This is the blog of Dr. Curt Bonk, Professor at Indiana University and President of CourseShare (there are NO Guest Blogs and NO advertisements permitted).

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MOOC Business Plans are Changing
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Just thought I would post a few MOOC articles that I have been reading lately. Some seem noteworthy.

First of all, I am enjoying reading the blog posts from Class Central from time-to-time. Three of them from the end of December are listed below. One article has the top searches, courses, MOOC universities, languages, and other trends. Another has the five big MOOC trends: 1. The Rise of Self-Paced Courses; 2. The Death of Free Certificates; 3. MOOCs Targeted at High Schoolers; 4. Big MOOC Providers Find their Business Models; and 5. Big Funding Rounds to Accelerate Growth. I can definitely see these trends in my research and travel; especially the rise of self-paced courses and more MOOCs at the high school level.

Secondly, yesterday Inside Higher Ed had an article (The Limits of Open) wherein Coursera has changed their business model. Now free courses have a “view-only” access to graded assignments. You must pay for that. The video lectures, discussion boards, and practice quizzes remain free. And Coursera have “specializations” which you pay by the course ($79) or prepay the entire program (e.g., $474 How to Start Your Own Business). Read the article.

Some people do not seem too pleased about this. George Siemens points out that with these new business models that MOOC companies like Coursera seem to be addressing the venture capital providers instead of primarily targeting the larger goal of increasing access to education. He goes on to say: "“It is dismaying to see the so-called Silicon Valley ‘hypesters’ and geniuses failing to deliver on promised change,” wrote Siemens, who previously helped organize the MOOC Research Initiative, a research grant project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The deep pool of a visionary and re-architected future ended up being about as thick as a dollar bill.” Of course, these are likely short quotes from a much longer interview and he probably had much more to say and no quote entirely represents what a person has actually said. But, still, it is interesting. Read the article!

These are just some of the recent MOOC news. As always, there is much much more. But I thought I would keep this blog post short. I have been invited to give a spotlight session on MOOCs and Open Education at the annual Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison. I will likely go. See some of you there perhaps.

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What is learning?
Saturday, January 09, 2016
Someone asked me for my definition of learning a few days ago. We often hear different definitions of learning depending on what theoretical point of view we associate with, be it, behavioral (classical or operant conditioning), social learning (ala Bandura), cognitive, constructivist, connectivist, etc. With the vast resources and opportunities in front of learners today, a particular theory or perspective may no longer apply. So what is learning then?

Defining learning?
According to Merriam-Webster’s, learning is “the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something: the activity of someone who learns.” Synonym discussion of learning noted by Webster’s: “knowledge, learning, erudition, scholarship mean what is or can be known by an individual or by humankind.”
But I did not look at Webster’s or any learning theory book when responding. Instead, when asked, I simply thought about it and I said:

Learning (per Bonk) is: “The accumulation of ideas, experiences, concepts, facts, insights, and awarenesses that enable a sentient creature to react to and live within one’s surroundings in a more intelligent, thoughtful, appropriate, artful, empathic, and/or reasoned way than previously possible.”

How’s that for off the top of my head? “Accumulation” may be the wrong word, but oh well. I guess I was attempting to be inclusive as today learning is best thought of from the standpoint of multiple theoretical approaches and models or perhaps no learning theory. As instructors, we are creating learning environments that are often highly blended ones, combining aspects of face-to-face and online environments.

Final note that I double majored in both Human Learning and Human Development in the educational psychology department when at UW Madison in the late 1980s (I minored in educational technology); hence, there is some aspect of human/creature development in the definition of learning above. As noted by Vygotsky and many other sociocultural researchers, learning and development overlap and are highly intertwined constructs. As the pool of learning resources expand, we can begin to think not just about some small or short-term aspect of learning (e.g., behaviorally shaping someone who wants to learn to dance or shoot a pool stick), but take a more macro lens on how we develop over time. I will end there…for now.

What is your definition of learning and why? (By the way, it is great to see that the School of Education (and the educational psychology department) at Wisconsin remains #1 among public universities. I sure "learned" a ton when there.)

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Sharing the loss of my dear friend Jay Cross
Saturday, November 07, 2015
Hello my friends. It has been a tad bit more than two months since my last post. The time has come despite the sleepiness. I am quite weary for several reasons but I feel the need to stay up tonight and grasp for air and jot down some thoughts.

