Public Release: 

NJIT professor receives award for outstanding on line teaching

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Roxanne Hiltz, PhD, a distinguished professor of information systems at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), today received the Sloan Consortium 2004 Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Teaching and Learning by an Individual.

Hiltz, a national leader in on line learning, received the award during the Sloan-C's annual conference on asynchronous learning networks (ALN) held in Orlando, Fla. Asynchronous learning allows students to access online course material while communicating with the instructor, or fellow students, through threaded discussion boards, text chat or e-mail.

The award "recognizes an outstanding individual who has creatively utilized the ALN approach to online learning," including the use of quality course materials and instructional strategies, demonstrated learner satisfaction, and effective learning outcomes. The Sloan Consortium is an association of more than 450 institutions and higher education groups engaged in online learning.

"We've gone from several hundred students enrolled in online education courses to two million," said Frank Mayadas, president of Sloan-C. "This is in no small part due to the efforts of the individuals who have advanced the field and the institutions that are leading the way."

Gale Tenen Spak, PhD, associate vice president of continuing and distance education at NJIT, who received the award on Hiltz's behalf, said, "Roxanne's hard work, dedication and commitment to online teaching and learning has helped her become one of the icons of distance learning. We at NJIT are honored to have her as a member of our faculty and feel that it's a direct result of her efforts that NJIT is consistently recognized as a leader in online learning."

Hiltz's many achievements include having written 265 ALN-related scholarly works; being the first to conceive of the possibility of online virtual classrooms, as well as trade marking the name; and spending 27 years perfecting ALN design, implementation and study. Her work to advance ALN implementation is continuing this semester in New Zealand where, at the invitation of sister universities, she is spending her NJIT sabbatical leave.

In addition to her teaching several popular eLearning courses at NJIT, Hiltz directs the WebCenter for Learning Networks' Effectiveness Research, (, ) housed at NJIT and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She also does research on aging and information technology. Her seventh book, Learning Together: Online Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks, co-edited with Professor Ricki Goldman of NJIT and published this past fall by Erlbaum, touches upon the rich history of eLearning research performed at NJIT.

In 1980s, NJIT researchers, including Hiltz, developed the first-ever computer-mediated communications network - the forerunner of today's learning content management systems. Shortly afterwards, NJIT trademarked and registered the phrase Virtual Classroom® and began to move eLearning from a novel niche area to a wider mission in higher education.

Hiltz, who has taught at NJIT since 1985, is a recognized authority on computer-mediated communication and learning networks, as well as the social impacts of pervasive information technology.

Hiltz is involved with the New Jersey Center for Pervasive Information Technology, a collaborative effort of Princeton University, NJIT and Rutgers University. The center, funded a grant the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, focuses on the design of pervasive information systems, which allow people to work with information anywhere, and at any time.

Hiltz received her bachelor's degree in sociology from Vassar College and both her master's degree and doctorate in sociology from Columbia University.


New Jersey Institute of Technology, the state's public technological research university, enrolls more than 8,200 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 100 degree programs offered by six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. NJIT is renowned for expertise in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and eLearning.

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