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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Hi all or anyone who reads this. Sorry for not posting for a while. Four reasons for this:

#1. I have been doing talks at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and also the University of Houston. Both were university-based regional conferences. I made some great new friends at both places and also saw old friends. A good combination! In St. Louis, I took 3 visiting scholars with me--2 from Korea and 1 from China. It was an immensely fun car ride. I learned a lot about life in China and Korea and life as a visiting scholar in the USA. Both conferences were fun for me to do. Successful I think. Seems many people interested in the same topics such as podcasting, wikis, blogs, tablet computers, faculty training and support, digital storytelling. It was great to hear Dr. David Jonassen talk about mindtools when in St. Louis and to have lunch with David. He is perhaps the leading figure in our field right now. David will be in Singapore when I am in Thailand in 2-3 weeks (see below). In Houston, Dr. Bernard Robin showed his fantastic "Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling" site: Cool stuff. Check it out. Use it!

Both places made me feel at home. Seeing the Arch in St. Louis was great. In Houston, Dr. Mimi Lee and her 2 sons and also Dr. Grace Lin, showed me the Galleria and also a Buddhist temple among other landmarks. That was fun. We also discussed the expansion of our Wikibook research. I think we are exploring this topic at an opportune moment. We will see.

I can see that these regional conferences are becoming the norm. I have pending invites at Purdue, the University of Missouri at Rolla, Northern Illinois Unversity, and 4-5 places in Canada (mostly in Ontario though one came in from Montreal this morning). I do prefer staying in 1-2 day distance for speaking. This is nice!

#2. I have been writing a book with Dr. Ke Zhang from the Wayne State University. The title is
A Web of Learning (Part I): 100+ Online Learner Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing. We sent it to the publisher today--a few hours ago I finished this 122,000 word monster. Yikes! We describe the "Web of Learning" in the book and what it offers to auditory, reflective, visual, and hands-on learners. While we do not believe in learning styles, this book outlines our R2D2 method of online learning preferences to address the diverse learners of this world. R2D2 stands for Read, Reflect, Display, and Do. We outline more than 100 strategies (25 in each quadrant) to make it so. We also cover our newest method in the book we call the MATRIX.

Like R2D2, the new acronym, the “MATRIX” should be familiar for those who frequent science fiction movies. It stands for:

  1. Mobile
  2. Auditory/verbal,
  3. Thought-stimulating,
  4. Reflective/Real World,
  5. vIsually Interactive
  6. eXtremely hands-on

    Here are 2 paragraphs from the Preface:

    The R2D2 Model
    "This book introduces an easy-to-apply, practical model--the R2D2 (read, reflect, display, and do) Model--that should help online instructors integrate various learning activities with appropriate technologies for effective online learning for their diverse online learners (Bonk & Zhang, 2006). The R2D2 method is a new model for designing and delivering distance education, and, in particular, online learning. Such a model is especially important to address the diverse preferences of online learners of varied generations and Internet familiarity. The first component primarily relates to methods to help learners acquire knowledge through online readings, explorations, and podcasting. As such, it addresses verbal and auditory learners. The second component of the model focuses on reflective activities such as online blogs, reflective writing, and self-check activities and examination. In the third quadrant, visual representations of the content are highlighted with activities such as virtual tours, timelines, animations, and concept maps. Fourth, the model emphasizes what learners can do with the content in hands-on activities including simulations, scenarios, and real-time cases. When thoughtfully designed and effectively delivered, content and activities created from the R2D2 perspective (as well as from other perspectives we will outline; see Chapter Fourteen) are more engaging and enriching for learners.
    The R2D2 model is not the only way to address learners; it is simply one way. We also include extensive information on other methods or perspectives throughout this book. Still, the R2D2 model will provide a starting point for online instructors to understand the diverse nature of online learners and become better able to address their diversity. It will also afford readers a means to apply the widely available and often free technology tools and resources into many types of learning activities that can address learner diversity and needs. While the journals and research literature devoted to online teaching and learning continues to mount, there is a severe lack of practical models like the R2D2 model to help instructors with easy to apply learning activities that result in effective and enjoyable online learning."

    The publisher is Jossey Bass. I am not sure when it will come out. This is Part 1. Part 2 will be on online motivation and retention which I plan to write in the spring. Let's see if, when you read the book, you become convinced that we educator should rename "the Web," "the Web of Learning." Also I would love your reactions related to R2D2 and the MATRIX.

    #3. I have been organizing my schedule so I can go to Taiwan Dec 6-13 and Thailand Dec 13-20. Back home on the 21st. Will see old friends in both places. My first graduate student, Dr. Kevin Koury, now an endowed professor at the University of Pennsylvania at California, will meet me in Thailand. Kevin is a very fun and frank individual. It will great to see him. Former students in Taiwan who I will see include Feng-Kwei Wang, John Li, Chin-Chi Chao, Mei-Ya Liang, Effie Chen, Ching-Fen Chang, Jalin Huang, Jessie Chen, and Jia-ling Lee. That is a lot of people! It will be great to see them all as well. Some touring planned despite 7-8 talks there. The big talk will be to corporate trainers on blended learning since it is an all day one. Lucifer Chu of OOPS fame, and the person who translated Lord of the Rings to Chinese and became a millionaire for that effort, will show me around as well. OOPS is the OpenSource OpenCourseWare Prototype System which is translating MIT courses to traditional and simplified Chinese.

    #4. I have to attend 3 doctoral dissertations in the next 24 hours. Yikes! Some old timers getting done so that is great. Including Guoping Ma who works at Microsoft and showed my son and I around Redmond a year ago when he looked at the University of Washington for college. He did not go there but it was fun to see. You can read my blog from last November for more info on that trip.

    All for now. Back with an update after Taiwan and Thailand.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 9:50 AM  
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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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