You see, two weeks ago, I was in Hawaii for the annual E-Learn conference (invited panel session). And this past week, I have been in Indianapolis while attending the 2015 AECT conference. In fact, yesterday morning, two of my most excellent colleagues (Dr. Tom Reeves from the University of Georgia and Dr. Mimi Miyoung Lee from the University of Houston) and I had a special presidential session at AECT on best practices for cultural sensitivity in MOOCs (slides and handouts). This session was based on our newly edited book with Routledge on MOOCs and Open Education Around the World.

A few hours later, Mimi and I got an award for our paper on the self-directed online learning goals, achievements, and challenges of MIT OpenCourseWare subscribers. It is great to get such feedback immediately after publication. After that, there was the closing ceremony and other events. Suffice to say, it was a highly active week (or couple of weeks) and hence I am most tired.  But I feel that I must soldier on and blog now.

Why must I blog tonight?  Well, I just found out that we have lost one of our foremost of learning dear dear, friend Jay Cross. See link to blog post from Jane Hart below that one of my former students just sent to me as well as the post from Clark Quinn. I am sure many more will arise in the coming days.

RIP Jay Cross, Jane Hart, November 7, 2015
Clark Quinn has also blogged on it ealier today. Vale Jay Cross, Learnlets, November 7, 2015.

If you have not heard of Jay, please explore his homepage or whatever will replace it. Jay was always insightful, straight-shooting, and an immense joy to talk to. He was a highly trusted friend who had the unique ability and previous experiences to straddle and make sense of a wide array of emerging learning trends. He could also think about how each of these trends or new approaches to learning impacted different educational sectors and then he would quickly write some engaging piece of prose about it. In it, he might discuss various economic, educational, or social problems that it might directly or indirectly address.

I feel fortunate to have corresponded with him recently…and give him some feedback on one of his latest projects; namely, "Real Learning." In retrospect, I am delighted that he had reached out to talk to me. But that is Jay. It seems that Jay’s last Internet Time blog post was a few days ago on this topic: Real Learning: Macro and Micro, Jay Cross, Nov., 4, 2015

He made a second post that day related to the Brain Matters conference in which he was to keynote this coming Tuesday afternoon: Brain Matters, Jay Cross, Nov 4, 2015
We are fortunate that Jay made a recent video on Real Learning, October 24, 2015 (3:10). Read more details about the Real Learning project here or find some actual content or details here

If one were to search for the word genius in a virtual encyclopedia, he or she might find Jay Cross as an example. I wish I could write like Jay. I wish I could read like Jay. Gosh I do wish I were half as smart as Jay. As Clark Quinn mentioned in his blog post, that man could synthesize a ton of stuff! And I truly wish I could offer you a recap of his life right here, right now. I wish I could stay awake for 48+ more hours straight so I could come close to providing a recap or overview piece that I am proud of. This will have to do. We all now suffer from the loss of one Jay Cross.

We/I have lost a true friend. I still remember meeting him about 13-14 years ago at the E-Learning conference in April 2002 in DC which I believe Elliott Masie hosted. Near the end of the conference, there was a group of people sitting around various tables and reflecting on how the conference went. My friend Dr. Ellen Wagner pulled me aside and told me that I had to meet a guy sitting with a group of people at a nearby table. His name was Jay Cross and he was among those who 5 years earlier had become known for a new trend called E-Learning. We had a fascinating conversation that day and dozens of times after. There is no one out there with whom I can have candid feedback about pretty much any learning question that I might come up with. Jay knew pretty much everyone and everything in the field. He was a mentor, confidant, guide, inspirer, listener, creator, experimenter, and world knowledge synthesizer. No one like him in the world.

Whether Jay or someone else had coined the term e-learning mattered little. What mattered was that there was something unique that had emerged for delivering instruction to masses of people around the planet. Jay recognized this technological event was anything but ordinary. In fact, Jay himself was anything but ordinary. I was delighted that Ellen Wagner had pointed him out to me. We soon became good friends.
Jay seemed to know everybody. He certainly interviewed or reviewed some of the foremost authorities in learning and technology in his Internet Time blog. So much history of the fields of training and education, learning technology, e-learning, computer science, organizational culture, performance improvement, and business management in those posts. A college professor might assign his or her students to scour through Jay's Internet Time blog (as well as other resources from Jay Cross) and find some of these excellent historical pieces and hold class discussions on them. In fact, I may try this idea out tomorrow with my class.
A decade ago, when I was working on my monster book, "The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspective, Local Designs," I felt fortunate that Jay agreed to do one of the two forewords. The other foreword was from the well known scholar, Dr. Michael G. Moore at Penn State. Jay's advice in that article was spot on as usual. Now that Jay has passed and that particular book is nearly a decade old, I decided to send email asking the good people at Wiley/Jossey-Bass if I can post the forewords to the Blended Learning Handbook to my PublicationShare website. I have taken the liberty of posting them for now and will remove it if they say no.

