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Time to add some TEC-VARIETY?: Free new E-book for the "masses" of online learners
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Ok, it has been several months since I last posted to this blog. In part, I have been traveling. And, in part, I have been finishing writing one book on online motivation and retention self-published by my new company, OpenWorldBooks as well as starting a new one (edited) on MOOCs and Open Education Around the World that will be published by Routledge next spring. This post concerns the former and not the latter..

The new book does concern MOOCs in a way since it can address the student retention and engagement issue that we are hearing about regarding MOOCs, but it addresses much more than that. There are chapters on curiosity (the top most downloaded chapter so far), tone or climate (the second most downloaded one), and relevance (which is holding steady in third place). You will also find chapters on student autonomy, engagement, encouragement or feedback, interactive and collaborative learning, competition or conflict, and so much more. The Web resources and references at the end and the two summary tables are what I refer to the most. And, I think, so will you. Others of you might just want to see Chapter 14 on how to support resistant, reluctant, and reticent instructors.

Free E-Book:
Are you wanting to download a FREE copy? If yes, then click on one the links below. More specifically, my online motivation and retention book is finally out (Title: “Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online”). I wrote the book with Dr. Elaine Khoo from the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Elaine is a marvelous person to work with on such a project. She really helped turn this into a theory to practice book with all of her work on the theory chapters of this book. A picture with Elaine that we used in the hardcover version is below. After speaking at an e-learning summit at the University of Waikato in April 2002, I gave Elaine advice on her dissertation for several years. I told her when she was done with it, I could use her help in writing this book since she had tons of references for the literature review that I needed related to online motivation and retention at her fingertips in her dissertation. I could then focus on the various "Activities" chapters as well as the opening and ending. And so we formed a collaboration here. It is fun to run ideas by someone else when writing a book

Adding some TEC-VARIETY is available for FREE as an e-book in total and by chapter. I have sent out signed copies of the softcover version to dozens of people since early May. I also gave away dozens more when in Finland for Ed Media last month as well as in the UK a few weeks ago. This book has a novel framework for online motivation called TEC-VARIETY (each letter stands for a motivational principle). There are 100 activities in the book (10 for each principle of motivation). Online instructors can learn how to design a safe climate for learning, give feedback, foster interaction and collaboration, nurture student autonomy and creation of products, and much more. The intent is for higher online learning retention and the development of more self-directed online learners.
There have already been more than 14,000 downloads of this book alone on our book website and it has only been available for a few months. The entire book is also available on other sites such as the EdITLib from Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Sidenote: Do not try to do this at home. Self-publishing is not easy or inexpensive. And it takes much time and planning. Of course, a ton of patience too. You must be committed to the cause of openness (which I am). There are many costs related to book prepping and services, including the book editors, copyeditor, indexer, proofreaders, website designer, graphic artists, programmers, researchers, formatters, and so on. You can read about some of these people in the book Acknowledgments and Preface. Overall, it was not particularly cheap (let's just say that you do not want to know...but, if you must, just send me an email and I will let give you some details. Be careful...sit on a couch, recliner, or comfy chair so you can faint without hurting yourself).

At the same time, there is much satisfaction in having control. I can now share a digital version of this book with whoever I want and whenever I want. The e-book is free. And I can buy copies are reduced prices and give them away as well. In addition, no publisher was going to change my book title or delete tons of chapters this time. Chapter 14 on supporting and motivating less experienced or hesitant online instructors, for instance, was supposed to be in the R2D2 book back in 2008 but the publisher deleted it and several other chapters. But many people have requested it during the past 6 years. In fact, it became the most popular chapter from the R2D2 book and was not even in the book. So we rewrote it and updated it and included it in the new book near the end.

Additional Sidenote: Elaine Khoo and I used Amazon CreateSpace for help with publishing this book (see my recent keynote talk at Ed Media for my insights and ideas on self-publishing a book (info; slidescolor PDF)). They were fantastic people to work with. They took time to answer my every question. I will blog in a few weeks on my quality control standards for this book using a review process that I call "PEERS." More later on this.

By the way, with the 100+ activities, this book follows the same format as my Empowering Online Learning book published by Jossey-Bass back in 2008 with my wonderful colleague and friend Dr. Ke Zhang from Wayne State University. That book had a model called Read, Reflect, Display, and Do or R2D2. See the "R2D2" model below. I blogged on that book back on July 5, 2008 ("The R2D2 book is out out!!!!!!!! May the force be with those who use it!"). That was 6 years ago. My, my, time flies!

