The Annual Pilgrimage to Milwaukee and Madison for the Annual DTL Conference
| Friday, August 05, 2016
|What happens ever summer? Answer: A trip or two to my roots in Wisconsin. And one such trip is coming up next week. Hooray!
I cannot wait to go to Milwaukee (where I was born) and the University of Wisconsin Madison (where I went to graduate school). I am heading up Monday morning for the 32nd Annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison August 9-11. There is no better place than Madison and Milwaukee in the summer. So many festivals in Milwaukee. And such a delightful ambience in Madison in the summer. I miss that place every day.
My car (a 2004 blue Honda Pilot) will eventually be quite full. Full of MOOCs books to give away at the conference and many suitcases and dishes for my brother Richard. And full of people. First, I will pick up my former student Dr. Minkyoung Kim in Bloomington. We will drive through Chicago (the mess that it is) and pick up Dr. Tom Reeves from the University of Georgia in the Milwaukee airport Monday afternoon. We will stay a night in Milwaukee so I can show them around places like the Milwaukee Art Museum. I will also show them the house in West Allis (2468 S. 94th Street) that I grew up in on the west side of Milwaukee. Unfortunately, it is presently for sale (check out my old house; see also pictures below). My mom passed away back in December and my sisters and brothers are now selling it. This will likely be the final time that I see my old house and neighborhood. Sadness. I will come back to Milwaukee on Friday to drop off Tom Reeves at the airport and then go to the State Fair with one of my brothers (Richard) and best friend Stan Lowe. It is an annual pilgrimage.
There is much to do at the conference in Madison. I have been prepping for weeks. I have a spotlight session on the personalization of MOOCs. And I have another spotlight session on how to use Web and videoconferencing to bring in experts, former students, and others to one's classes and events. Third, I have been asked to introduce the recipient of the Charles and Mildred Wedemeyer Award for Distance Learning Practitioner. I was fortunate to receive the award two years ago and so I have been asked to be involved this year. And fourth, I am on a closing panel. These events are detailed below.
Let's start with the ending panel. There are tons of brilliant people coming this year as keynote, spotlight, and invited speakers. I am truly impress with the work that my friends Les Howles and Kimary Peterson have put into this year's event. Many of these people will join me on the conferencing closing panel, Stumble, Fall Rise Again: From Failure to Transformation Change. During that panel, we will all relate stories where things did not work out as planned. It should be fun. Many of my friends and colleagues are also on the panel; they include, Ellen Wagner, Simone Conceicao, Michael G.
Moore, Tom Reeves, Darcy Hardy, Ray Schroeder, and Michelle D.
Miller. Les Howles will moderate it. Many of these people will join me for dinner on Tuesday night at the Great Dane Pub and Brewery restaurant in Madison near the Capital.
In one Spotlight session on Wednesday afternoon, Personalizing the MOOC: Insights from Experts Around Planet Earth
, Tom Reeves
and I will not only update you on the present state of MOOCs, but we will discuss
what contributors to our book, MOOCs and Open Education
Around the World
published a year ago, have since recommended to us about
how to personalize and be culturally sensitive when designing and delivery a
MOOC. We will also present some brand new data collected by my research team and I during the past
month on how 150 MOOCs instructors from varied disciplines around the world
have personalized their MOOCs.
A book discussion and signing session will follow immediately after the spotlight session where people can
receive a signed copy of our MOOCs and Open Education Around the World
book for free (I should mention that Mimi Lee at the University of Houston and Tom Reynolds at National University are co-editors but they unfortunately cannot make it to the conference in Madison). Book signings and discussions are always fun. I will also do a "Book Nook" discussion on Thursday morning at 9 am. I am really looking forward to presenting at this conference with my super-splendid colleague Dr. Tom Reeves. He and I make for a fun team despite a bit of wear in the tires.
As indicated, in another spotlight session, Through the Words of Experts: Lessons Learned from Over Two Decades of Synchronous Conferencing
, my former graduate student, Dr. Minkyoung Kim, and I will detail many ways that Web and videoconferencing can be used to bring in guest experts. Here is the abstract: "The tools for connecting students with experts around the world have
enabled a new type of learning apprenticeship. No longer must your
instructors and peers come from your own institution or organization.
This talk will detail a series of pedagogical innovations and lesson
learned from Web and video conferencing experimentations meant to extend
the classroom to the world community. Tools such as Adobe Connect,
Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom will be highlighted. Extensive examples
and advice will be provided."
I have dozens of such examples that I can share. Most of the time it is a eye-popping and head-knocking sort of experience. People see new perspectives and ideas. They learn about different cultures and the importance of course content in various regions of the world and disciplines. And they better appreciate the content being taught in the course. These are exciting times for work in this area of global education with technology.
I should point out that this will be Minkyoung Kim's first presentation since passing her dissertation defense in June. She heads to a position at Texas Tech shortly after the conference. Congrads to her!
So, that is it for my brief recap for next week. Madison is so much fun in the summer. I will give Tom and Minkyoung and Rich Culatta a tour of the UW Campus on Tuesday afternoon. We will try to meet up with my former student Kurt Squire
for ice cream at the main union overlooking Lake Mendota as part of the tour. It will be great to see my Kurt for the last time in Madison. He and his wife Constance Steinkuehler
recently accepted jobs at UC Irvine
You can find my slides
in my archived talks in TrainingShare.com. In the meantime, below are pictures of the front and back of the house
that I grew up in there in West Allis, Wisconsin (along with 2 brothers and 2 sisters). I will miss the old place when it is sold. Pictures of the inside can be found in the link above. One bathroom and three bedrooms for 7 people was not easy. Eventually, my father built a 4th bedroom and 2nd bathroom in the basement. Enjoy the home tour! Perhaps you might want to buy it? Let me know.