         Jay Cross and Michael G. Moore. (2006). Forewords to the Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.). Handbook of blended learning: Global Perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing. 

As Jay points out, "The ideal blend is a blend of blends." See Jay's Figure F.1. Dimensions of the Blended Learning Stew. Thanks for those insights on blended learning Jay!
At the end of the day, Jay Cross was a champion of others. He would interview them. He would write to them and ask their opinions and later promote them when and where he could. He provided such services for me on many occasions. Jay would also organize teams of people to discuss new trends and innovations or to respond to some of his own ideas and recent writings. Examples of such team meetings might include ideas about new forms of conferences or meetings, some new synchronous conferencing technology, discussing various informal learning examples, and/or pretty much anything you or he might dream up. In addition to those group meetings, Jay would often gin up a novel idea and solicit feedback on it. Across it all, he was amazing.

I interacted with Jay on many occasions since that first meeting. Among them was the American Educational Research Association (AERA) meeting in San Francisco on April 10, 2006. My long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Kim Foreman, arranged for a special event over at San Fran State University that night including Ke Zhang, Bob Reiser, Brian Beatty, Jay Cross, myself, and others. I spoke on blended learning. I think Bob Reiser from Florida State University discussed some aspect of corporate training or human performance technology as did Jay. Many of my current and former students attended the event. See pics below. Unfortunately, of the five people in the first few pictures below, both Kim and Jay are now deceased (see my August 20, 2010 blog post on Kim).

I tried to get Jay to do the "Indiana I" with us, to no avail.
Jay and I both delighted in the overflowing crowd that was attracted that evening. Standing room only and many people sitting on the floor at SFSU.
Jay dazzled the crowd.

Then we went off to dinner. I still could not get Jay to do the "Indiana I" with a group of my current and former doctoral students at IU.
A few years later (January 27, 2009 to be exact), my colleague, Dr. YaTing Teng, and I had he privilege of walking the streets of Berkeley with Jay. And of course we grabbed some excellent lunch and he told us many a fine story. I cannot remember why I was in the Bay area that day (I will assume that I was at a conference of some type), but I am glad I was able to stop in to see Jay.

See below...unfortunately, it was not Jay's car, but why not take it for a spin? Jay seemed to know everybody except the owner of this car. Too bad!

Just a few months later, I had the opportunity to visit Jay again. This time I was at his house on April 4, 2009 (8 years to the day after MIT announced its OpenCourseWare project and 15 years to the day since Netscape went public; if interested, see my recent article on this). A few pictures from this visit are posted below. Jay was interviewing me about my World is Open book at the time and posting it to YouTube for his newest project and broadcast channel. What a beautiful area to live. Needless to say, I was jealous.


Jay invited several others and had a "Learning Irregulars" meeting. Our mutual friend, Clark Quinn, stopped by for it and is in a couple of the pictures with us below. Clark is in the red sweater. I am in the red shirt and tie. And Jay has his Hawaiian shirt on. Enjoy.
"The World is Open" pose with Jay Cross and Clark Quinn.
Jay gave me a tour of his lovely backyard. Then it was time for business.
There have to be hundreds of recordings of Jay on the Internet. Someone might want to compile them.
I learned the value of signing anything you give away form my dear friend Jay Cross.
I miss him already and I am sure many of you do too. There is no one in the world quite like Jay Cross.
Bonus pics with Jay from the Emerging E-Learning (EMEL) conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE, September 2-5, 2004:
A couple of days after writing the above blog post on remembering Jay Cross, my friend Vance Stevens reminded me of the class that I taught with Jay from Abu Dhabi in the UAE to Bloomington, Indiana in the USA late night on September 3, 2004 (it was actually the wee hours of September 4th where we were--there was a 9 hour time zone difference according to my notes from that day).
The videoconferencing system worked marvelously. Jay was a good sport and most excellent friend in staying up with me late that night. I think it was one of my doctoral students, Nari Kim, who handled the equipment for me in Bloomington. Thank you Nari (11 years too late)!

Was it my "The Perfect E-Storm" talk or my talk on "Navigating the Myths and Monsoons of E-Learning Strategies and Technologies." Either way, it was fun to use raincoats and umbrellas in the UAE where it rarely rains.