This new TEC-VARIETY book has a brand new set of 100+ activities and a focus on learner motivation and retention. And TEC-VARIETY is more of a framework than a model like R2D2. Still, both will help instructors make sense of the possibilities of using the Web for online teaching and learning. They can reduce the frustrations, tensions, and overall dissonance with so many open educational resources and choices. They are pedagogical, technological, and psychological aids.

So, the R2D2 book from 2008 and the TEC-VARIETY from 2014 each have 100+ activities in them. In addition, they both have one or more variations for each activity. In effect, across the 2 books there is information, advice, and ideas for more than 400 different ideas. These books are for those in the trenches of blended and fully online learning. Administrators, politicians, educators, parents, those in the media, and others who want big picture of all this, might want to browse through my book, "The World Is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education" book which came out in 2009 in hardcover as well as for the Kindle and was revised in 2011 in paperback (Amazon). The new opening (Prequel) and ending (Postscript) of that book are free at the book homepage. It is also available in Chinese (Foreword) and Arabic.

This book has been incubating for a long, long time. After planning this book for nearly 15 years, presenting on the ideas in it for about a decade, collecting research papers for 7 years, and writing it for the past three years (as mentioned, with Dr. Elaine Khoo at the University of Waikato in New Zealand), it is free as an e-book. People can now download the entire book as a PDF document or individually by chapter. As noted above, over 14,000 people have already downloaded the entire thing and thousands more the individual chapters. In addition, scholars at Beijing Normal University in China started translating it to Chinese so it can be free there too. Anyone can use, share, download, and, with permission, translate this puppy. By the way, my son Alex produced the book cover.

Ok, then, what motivates? See below for a list from the book. This list spells TEC-VARIETY. A handy mnemonic, eh?
  1. Tone/Climate: Psych Safety, Comfort, Sense of Belonging
  2. Encouragement: Feedback, Responsive, Praise, Supports
  3. Curiosity: Surprise, Intrigue, Unknowns
4.      Variety: Novelty, Fun, Fantasy
5.      Autonomy: Choice, Control, Flexibility, Opportunities
6.      Relevance: Meaningful, Authentic, Interesting
7.      Interactivity: Collaborative, Team-Based, Community
8.      Engagement: Effort, Involvement, Investment
9.      Tension: Challenge, Dissonance, Controversy
10.  Yielding Products: Goal Driven, Purposeful Vision, Ownership
In this book, you will discover:
  • A wellspring of Web resources
  • 10 fully documented successful motivational principles
  • Hundreds of activities to motivate and engage online learners
  • Proven ideas on how to design interactive and collaborative courses
  • A realistic path toward meaningful and relevant online learning
  • Detailed risk, cost, and time guidelines for each activity
  • A thoroughly researched basis for each idea and activity
You will also discover hope. HOPE (yes, real hope!) for engaging online learners.
This is a reminder that the book is FREE in total and by chapter (entire 367 page book; chapters). As noted above, the new book is also available from Amazon in paperback for under $15.00 and the Kindle version is $9.99. Note that similar books from the publisher list at 2 or 3 times those prices, if not more. A special hardcover edition is obtainable from me upon request for about $15/book.

Hope you enjoy and can use the book. Let me know what you think. Welcome to OpenWorldBooks!

By the way, some pictures are below from my travels to Tampere, Finland for the Ed Media conference on June23rd and the 26th as well as University College London June 27th (ALT MOOC SIG conference), the University of Cambridge (flier) on June 30th, King's College on July 1st (flier), and Oxford July 3rd, and the University of South Wales on July 4th (flier). People seem to be enjoying the new book....well, when I give away they do.)

Tampere, Finland (June 2014, the University of Tampere):



The UK (June and July 2014)
(Cambridge, June 30, 2014)

(King's College, July 1, 2014)

(Lunch at the University of Oxford, July 1, 2014) 
(University of South Wales (formerly the University of Glamorgan) July 4, 2014)
Is it time for you to add some TEC-VARIETY? Perhaps. Please let Elaine Khoo or I know if you do. You might give me a Reader Reaction or perhaps you will read them or the various book endorsements received so far. Not convinced yet? Perhaps you should read this overview article for Education Magazine or the short blog post that I did for Cengage last year before my presentation at SXSWedu explaining the evolution of this book. It has been a long and quite interesting process.
Enjoy. And do share the free e-book! Oh, I should note that the University of Waikato will have a book launching event on their campus on July 31st. They have already fashioned a book homepage.

