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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Indiana University (IU) continues to be an eText leader! (free book anyone?)
Thursday, April 26, 2018
My Indiana University (IU) colleagues, Dr. Brad Wheeler and Dr. Stacy Morrone, held a timely and brilliant Webinar on Tuesday afternoon April 24 with Pearson and the Chronicle of HE on the eTextbook initiative at IU. (If interested, Click here to sign in and access the recording).

During the event, they announced and launched a free open access book from Creative Commons on the topic from IU: “eTexts 101: A Practical Guide.” Want a copy? Just go here to Download or read online. If interested, below is the Table of Contents (TOC). Have a look.

Brad Wheeler just noted to me that with the launching of this book, IU has "opened the door and put the model [that IU is using] in place as another option" for IU faculty to have "another option for their course materials, and they are choosing it with greater frequency." Perhaps other institutions will follow it as well or tweak it for their own purposes. As a new and emerging area, there is much need for such models in the eTextbook field. People need to understand what is required to undertake such an initiative, what is possible with book publishers, how to negotiate contracts, the potential benefits, the road ahead (i.e., the timeline or multiple timelines), and so on.

Here at IU, it is a proven success story. As shown below, there are 9 times as many eText adoptions in terms of course sections and 7-8 times as many student users of eTexts at IU now then there was just 5 short years ago. Faculty members are also jumping on board with 6-7 times as many unique faculty in 2017 compared to 2012. Wow...that is some growth.

The savings are literally amazing! See below for a depiction of the cost savings for IU students from 2012-2017. about a quick snapshot on eTexts at IU for 2017-2018. Brad Wheeler just sent me the image below to share. It is very telling. As he notes, IU faculty have driven this overwhelmingly positive response. IU faculty have been quite progressive when it comes to adapting technology for their instruction for a long time. When I got here in August of 1992, there were many interesting learning technology-related initiatives taking place.

 Write me an email if you want a PDF of their talk slides or the book (or see the link above).

As shown by the data above, IU continues to lead the academic technology world. Last week Wednesday April 18th may have been IU Day. But when it comes to eTexts, every day is IU day! Go IU!


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The Monster Syllabus Reemerges: R678 Emerging Learning Technologies (the 20th Edition...first offered in 1990)
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Capturing and then Taming the Monster...
The famed monster syllabus for my emerging learning technologies class came out two weeks ago and I updated it earlier this week. This is the 20th time that I am teaching this course since it was designed and taught at West Virginia University. My esteemed colleague Dr. Mike Reed and I had a very short syllabus back in 1990 when we first designed this course and called it "New Technologies in Education from a Cognitive Perspective." I miss my wonderful friend and mentor Mike; hard to believe that he passed away back in 2009. Since MIke and I originally taught it, the course has had many other names including "Interactive Tools for Learning and Collaboration" and "The Web 2.0 and Participatory E-Learning." Links to all 20 syllabi from all previous versions of this course from 1990 to 2018 can be found in the current syllabus.(Sidenote: 6-7 years ago, I blogged on the evolution of this class.)

The monster takes weeks to prepare. Can you imagine what it is like updating such a 78 page beast. I try to create a balance between main articles and news articles or tidbits as I call them. I want to inspire my students through those more practical tidbits. I want the content to come alive for them.

This semester, I am blending the course with 14 online students and 16 face-to-face or 30 total which is too many for a 600 level course. I also have 2 Fulbright scholars from Afghanistan sitting in and about a dozen visiting scholars from China (mostly English professors) sitting in as well. A few people from the USA are also in and out. So the room is packed once again. And it is tricky connecting everything in the room since I am combining two videoconferencing systems (i.e., Zoom and the old Cisco Crestron system already in the room)...long story. Not easy.

Use the monster syllabus as you like. Steal as many resources and ideas as you need or want. I hope that many people can use part or all of it. It can be a resources to find recent research on OER, MOOCs, AR, VR, AI, open textbooks, blended learning, flipped classrooms, mobile learning, etc. For a brief moment in time, it may be one of the most up-to-date and comprehensive documents on emerging learning technologies available on this planet. But that moment in time goes by pretty fast unfortunately. And so, I will have to revise and contract and expand this monster again next winter. Total ug!