Labels: Charles Wedemeyer, cultural sensitivity, Les Howles, Madison, MOOCs, personalization, Tom Reeves, videoconferencing, Web conferencing, Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning Conference
"There's no learning in e-learning": Such was the "State of E-Learning" back in April, 2002
| Thursday, July 28, 2016
|Note: The snippet below "And the State of E-Learning is..." comes from the introductory section of a journal article that just went to press. Part of it had to be cut due to length (I tend to write too much!). Oh well. The article that I wrote is based on a keynote talk (Education 3.0: The Learning World of Middle Earth is Fast Changing!--see slides) that I gave in April 2016 at the DEANZ conference (now called FLANZ or the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand). By the way, can join FLANZ.
Bonk, C. J. (in press). What is the state of e-learning?: Reflections on 30 ways learning
is changing. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning.
There is a second piece of that article that was also cut entitled "From Men on Stilts to Bill Clinton." I blogged on it this morning (in part since Bill Clinton just spoke at the Democratic Convention). I recommend that you click the link above and read through that blog post after you read the information below. I should point out that my most excellent colleagues, Dr. Noeline Wright and Dr. Elaine Khoo, ran the conference and are now editing the special journal issue. You will find their pictures below.
Thanks so much Elaine and Noeline. By the way, you may recognize Elaine's name as co-author with me of the "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY" book with me (free copy of e-book). And you might recognize Noeline's name as a chapter contributor to my 2006 book, The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs.
See below for the main part of my second blog post of the day...
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And the State of E-Learning is…
As I write this article,
it is Monday June 20, 2016. Looking at my calendar, it is the summer solstice
and the end of spring. During this time of extended daylight, I am staring out
into the forest behind my house here in Bloomington, Indiana.
I am reflecting on the
speech that I gave at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand during
the annual DEANZ conference two months earlier. In it, I discussed how the
learning world in which I had grown up was in rapid motion. Some thirty
different learning related trends had somehow, though not totally unexpectedly,
started to coalesce. Learning had increasingly become more informal,
video-based, ubiquitous, collaborative, self-directed, global, mobile, open,
massive, and so much more.
Each trend on its own
would have sparked a learning revolution. The fact that they were occurring
simultaneously should force every human being walking this planet to pause and
stare into the distance just as I was engaged in. In fact, you might try it
right now. Turn off your computer. Close this journal article. Then reflect on the
differences between your learning journeys today and those you took one, two,
or three decades ago.
What I was pondering was
the fact that exactly fourteen years earlier I had trekked through those same
campus grounds at the University of Waikato. Back then, I attended a pivotal
and exciting e-learning summit wherein I gave a series of talks about the
pervasive myths, pedagogical possibilities, and problems of e-learning. At the
time, e-learning quality, incentives,
completion rates, instructor training and support, and challenges and obstacles
were among the many topics of interest. Interestingly, they remain so today.
The other invited keynote presenters at the summit, Gilly Salmon of the Open
University in the UK and John Hedberg (see his research) of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, offered much insight into these
issues and other instructional options and opportunities in this growing field.
The one item that struck
me repeatedly back in April 2002 was how often I was asked to explain the
present state of e-learning. This question was first posed of me during a live
national TV program in New Zealand (Channel One morning news); to which I had
no answer. To my utter embarrassment, all I could offer was a series of
mumbling sounds. Later that same day, I was asked that exact same question on
Radio New Zealand. By that time, I had an answer, “It depends.” Amazingly, at
the end of the E-learning Summit, the conference organizer, Dr. Mark Topping, had
all the keynote speakers line up and tell the audience their perspectives on “the
current state of e-learning.” Apparently, after the epic success with the Lord
of Rings movie trilogy, people in New Zealand were hoping for another success
in conquering the field of e-learning. Unfortunately for New Zealanders, so was
every educator and politician in every other country that I visited at that
In retrospect, my talk
at the 2016 DEANZ conference was perhaps unintentionally designed to attempt to
answer that question about the state of e-learning (or perhaps just learning); I
was just 14 years too late. However, as someone who has given more than 1,000
talks in dozens of countries since that unique summit in 2002, I can attest to
the fact that it is extremely difficult to keep up on the fast changing forms
of learning technology and distance education. Interesting and ground breaking
new technology reports seem to arise every hour of the day.
Back in 2002, a segment
within one of my talks in Hamilton was titled “There’s no learning in
e-learning.” In it, I showcased pictures from various conferences that I had
attended the previous couple of years. The rationale for that talk should have
been part of my answer on television, radio, and the E-Learning Summit about
the “state of e-learning” back in 2002. As you will see in the section below,
there really was no learning within e-learning. No. No. No. No. No!
(Remember to read Part 2 of this article which I wrote early this morning, "From Men on Stilts to Bill Clinton." Reading them together is important in order to make sense of some of my key points.)
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Labels: Bill Clinton, DEANZ, e-learning, FLANZ, flexible learning, Gilly Salmon, hobbits, John Hedberg, New Zealand, University of Waikato