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From Pink Elephants to Pink Suit Coats: TravelinEdMan hangs out in Thailand and Vietnam
Sunday, March 30, 2014

TravelinEdMan had a huge trip this month to Thailand and Vietnam. This was the longest and most complicated trip I have taken for professional speaking. And I gave the most talks that I have ever done on one trip. Needless to say, I could not bring books to give away at each stop. Instead, I brought a few small items (like pens and notepads from my Dean's office) and bought chocolates in the airports to give away to people with great questions.
I departed on Thursday March 6th and returned on Monday March 24th. I gave 17 talks, 5 of which were some sort of keynote or plenary address. I spoke in Bangkok and then Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and then Hue, Vietnam and then again in Bangkok and finally in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Hue is the old capital of Vietnam. It has many stunning historical sites. And it also has a brand new international airport (with 1 or 2 flights per day to like Cambodia or Laos). Smile.
You can find all of my talks posted to my archived talks as a color PDF from my Website. You can also find the original slides to download from Dropbox. I have also started to use SlideShare more (my talk on 30 emerging learning technologies seems to be highly popular; I have a new one with 50-60 such emerging technologies which is the final talk that I gave on this graduate students at Chiang Mai University). However, only 1 of these 17 talks has been posted to SlideShare. I include some links to my talks below.
I had many people jumping during my talks in Thailand and Vietnam. It was much fun!


I am not sure why they gave me the Superman shirt. But I love it.

Need a Thai massage? If so, see the phone number below.

Here was my speaking tour schedule:

March 10th: Chulalongkorn University's “Education 3.0 : This is the next generation” conference in Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)
March 11th: “A day of future with e-learningseminar at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)

March 12th: University of Social Sciences and Humanities at Vietnam National University – in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) Vietnam. (Slides)

March 15-16: International Conference on Educational Reform 2014 (ICER2014) at the Hường Giang Hotel in Hue, Vietnam. (Slides)

March 18: Institution for the Promotion of Science and Technology (IPST), Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)

March 19: Thailand Cyber University Project, Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)

March 21: 9th Annual E-Learning Seminar and Workshop; 2014 Smart Learning with Innovative Technology, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Slides)

March 22 Presentations to Graduate Student and Staff, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Slides)

Some pictures from March 21-22 at Chiang Mai University are below.


Yes I am eating a plate full of ants and ant eggs.


I made many new friends when in Thailand and Bangkok. Dozens more friends in Facebook. When in Hue, Vietnam, I also bought 4 custom suit coats—1 blue cashmere; 1 purple (with pants); and 2 pink (one light and one dark. I cannot wait to see what they look like when they arrive. I have tried the purple suit on before I left Hue for Bangkok. It looked great. My tailor was surprised how good I looked in the purple jacket. She also liked how the light pink pants came out. Me too.

There were a few times when I closed my eyes as someone was driving me around. In Thailand, the drive to Pattaya the first day was a bit bumpy and I think too fast for the road conditions. However, once there, we had so much fun! Thanks to my friend Oum for the great time (and A, X, and Bee who came on that trip). Bangkok roads are crowded but actually somewhat sane. Vietnam is a different story. So many motorcycles and bicycles on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City; somewhat fewer in Hue (where the conference was) but still a lot. The drive from Hue to Da Nang and Hoi An was interesting to say the least. Fortunately, I had an excellent driver. Still, I held on as he weaved around many trucks, cars, and vans. For nearly 3 hours to Hoi An he had to honk his horn to avoid hitting people to the right on their motorcycles and bicycles. And then the same for 3 hours coming back.

I could go on and on about the cultural dances, Karaoke singing and dancing from the wonderful of Mahasarakham University in eastern Thailand. A woman named Mintra (Min) was simply wonderful to watch dance and sing as was Jiraporn (Fon). My friend, Dr. Sangkom (Sam) Pumipuntu, brought them on their 13-14 hour bus ride through Laos. I was so glad he did. I could talk about the delicious food; especially for me a seafood vegetarian or pesco-tarian.