My class back in Bloomington looks on (including Jung Won Hur, Gina Anderson, Fang Fang, Mei-ya Liang, etc.). I have even found the syllabus: It was taught to both our Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses. 
The day before (9/2/2004), we had lunch in the Sheikh Nahyan's Palace in Abu Dhabi. So much food! Anyone like goat, donkey, or camel? Well, if not, there is plenty of watermelon to go around.

And after lunch, was a business meeting of sorts.
As others have noted in their Twitter posts (se Jane Hart's "Twitter Tributes to Jay Cross") and blog posts, Jay definitely traveled well.
In the final pictures below, Jay Cross and I were joined by another keynote speaker--my good friend John Hedberg (from Macquarie University in Australia). We closed out that conference on the afternoon of September 5, 2004 with a reflective drink in the hotel lounge. Speaking of John, he will remember me out on the balcony and getting locked out of my room one very hot morning during that conference and not being able to get back in (after waking up the first day with jet lag and not remembering what my room number was so no one could find me and let me in from the heat). What a nightmare that was!

Seems a good picture to end on...(unless I find a better one later). Goodbye Jay. Missing you even more now after posting these fond memories.
Short Addendum: Learning Trends from Elliott Masie today (11/11/2015) mentioned David Kelly's excellent curation of the stories about Jay Cross: An Industry Remembers Jay Cross, November 11, 2015. And Jane Hart's Twitter Tributes to Jay is now up to 286 comments. And this "In Memoriam: Jay Cross" piece from Learning Solutions also from November 11th is worth reading. He certainly had many fans, friends, and fellow Web-based learning travelers.

It might also be useful to post the obituary (My Obituary) that Jay wrote for himself back on June 20, 2015 as well as what seems to be his last blog ("plog"--or his "Personal Progress Blog") post written the day he died about going back for his 50th college reunion at Princeton this coming May 2016 (Going back, going back, going back to Nassau Hall by Jay Cross). Indeed, Jay had a multitude of writing outlets. He serves as a role model not just for being a highly productive writer and thinker, but on how to be a genuinely caring and helpful human being who wants the world to learn in whatever ways possible and in an effort to help others not only be more productive but to be happy in the process. I truly am blessed and quite happy to have met and worked with Jay Cross.

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Who wants a MOOCs book? Introducing
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
For more than 15 years now, I have had some fun purchasing website URLs while building learning portals (e.g., TrainingShare and CourseShare), software programs (e.g., SurveyShare), and book homepages (e.g., my Adding Some TEC-VARIETY book and my World is Open book). It is always exciting to design something new.

I got lucky a month or two ago and purchased the website for my new book, MOOCs and Open Education Around the World which was published by Routledge near the end of June 2015. My team (Mimi Miyoung Lee, Tom Reeves, and Tom Reynolds) and I also edited a special journal issue on this topic. I discuss more about this in my previous blog post. It was a long process of more than 2 years in the making. It felt great to be done. And is also was a splendid feeling to get that special website.

If you explore that website, you will find contributor and editor information, reader reactions, book reviews, and a series of book endorsements. You will also find assorted media on the book, presentations my team and I have done on MOOCs, free stuff (including the preface and book chapter abstracts), and links to Amazon as well as the publishers of each (Note: the book is from Routledge/Taylor and Francis and the special issue is from AACE). Of course, you will also find the requisite baby pictures, as per below. Smile.

Perhaps the book and special issue are not as engaging as we thought they would be. :-)

If you get the new MOOCs book or special issue, let me know. Hopefully, you will not fall asleep that fast. But if you do, let me know and I will attempt to sell it as a cure for insomnia.

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"MOOCs and Open Education" Book and Special Issue...Now Published...AND also Published!
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Special Side Note: After the blog post below was made, a website was created for both the book and special issue. That website is or Please click that link for more information.

Some Really Big (i.e., "Massive") News: Both the MOOCs and Open Education Around the World book is now published by Routledge. It came out in late June. The book has around 64 contributors from 13 countries. They wrote some 29 chapters, 2 forewords, and 1 preface or 32 total pieces.

More Massive News: Also published is the special issue of the International Journal on E-Learning that is also on MOOCs and Open Education (by AACE). It came out digitally July 1 and soon in print. The Special has 8 articles. These are totally different articles from the book.

When combined, you will find 40 articles that my team, Dr. Mimi Lee from the University of Houston, Dr. Tom Reeves from The University of Georgia, and Dr. Tom Reynolds from National University, and I (Curt Bonk from Indiana University) have been working on for 1-2 years. What's a MOOC you say? A MOOC is a "massive open online course." What's open education you add? Well, read the free preface to the book (see link below).