There is new content on most (if not all) of the topics listed below including special journal issues on open textbooks, social networking, MOOCs, open education, etc. Here are some of the topics. Explore. Enjoy.

Navigation Links:
Skip to Week 1. (January 8) Introduction to the Open World: Visionaries and Visions
Skip to Week 2. (January 15) Alternate Reality Learning: AR, VR, Gaming, and Simulations
Skip to Week 3. (January 22) Open Textbooks, E-Books, and Digitally Enhanced Books
Skip to Week 4. (January 29) The Expansion of Blended and Fully Online Learning
Skip to Week 5. (February 5) Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning
Skip to Week 6. (February 12) Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)
Skip to Week 7. (February 19) Open Education and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Skip to Week 8 (February 26) More MOOCs and Open Education Around the World
Skip to Week 9. (March 5) Motivation in Informal and Self-Directed Online Learning Environments (including online language learning)
Skip to Week 10. (March 19) Connectivism, Social Media, and Participatory Learning
Skip to Week 11. (March 26) Interactive, Global, and Collaborative Learning (including wikis and learning spaces)
Skip to Week 12. (April 2) Shared Online Video and Audio
Skip to Week 13. (April 9) Flipping the Classroom
Skip to Week 14. (April 16) Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning
Skip to Week 15. (April 23) The Future: Networks of Personalized Learning and AI Agents

Here is a direct link to the online "monster" syllabus:

Till next year...
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Just a lot of Bonk? Yes, is my new homepage.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Vanity? Security? Simplicity? Change? Timing? Or just because I can? Perhaps it is just time for a change. But after more than two decades with the same homepage, I thought we should try it and see if it worked. And so, (and now exist: Due to security changes at IU (blame the North Koreans and the Russians), I finally asked my assistant Seth to port it all my stuff to “” and “” There are new security rules and systems in place at IU called Duo. The Duo system requires a two-step login and hence limited who could update my homepage. In effect, it forced me to create a new homepage

I bought these URLs two or so years ago for my homepage Now you can tell people to find my stuff there. You can find all my open access papers in PublicationShare, PowerPoints of all my talks in TrainingShare, my free videos in YouTube on how to teach online, my free book, Adding Some TEC-VARIETY, all my other book projects, my course syllabi, and so much more. As part of these changes, my 8 pack learning theory video lectures are now in my SuperTravelinEdMan YouTube channel (long and boring and 9 years old).

My old homepage at IU will still work and point to (at least until the day I leave). Please check out my new homepage and let me know what you think. It is not flashy. In fact, it will look exactly the same. But now the URL will be easier to remember. It does the job for now. 

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Making friends in MOOCs: It is No Fluke!
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Friends in MOOCs
My SOLE (Self-directed Online Learning Environments) research team (Meina Zhu, Minkyoung Kim, Shuya Xu, Najia Sabir, and Annisa Sari) and I just submitted a paper for review last week related to instructor personalization of MOOCs. In terms of the data for the study, we sent a survey to over 1,000 MOOC instructors last summer and received about 152 responses. Here is the title of that paper (unfortunately, I cannot share the paper at this point since it is in me if you want a copy.):

Bonk, C. J., Zhu, M., Kim, M., Xu, S., Sabir, N., & Sari, A. (in review). Pushing toward a more personalized MOOC: Exploring instructor selected activities, resources, and technologies for MOOC design and implementation.

One question that we asked was the following:

1.      How many of the participants from your most recent MOOC would you now consider a personal friend?
a.       None
b.      1-5
c.       6-10
d.      11-20
e.       More than 20

I was interested in this question since I taught a MOOC for Blackboard (catalog) related to how to teach online exactly 5 years ago ( has been 5 years already? Yes!). It was called "Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success." We used CourseSites from Blackboard. You still can enroll 5 years later.

