Paragon Winner to Present ‘Toolbox Talks’ Session

OXFORD, Miss. – Kristy Durkin, a University of Mississippi instructor in social work and the 2022 recipient of the annual Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching, will share her innovative teaching ideas and resources at the annual “Toolbox Talks” virtual event at 10 a.m. Wednesday (March 22).

The Paragon Award, presented by Ole Miss Online in the UM Office of Academic Outreach, honors the university’s top online teacher. This year, 91 nominations were submitted, and Durkin was selected from 21 nominees who accepted their nominations.

“Despite all the technology and design elements I have incorporated, it is the building of mentoring relationships that makes my courses successful,” Durkin said. “I have enjoyed hearing the stories of my students as I travel on an academic journey with them for a semester.

“In a world of Twitter and text messaging, good old-fashioned feedback has been the best way to motivate and cultivate learning in an online environment. Carving out my own niche in the online teaching community has become the pinnacle of my academic teaching career.”

This year’s “Toolbox Talks” will have presentations ranging from assessment alternatives to AI in the classroom to a Blackboard tool that helps improve the accessibility of course files and materials. Durkin’s presentation will focus on how to create attractive courses that students want to take.

To register for the “Toolbox Talks” event and hear more about online instruction at Ole Miss, click here.