Tom, Tom, Mimi, and I are delighted that these two projects are now completed and we can do other things. These projects have consumed much of our free time for longer than we care to admit. The book and special issue projects both got their start at the International E-Learn Conference in Las Vegas in October 2013 (actually 6-8 months prior). In effect, we have been working on these two little babies for nearly two years, if not longer. Yikes! Here is some ordering information and some free stuff. Below that are the book covers. But remember, my homepage has links to everything.

Special Issue:  IJEL 14(3), July 2015, or see EdITLib from AACE. (Amazon link coming)

Book: Homepage (Routledge); Amazon (Kindle (Approximately $35), Softcover (Around $37); Hardcover ($132));
        Free: Shareable Preface and Chapter Abstracts (if you cannot find it, try

Book Reference:
     Bonk, C. J., Lee. M. M., Reeves, T. C., & Reynolds, T. H. (Eds). (2015). MOOCs and Open Education Around the World. NY: Routledge.

Special Issue Reference:
       Lee, M. M., Bonk, C. J., Reynolds, T. H., & Reeves, T. C. (Eds.) (2015). Special Issue: MOOCs and Open Education. International Journal on E-Learning, 14(3), 261-400.

I hope you enjoy the book and special issue. Reviews, suggestions, feedback, and so on are always welcome. Welcome to the world of MOOCs and Open Education! Remember the free book preface and chapter abstracts and contributor information. The world is now "open" for you as well as for me.

Special Side Note Reminder: After the blog post below was made, a website was created for both the book and special issue. That website is or

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China South to North: Some Cool Looks, a Few Books, and a Building Named MOOCs
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
TravelinEdMan in China. Well, I got back from China a little over a week ago. It was great to see so many old friends and meet many new friends in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing. I can even spell each city without looking it up now. Traffic...sure there were a few days with many of the road and also the rainy season started during my second or third week there. But I definitely had much fun. Too much fun?

As you will read below, I visited eight cities and gave 18 talks at 12 universities. I was also on several panels and research presentations. I was pretty tired when I got on the plane heading for China. That was one of the hardest preparations in my life and I had a book with Routledge and special journal issue of the International Journal on E-learning about to come out on MOOCs and Open Education that needed proofing (see my homepage for links to both). Yes...I was tired but the entire trip went very well. And I hope you agree after reading the stories below and browsing the pictures. You can use anything you like from my talks (if you cite me, of course). My talks are all posted to archived talks in Feel free to download them (18 China talks).

City #1: HONG Kong. It all started in Hong Kong. I left on June 2nd and arrived on the 3rd by going through Detroit and Shanghai. Customs in Shanghai was a tad bit much for me since I had to clear customs in China and walk to the other terminal and clear customs again to get on the plane to Hong Kong. And then I had to clear customs a third time a few hours later in Hong Kong. Fortunately, my former student, Dr. Jingli Cheng from the University of Hong Kong, took good care of me the first week or so of the trip (and on into Week 2 in Shanghai).

The first person other than Jingli that I ran into was Gerald Knezek from the University of North Texas. He introduced me to his family as well as Nancy Law from the University of Hong Kong. He also took me to Kennedytown where we had a refreshing drink.


Gerald introduced me to a guy at the University of Hong Kong named David Churchill. What an amazing office he had.


He even had the complete works of Lev Vygotsky. Everything and anything was in that office.

I got much of the first few days off but did speak at the University of Hong Kong on Friday June 5th. What a cool room it was! Many projection screens. Multiple layers of seating. Excellence acoustics. And the room was packed...they had to bring in more chairs. Certainly, that makes for a good start.


 It started my trip off quite well. I also got to see many former students of mine when in Hong Kong, including Timothy Hew (who moved from Singapore), Theresa Chen, and Kuk Lee.

Kuk Lee was in my P640 class on the social aspects of learning back in 1997.

Timothy Hew was in my classes about 10-12 years ago. Same with Jingli Cheng (see his young boy and wife above).

I was at Theresa Chen's wedding 19 or 20 months earlier in Taiwan. Her husband got a job in Hong Kong and so did she now. She took three of my classes about 7-8 years ago including one were the class created wikibooks with students from the University of Houston and Beijing Normal University and others.

I got to enjoy a view from the peak in Hong Kong with Jingli when on June 6th. It was a long and very hot walk up but well worth it. For one, I had eaten too much and needed to lose some weight.




Next Jingli and I explored downtown Hong Kong. We were already quite tired and sweaty; or at least I was.