In that course, I made many new friends, including people from Scotland, Belgium, Ukraine, Italy, Australia, South Africa, the United States, the UAE, Sweden, Macedonia, and other parts of the world. Friends in the USA included those from Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Kentucky, and so on. One of my MOOC participants, Paul Beaudoin, is an American composer, theorist, and author who was at Fitchburg State University at the time.

Paul performed extremely well in the course and got to know and support many of his global peers. In fact, despite nearly 4,000 people enrolled, he and I became good friends. Paul was among my favorite students in the course. During the course, Paul sent me an email asking me to look "under the hood" at one of his own courses and give him some feedback. And so I quickly explored it and found his activities to be highly impressive. Not surprisingly, Paul later recognized by Blackboard with an award for his unique and engaging online course ideas and activities.

Suffice to say, we became good friends. I have recommended him for a couple of awards and recognitions since then including a Fulbright experience a year later in Estonia which he was awarded. His proposal was titled:
The Changing Face of Music and Education: Technology, Creativity, and Inspiration,”

At the end of the MOOC, Paul said to me (which I have permission to share...see my testimonials):
           “Many thanks for the work you have been sharing with us these last 4 weeks. While I was hesitant at first, I have come to love this MOOC and look forward to it. Even better, is that I am implementing some of the ideas I've learned these past few weeks in my Summer Survey of Music class. I am now working on implementing other TEC-VARIETY ideas to bring into the fold.

I have much better expectations for the outcomes of this class and with the new techniques/strategies I have learned in the Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Learning MOOC. I am inspired and open to bringing my students a more engaging learning experience. Participating in the Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success has made it clear to me that my focus in life is one who is passionate about teaching.”

Given the admittedly shaky start to my MOOC as the suite of tools Blackboard used were not designed for a MOOC, I was grateful for with all the positive comments when the MOOC was over. In fact, I was a tad overwhelmed. I now had dozens more people to connect to and share my research  reports with. At the time, i promised the participants that my next book would be free and so it is. My "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online" is now free. It has had more than 100,000 downloads since it came out in 2014.

Giving away one's writing is one way to generate new friendships. Giving course design feedback is another. So is offering a free massive course. In terms of MOOCs, I think that the number of friendships made relate to the type or form of MOOC that you design. Is it an xMOOC (more traditional instructor led) or a cMOOC (more community and participant driven) or pMOOC (more project or product based) or some other type? One's goals and teaching approach or philosophy will certainly impact the number of new friendships made. As per the title of this blog post, "Making friends in MOOCs: It is No Fluke!"

Here is what we found in our survey research:
While the type of MOOC taught was deemed important, we were also curious whether these instructors felt like they made new friends as a result of teaching their MOOC(s) as it might be an indirect sign of MOOC personalization and enhanced interaction with the participants. However, when asked how many of the participants from their most recent MOOC that they would now consider a friend, 115 (76.7%) of the 150 MOOC instructors who responded to this question indicated none. Nearly one in five respondents (n=29; 19.3%) made between one and five new friends. Only 6 respondents (2.4%) made more than six friends from teaching their MOOC. In effect, despite the huge enrollments, delivering a MOOC typically led to few new personal friendships; a sign that they were more often taught as xMOOCs or self-paced MOOCs and not more participant or community driven types of cMOOCs.

See figure above (we are using a line graph in our journal article). Over three-quarters of MOOC instructors make no friends at all when teaching the massive courses with tens of thousands of people. How can this be? Perhaps I have a more loose definition of friendship than most MOOC instructor. But clearly, most MOOC instructors are not involved in teaching such a massive class to make new friends. They are likely more focused on delivering content. We need to do some follow-up interviews to find out more. But it is an open area of research. Perhaps others will want to focus on the possible links between friendships made and retention, learning, satisfaction, or enrollment in additional MOOCs.

I am curious what others think. I am also interested if anyone knows of any additional research on this topic. Perhaps one of my MOOC friends knows.

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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.

See my complete profile

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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