So many new friends (Vorasuang (Michael), Tong, Ava, Jin, Kitt, Kate, Ann, Sue, Denpong, Onjaree, Jin, Zac, Oat, Tip, Kick, Thapanee, Jiraporn (Fon), Mintra, Memee, Bang Anh Tuan, Cam Tu, Choke, etc.) and old friends and former students (Rawiwan, Oum, Suthiporn, Apple, Tak and her sister, Toh, Apapan (Tao), Prasak, etc. Everyone was so kind and gracious with their time. I did not have buy a single meal in either country. So fortunately. I think I will spend more money at AERA this week for 3-4 days in Philadelphia than I did in this 18-19 day trip to Thailand and Vietnam. I was fortunately to have people like Sam and Jin pick me up at the airport or take me back.

This trip took much planning. In fact, I think there were six months of planning. In the end, it worked out great. But each connection or stop involved delivering one or more talks and many socials. My good friend Thanomporn (Toh) Laohajaratsang (and her assistants) took great care of me at the near end of the trip. Thanks Toh for the elephant ride, boat ride, zipline adventure, and so on. I could write for weeks on this trip but will end there for now as I have some catching up to do.



Here is a recap of the trip:

1 motorcycle rides around an island off Pattaya, Thailand (2+ hours south of Bangkok)
1 elephant rides
1 elephant lifted me up
1 elephant hug (with his trunk)
1 jet ski excursions
1 Thai massages received (that I am admitting to)
1 Dunkin Donuts spotted
1 beach I swan in Pattaya, Thailand (so lovely and warm!)

2 countries visited (Thailand and Vietnam)
2 conference keynotes given (5 total)
3 beaches walked or run on...
3 overnight stops in Bangkok
4 suit coats bought in Vietnam (2 pink, 1 purple, and 1 blue cashmere)

4 times I flew business class in Thailand and Vietnam and loved the service
5 boat rides
6 hotels stayed at
6 times I flew out of the Suvarnabhumi International airport in Bangkok
7 speaking venues
7 cities visited (and many more that I went through)
8 days spent in Bangkok
9 ziplines traversed; longest at 250 meters (and 3 abseiling experiences...1 of which was 40 meters)
10 ice cream cones and deserts eaten (guessing on this one)
11 (at least) pick-ups for airport or next hotel
12 flights taken
17 talks (in under 2 new record)
19 days gone (also a record)
dozens of new friends in Facebook

353+ docile (lazy) dogs seen on the streets (they all look the same) and 1 crazy dog who chased me when I wanted to take his picture
1,000’s of pictures taken
1,000 of motorcycles and bicycles passed by on the streets

As you can see, this was a highly active trip. Hope to connect with you in your country some day. Time for a needed break!

Some of you may wonder why I titled this blog post "From Pink Elephants to Pink Suit Coats." Well, I started the trip with people from Suan Dusit University and Chulalonghkorn (i.e., Chula) University.  Chula is known as the "Pink University" since pink is the school colors. I hung out with Chula people on Sunday the 9th of March at an Ancient city recreation called Samutprakarn. According to Wikipedia, "Ancient Siam is a park constructed under the patronage of Lek Viriyaphant and spreading over 200 acres in the shape of Thailand" (Wikipedia). There is even a website full of images from there. We had much fun exploring and taking pictures.

The following day, I gave 5 talks on the Chula campus on March 10th. The main talk was in the morning. I think about 300 people came. A smaller group of about 40 stayed for the afternoon sessions. Color PDFs of all 5 talks are posted as are slides in Dropbox (link to retrieve).

A whole array of pink pics are below. These pictures are with people like Oat, Kick, Tip, Tao, Jin, Ava, Memee, Toun, Prasak, Onjaree, and many others. And yes, I did buy 2 pink suit coats when in Vietnam a few days later (one light pink with pants and one bolder color of pink). They arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. I will wear one of them for Easter next Sunday. I did not, however, ride any pink elephants but I did get a ride on a real elephant when in Chiang Mai near the end of the trip.

And so I end this blog post with pictures from the beginning. I have thousands more I think.

Is that enough pink for now? The final picture is from the campus of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (as are the previous four). It is what many consider to be the best university in Thailand.

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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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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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