City #2: Macau. Macau was interesting the following day (June 7th).

Back to City #1: More Hong Kong. Before leaving Hong Kong, I spent Monday June 8th at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Poly U). Peter Duffy was my contact at HK APA. My main contacts at HK Poly were out of town. It was my first time to present at an academy for the performing arts. I needed (and found) many examples of blended learning (they topic they choose) for theater, drama, music, TV and film, opera, dance, Web design, etc., and language learning which they also had classes on. Most interesting. But it a ton of time to prepare.

I even met a children's book author and illustrator, Gavin Coates, when in Hong Kong. Gavin now works at the University of Hong Kong. His book company is called "Earthy Publications." Cool guy he is.

On Tuesday morning June 9th, I headed over to HK Poly for a 90 minute talk. The room was packed and I was a tad bit tired but fortunately, it went well. A few final pics from my hotel room are below.

I enjoyed my time at HK Poly.

This is a new building at HK Poly. UNIQUE!

My bags are always packed. And I rarely check a bag when I fly. Two pillows help me to sleep.

Traffic jam in Hong Kong. Good thing Jingli and I took the train to mainland China (Shenzhen).

Goodbye to my new friends.

City #3: Shenzhen, China. After speaking at HK Poly U on Tuesday afternoon June 9th, Jingli Cheng and I took the 4 pm train to mainland China. Our destination? Shenzhen..a. city of 15 million which, as I noted above, did not exist 35 years ago.

It was great to have Jingli take me over the border. He is a great friend.

Xu Li, Associate Director of the Global Engagement Office was now my main contact.

Shenzhen is a pretty cool place. So much construction. So many cranes.

I got people to wave and lean at South University of Science and Technology of China (SUSTC) in Shenzhen on June 10th.

There are huge plans to grow this campus. They are planning an international conference center. The city of Shenzhen is a case in point. It did not exist 35 years ago but now has over 15 million people. I counted about 20 cranes outside the window of the guest house room that I had at SUSTC.

It was great to meet Professor Li Ming. We had a lovely chat about e-learning in his office and what an office it was!  He is secretary of the CPC committee of the SUSTC (which means he is very important in planning the future directions of the SUSTC).

They also took me to Tencent which is like the Google of China. Tencent is famous for social media and communication products like QQ and WeChat.

I had a couple of Tencent tour guides (I guess, if I was joking, "10 cent tour guides" would be a pun), but they were pretty good tour guides. One of them  is named Penny Chen. Imagine being a Penny at Tencent. Smile.

City #4: Guangzhou, China. In Guangzhou, I spoke at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. My upcoming visiting scholar, Dr. Menglian (Linda) Liu, made sure that I did not get lost. She will come to IU in a year.


A day later while in Guangzhou, I met a great friend of 7 years, but for the very first time in person. It was Dr. Jiao (Johnny) Jianli from South China Normal University (SCNU) was the translator of my World Is Open book which came out in the USA in 2009 and in Chinese 2 years later in 2011. As noted later in this blog post, the Chinese version he created has sold more copies (over 20,000) than the English version (around 15,700 copies). I was delighted to hear that the Chinese version is a best seller for East China Normal University (ECNU) Press. I remember many emails back and forth with Dr. Jiao about the terms I used in the book and what they meant; in particular, it was difficult to translate my puns and subtle humor. He and his team worked very hard on this project. We will team up again for my new book on MOOCs and Open Education Around the World (mentioned elsewhere in this blog post).
So it was really great to finally meet him (and his students and colleagues) in Guangzhou. We met up again a few days later in Shanghai for the AECT conference event (see later pictures).



I got some of the people at South China Normal University in Guangzhou to hold up their mobile and also to do the "IU" sign. And I got a few people to jump near the end of my first talk.


At the end of my two talks, I was given an certificate that I am now a "Guest Professor" for the next three years at South China Normal University. What a great honor!

After those talks, I hung out with my friend Zehui (Jane) Zhan and her husband, Dr. Hu Mei, who showed me around Guangzhou.



Kyle Peck from Penn State University showed up my final moments in Guangzhou during breakfast and I got to introduce him to Jane before running to the airport shuttle bus (with 3 minutes to spare).
Goodbye Guangzhou; a most beautiful city. Jane is supposed to be coming to Indiana University in a year or two. I will be her sponsor. She interviewed me for an article on blended learning about 7 years ago which she translated to Chinese. That translated article really helped me get known in China or so it seems.

