Apereo Dolphin Awards

Apereo's Dolphin Awards

In 2022, the Open Apereo planning committee suggested honoring Apereo's founding Executive Director, Ian Dolphin, by naming the annual awards given to the community, "The Dolphin Awards and Fellowships." The Dolphin Awards were to include the existing Apereo Teaching and Learning Award (ATLAS) as well as two new awards for Enterprise Solutions and Leadership or "The I.A.N."

See information on the Apereo Dolphin Fellowships


Apereo Dolphin Award Categories

Enterprise Solutions

The Dolphin Award for Enterprise Solutions recognizes individuals, academic institutions, project teams, or others in the development, deployment, and/or administration of any Apereo software project in support of higher education.

Innovation, Advocacy, and Networking (The "I.A.N.")

The IAN Award recognizes creative and visionary community members who promote and propel open source initiatives to meet higher education's diverse and evolving needs. While not a specific requirement, particular consideration is given to those who have shown significant contributions over years of service.

Teaching and Learning

The Dolphin Award for Teaching and Learning recognizes innovation in the use of open source software for academic purposes, delivering excellent pedagogy through Apereo tools, sharing new/best practices in education, and encouraging greater faculty and/or student involvement in the improvement or advancement of Apereo's portfolio of open source resources.


Recognition through a Dolphin Award is based on the contributions to the Apereo community, projects, and initiatives.

The nomination form asks for detailed examples highlighting the candidate's experience, expertise, and initiative. The complete nomination form must be completed in order to be considered.

Anyone may nominate candidates (including themselves) for any or all of the Dolphin Awards.

Candidates for the Enterprise Solutions and Teaching and Learning awards must have experience working with at least one Apereo project (active or in incubation) or community of interest related to the activity(ies) supporting their nomination.

Recipients are not required to work at or be associated with an Apereo Foundation member organization (e.g., university, commercial affiliate, etc.).

Those who have received an Apereo Award or Fellowship within the past three years are not eligible to apply.

Apereo Board members and Apereo staff are also not eligible to apply.


The Apereo Board of Directors shall review and award the four Apereo Dolphin Fellowships annually. The Board decision is final.


Recipients of a Dolphin Award shall receive:

  • A certificate of recognition presented during the program ceremony at Open Apereo.
  • A special "swag bag" related to the award.
  • A cash award of US $599.00 (Non-US based recipients will be subject to Federal US tax withholding of 30% unless all requirements are met, according to our Vendor Policies page. Contact accounting[at]apereo[dot]org with any questions.)
  • Registration to the following year’s Open Apereo conference.
  • Up to US $1,500 toward Apereo-related conferences and event travel expenses, such as:
    • Travel and accommodation for the following year's Open Apereo Conference (airfare/baggage, taxi/bus/train/mileage, hotel, per diems for meals, visa fees).
    • Registration fees, travel, and accommodations to other, pre-approved, Apereo events (airfare/baggage, taxi/bus/train/mileage, hotel, per diems for meals, visa fees).


If an award recipient has not accepted their award within 6 months of written notification, the award expires. All funds must be used within eighteen months from the date of the award.

Additional Recognition

Dolphin Award winners will be asked to speak at Apereo conferences and will have their work featured on the Apereo website and through other channels of Apereo outreach and education. Award recipients who wish to publish or offer white papers on their activities are encouraged to do so. Such whitepapers will be prominently displayed.

The activities of the award recipients will be largely self-directed, although the Foundation staff will help coordinate activities and help with twice-yearly reports of their activities.


2022 Winners

Tobias Thelen, Universität Osnabrück

Tobias Thelen was awarded the Dolphin Award for Teaching and Learning.

This Dolphin Award recognizes innovation in teaching and learning using open source software, promoting excellent pedagogy, sharing new practices in education, and encouraging more faculty involvement in software evolution.

The Apereo Board was particularly impressed with Tobias’ continued efforts to improve educational technology in teaching and learning over the last ten years. Innovative flipped classrooms and his new "Open Source Software Development" course inspired students and colleagues to explore new modes of education and the software to deliver it. On a technical note, the Board congratulates Tobias on his success in integrating open source tools for building online courses directly into the University's learning management system, an approach now used by several other universities.


Jim Helwig, University of Wisconsin

Jim Helwig was awarded the inaugural Dolphin Award for Innovation, Advocacy, and Networking, "The IAN."

The IAN recognizes creative and visionary community members who promote and propel open source initiatives to meet higher education's diverse and evolving needs. 

The Apereo Board was particularly impressed with Jim’s record of leadership in the Apereo community across several projects and initiatives. A few examples of Jim's service to the community include his roles as a member of the Apereo and Jasig Boards, holding multiple roles with the uPortal Project including chairing the uPortal Steering Committee and serving on the Apereo Financial Committee.


The Apereo Dolphin Awards now encompass what was formerly known as the ATLAS and TWSI Awards. This change occurred in 2022. 

Historical Lists of Awards:

ATLAS Winners (2016-2020)
TWSI Awards Winners (2008-2015)