for Innovation.

“Online learning is an increasingly integral part of Oklahoma higher education,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “With nearly 550 fully online degree programs available, our colleges and universities provide vital online education options that expand college access and enhance flexibility for students working to complete their degrees, including adult learners.”

The Rose State College Writing Committee, led by the writing program coordinator and staffed by volunteer English professors, improved course content and streamlined the assessment process, impacting over 4,750 students and enhancing the online teaching capabilities of more than 30 professors. These efforts created blueprint courses and free, openly licensed textbooks, which strengthened both accessibility and affordability for students. The committee also addressed the challenge of online final exams by developing a new format that maintains academic integrity without additional cost.

UCO’s Center for eLearning and Connected Environments (CeCE) has supported eight graduate and nine undergraduate online programs, with over 1,400 courses and nearly 1,000 certified faculty members, accounting for almost one-third of UCO’s total enrollment. To address the need for inclusive digital access, UCO established DAC in 2019, an innovative and collaborative initiative to enhance digital accessibility across UCO through a micro-credential system that deepens understanding and application of accessibility principles, benefiting students, faculty, and the broader institutional framework.

Hazra, an online STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educator at CU, has over eight years of experience creating engaging online courses. She integrates active learning through multimedia tools, varied assessments, and community-building activities like think-pair-share and peer evaluations. Her commitment to accessibility is evident in her ongoing efforts to improve mobile responsiveness and inclusivity for learners with disabilities. Hazra’s approach to modern learning includes using technology to facilitate micro-learning and innovative assignments, such as using stargazing applications in astronomy. A Quality Matters certified peer reviewer, Hazra has shared her strategies in various educational settings across the country.

Brevetti has been a pioneer in integrating technology within education; she introduced SMART Boards to students early in her career and significantly increased online learning engagement. As a professor, she contributed to increased graduation rates in her program through well-designed online and hybrid courses that emphasize the use of educational technology tools. Serving as an American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) online reviewer and authoring influential papers, she has led substantial growth in State Regents’ grants and professional development programs across Oklahoma universities.

Through the CACE consortium, CASC, CSC and EOSC have successfully expanded educational access for rural students in southeastern Oklahoma. This collaboration has enabled the sharing of resources, including courses and faculty, significantly enhancing academic opportunities and addressing workforce needs. To date, the consortium has shared about 40 courses, directly impacting 637 students and saving approximately $80,000 annually. By implementing innovative solutions such as hybrid courses and utilizing diverse communication platforms like social media and virtual meetings, CACE has effectively overcome geographic and logistical challenges.

The OSU CAS Outreach team, in partnership with the National Groundwater Association (NGWA), has developed “Awesome Aquifer 360” (AA360) for K-12 students and “NGWA University” (NGWAU) for adults, two unique initiatives to address the impending job shortage in the groundwater industry. The AA360 program integrates physical science kits and an online portal with virtual tools to ignite interest in geoscience careers among K-12 students, reaching over 13,000 students across 42 states. The NGWAU, hosted on OSU’s online learning platform, offers professional training through courses designed to meet industry standards and includes interactive elements and assessments that have enhanced learning for over 400 individuals to date. This educational content is being expanded to include Spanish translations, underscoring the program’s comprehensive approach to fostering industry-ready professionals.

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 ongoing effort to improve online learning, 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 exceptional 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