City #5: Shanghai, China. I landed in Shanghai. I have too many pictures to post here. Let's just say that I saw many colleagues (e.g., David Wiley who has a chapter in my new book on MOOCs and Open Education Around the world; Ke Zhang who co-wrote the Empowering Online Learning/R2D2 book with me) and former students (e.g., Jingli Cheng from the U of Hong Kong, Vanessa Dennen from Florida State University, Xiaojing Kou from IU, etc.). David, Vanessa, Ke, and I did a preconference workshop on Tueday June 15th at Shanghai International Studies U (SISU). It went fabulously well. What fun! The AECT conference (or summer research symposium) started the next day at East China Normal University (ECNU).

Before the AECT summer research conference at ECNU, I went over the Manchester Business School Office in Shanghai and gave a talk on my new book on MOOCs and Open Education Around the World on Monday July16th. My wonderful friend, Nigel Banister, Chief Global Officer at Man Business U,  put me in touch with the Regional Director in Shanghai, Sherry Fu. Sherry and I were hoping for a book launching but the book did not get published until a few days later. Here are a few pictures from that lunch session.

I once again saw my World is Open book translator, Dr. Jianli (Johnny) Jiao. But I also met the editor from ECNU Press, Chengjun (CJ) Peng. He told me that ECNU Press is the largest education press in China  with over 2,000 titles per year. He added that my World is Open book is a bestseller for them with over 20,000 copies sold in Chinese. Cool..that is more sales than in English. I then bought nearly 100 copies from him to giveaway to students and others in my journeys in China. Johnny will translate the new MOOCs and Open Education Around the World book and ECNU will publish it. I edited this new book with Mimi Lee, Tom Reeves, and Tom Reynolds. The MOOCs book homepage from Routledge has more information as does my homepage. The Preface (which includes chapter abstracts) is free to share (repeat FREE to share). Below is a image of the MOOCs book cover.

Here is a picture with CJ at ECNU Press offices. Below that is Dr. Jiao.

I was made a guest professor at South China Normal University (SCNU) for the next 3 years. Dr. Jiao brought an English version of the certificate with him to Shanghai. The one that they gave me in Guangzhou was in Chinese.

Marcus Childress (Now with (Baker University) and the magician for the social.

Former student, Dr. Min Shi takes us to a delicious restaurant my first night in shanghai. It was great to see her.

I had a chance to visit with Jenny Zhu whom I had interviewed for my World is Open book about 7 years ago. She and her husband Hank sold that company and started "Open Language" which is in the People Squared building in Shanghai. It was great to catch up; albeit far too brief.

Some pics from Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) new campus about 1-2 hours from downtown Shanghai depending on traffic. Jingli Cheng and I presented there on Monday night June 14th.

The next day was the free MOOCs, Open Education, and e-Learning workshop at the old campus of SISU. We had a great room and a delightful time.

My friend Dr. Ilju Rha from Seoul National University (SNU) attended the AECT event in Shanghai with a few of his students. I gave them each a TEC-VARIETY book that I had shipped over.

More pics with my World is Open book translator, Dr. Jiao from SCNU. Ke Zhang and Menglian (Linda) Liu in here too.

World is Open book writer (me) meets his publisher (CJ on right) and translator (Dr. Jiao on left). What a great chance to meet. ECNU Press where CJ works is just a few short steps from the conference hotel...well perhaps 50 yards.

My former student, Dr. Xiaojing Kou and her sister had a presentation a the conference on OER use in China. I was a third member of this presentation.

Even their mother came for the event in Shanghai

I got pretty sick and congested right before my keynote but it went extremely well or so I was told. Many people came up after for a World is Open book (in Chinese) or a TEC-VARIETY book (in English).
The picture below is fuzzy since it is from someone who watched my keynote via the videostream (i.e., it is a picture of the stream). I had the audience do a pose for the world being open for learning.
Free books are a safe way to look popular...but I was literally under attack here at ECNU in Shanghai as well as a few days later at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.

Conference in Shanghai ends June 19, 2015 at about noon. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.


A new mall in Shanghai near the conference hotel. was much in China.

It was so much fun to hang out with David Wiley, Vanessa Dennen (blog), and Ke Zhang when in Shanghai. 

Before leaving Shanghai, I got in a group photo-shoot at the end of the AECT Summer Research Conference event in Shanghai back on June 19th. There were 5 or 6 past or current presidents of AECT in attendance at the event in Shanghai. Impressive!

City #6: Wuzhen, China. After the conference in Shanghai, my former visiting scholar, Dr. Yan Li from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, took me and Tristan Johnson from Northeastern University by train to Hangzhou. Dr. Robert (Bob) Reiser from Florida State University and Lin Lin from the University of North Texas arrived later.

Before Bob and Lin arrived, three of Yan's students took Tristan and I to Wuzhen, which is often called the "Venice of China." It was Sunday June 21 which was an important holiday weekend in China (i.e., Dragon Boat Festival); hence, much traffic. Sidenote: There sure are a lot of holidays in China (2015 holiday calendar). Makes you want to move to China!

City #7: Hangzhou, China (and West Lake). I was singing in the rain with Bob when at West Lake on Monday June 22. I definitely enjoyed my time in Hangzhou and West Lake. Bob, Lin Lin, Yan, and I spoke at a conference at Zhejiang University on June 23rd, after which, I departed for Beijing.

Yes, I still use my Ed Media bag form 1999 in Seattle. It was my very first Ed Media conference.

City #8: Beijing, China. And I had the most excellent time in Beijing with my friends as Beijing Normal University (BNU). Hard to briefly mention all my friends there at BNU. They include Jingjing Zhang (an old friend since her graduate school time at Oxford), Meifeng Liu (a visiting scholar at IU back in 2000), Qing Chen (who translated my Adding Some TEC-VARIETY book to Chinese), Li Chen (who arranged for the translation and seems in charge of many things at BNU), Xiuli (Lily) Zhuang (who worked on an international wikibook project with me long ago), Shengquan Yu (who participated in an event with me in Las Vegas back in 2008), and many more. My former student Dr. Minjing Duan was at my talks and took me to dinner with her family. And my old friend Dongping Zheng from the University of Hawaii was there. My next student, Meina Zhu, was also in attendance as were two visiting scholars, Wenjing Hu and Xinyi (Cindy) Shen, who received their master's and Ph.D. degrees, respectively, when I was there.

Before the pictures from the BNU campus, I should mention my talk at the Open University of China (OUC), which is the second largest university in the world with more than 3.5 million students. Amazing! Scratch it off my bucket list. Only the Open University of India is larger. I had a great time there. Several people actually heard of me and had read my books. I was stunned.

Unfortunately, it was national exam day for secondary students and so the roads were packed with traffic. I kept looking at my watch waiting for the driver. My translator/escort arrived early. She was nervous too. Even though driver arrived late 30-40 minutes, we made it to the OUC only five or 10 minutes late. I tried to prepare as quickly as I could. They had three cameras on me and a couple of microphones so it was not easy to just jump in and start speaking. But it went pretty well.

Ok, I spoke at the Open University of China. That one talk had the potential to impact more students than all other talks that I will do in my career. I can seriously think about retiring now.

Time to move on to Beijing Normal University (BNU) for my final two talks of the trip.

I recruited Minjing Duan (now Dr. Duan...see below) back in 1998 or 1999 when she applied to educational psychology at IU. She arrived some seven years later when we got her funding in IST. In between, she and her husband took to me to many interesting places in Beijing back in October 2004. Time flies.


Ah Graduation Day has arrived at BNU!

Zhuang (Lily) Xiuli (below) collaborated with me back in 2007-2008 on an international wikibook project.

As I mentioned, Wenjing Hu and Xinyi (Cindy) Shen, received their master's and Ph.D. degrees, respectively, when I was there. They were visiting scholars at IU last year.

Wenjing and Cindy took me the Zhongguancun MOOCs Times Building in Beijing as well as an art district called 798. So many start-up companies in China. Educational technology and e-learning is a huge new industry. According to a May 26, 2015 report from the World Bank, there is a 700 increase in investment in online education companies in China during the past year. Per this report, China has gone from 692 such companies in 2014 to 1018 in 2015. I met with many such leaders or founders when at them MOOCs Times building back on June 26, 2015.

It was fun to hear about all the new gaming, e-learning, language learning, etc. companies at the MOOCs building, but it was time to see art in the 798 district of Beijing.

By now. I must go back to being a professor of something. I am not sure what. I have been kicked out of the department in which I was first hired.

And so ends my nearly 4 week trip to China. I visited eight cities and gave 18 talks at 12 universities. That was a lot to prepare for. I hope you enjoyed the stories. My talks are all posted to archived talks in Feel free to download them (18 China talks). Hope you enjoyed the recap. Sorry if I bored anyone. And I am totally delighted that when I clicked post, the computer or the blog tool did not crash. It almost did after 10-12 hours of work. I got many error messages. Yikes! A big relief went through my body when it posted successfully.

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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