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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sorry for not updating this blog lately. It is not due to inaction--I have been traveling a fair bit. TravelinEdman was in San Fran, LA, and San Diego the second week of March for spring break. And last week I was in New York for the annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. In between, I was a couple of papers for the AERA conference.

March 7th--my son, Alex and I fly to San Francisco on an early flight and we jumped in a taxi for downtown SF. Where were we going? To the WikiMedia Foundation (i.e., to see Wikipedia people)! I had written to Jimmy Wales, Founder of WikiMedia and Wikipedia, a few weeks earlier and told him of the research my team was doing. He said it looked very interesting and suggested I talk to their new director, Sue Gardner, and assistant director, Erik Moller. Erik is a friend so I quickly made some arrangements to be there. We also discussed the WikiMedia Foundation endorsing some of my research on Wikibookians and I am happy that they agreed! Data collection is ongoing at the moment.

Above is a picture from our visit. This was very special to us. Alex and I were among the first to see the new WikiMedia Foundation headquarters in the SOMA (South of Market) area of San Fran. After reading a press release (, I found out that they had recently moved from St. Petersburg, Florida to San Fran. My spring was coming up and I knew my son, Alex, would like to be in San Fran for part of it so I contacted Erik to see if an interview was possible. Unfortunately, he was headed out of town, but I got to chat with Sue Gardner as well as Mike Godwin, their General Council, about the company for my "World is Open" book. Was fascinating! Not the office space--it is like most other small technology companies. What was interesting was the history, growth, and philosophy of this company and just being there. Yes, being there--this is one of the roots of the open educational movement and I had my feet firmly planted there for an hour or two. Before we left, they gave us the book "Wikipedia: The Missing Manual." According the manual, wiki-related projects are complicated and there are many things one should know when coordinating one. The book is thick and barely fit in my luggage but I am glad it did.

March 24-28th: I wish I would have known about the difficulties of Wiki-work when designing a few wikibooks the past few years (and Wikibooks are much more difficult to coordinate than Wikipedia pages; especially when they involve students and instructors from many countries). You can read about our successes and failures as well as the twenty tensions my research team (from IU and the University of Houston) encountered in developing wikibooks (see top paper posted at We presented this paper at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) meeting/conference in New York city last week. This is a conference of thousands of papers and perhaps 15,000 people. What a zoo it is sometimes! But I have been going since 1987 in Washington, DC when I just 6 or 7 years old.

1. Bonk, C. J., Lee. M., Kim, N., & Lin, G. (2008, March). The tensions of transformation in cross-institutional wikibook creation, critique, and collaboration: Looking back twenty years to today. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. (see top paper posted at

It is a long paper that will likely need to be cut into two parts for later publication. In some ways, the above paper is a tribute to the work of John Seely Brown who I heard was at AERA for a panel related to technology and learning sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation (see I was presenting at the same time, so I missed it. If you were at AERA two decades ago or read Brown et al.'s work on situated cognition in 1988 or 1989, you will perhaps resonate with our AERA paper above on Wikibooks.

You can also find this quick paper I wrote on the use of YouTube videos in instruction. If you remember ideas related to anchored instruction and macrocontexts from John Bransford and his colleagues at Vanderbilt twenty years back, you might appreciate this paper on the use of YouTube to start and end classroom instruction.

2. Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. (see 2nd paper posted at

By the way, for a short time, you can also find this paper on blended learning in corporate training in five countries (Korea, China, Taiwan, USA, and the UK). Four of us on this team presented in 15 minutes. Perhaps a record! It was great to see my former students and colleagues on this one.

3. Kim, K.-J., Teng, Y.-T., Son, S., E.-J., Oh, & Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). Blended learning trends in workplace learning settings: A multi-national study. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. (see third paper posted at

I will need to delete paper #3 on blended learning soon since it is in review for publication in a journal. We have other papers from this project in review, in press, or published. Let me know if you want to read them. Some of my other papers and chapters on blended learning are at my Website at (see

New York was great but a whirlwind. And I got a cold! Still cannot talk well--sore throat.

Back to March 7th: By the way, back to the start of this story...when in San Francisco, I got to interview Trip Adler, the founder of (see This was also an exhilarating visit. Scribd is on the edge of Chinatown and was located a mere 3 blocks from my hotel room at the Sir Francis Drake. Since I had not received a reply to my email request for an interview, I popped in unannounced for this interview and was told it would be possible if I returned in 45 minutes.

So after a brief exploration of Chinatown, I got to interview Trip.

Trip developed many of the ideas for Scribd when a student at Harvard a couple of years earlier. He wanted a place to put many of the papers he had written that only his professors had previously read and graded. Cool! I like it! In effect, Scribd is like YouTube only for text or documents. They become a top 1,500 web site within their first week of launching a year back and have attacted much attention and venture capital. This is a place for all those old love letters, musical compositions, course papers, and poems you have never published or had read. If you want so share your thoughts and ideas, may be for you. It may be the ideal place for academics who are rejected by journal article reviewers time and again since they are not part of the click or in group. If you want to publish a series of your work, you can create your own account or group to share. And life today is about sharing! No longer just Flickr pictures, blog posts, or YouTube videos. Today we have Scribd! We can share well thought out thoughts as well as those less refined. Importantly, they have a unique viewing system called iPaper. What is iPaper?--well, it is a document format for the Web!

And what then is Scribd?
"Scribd is a free, web-based, document sharing community and self-publishing platform that enables anyone to easily publish, distribute, share, and discover documents of all kinds. E-books, presentations, essays, academic papers, newsletters, photo albums, school work, and sheet music are just a few of the different kinds of documents you can publish and share on Scribd. "

My friend, Jay Cross, has put much of his work up in Scribd--I think more than 20 documents or papers. He has created a group called the "Internet Time Group" (see Equally important, he has blogged on the importance of Scribd..not just once, but three times!

Enjoy Scribd!!! Also enjoy my AERA papers from last week on YouTube, Wikibooks, and Blended Learning. Feedback certainly is welcome.

By the way, during these trips the past two months, I have seen 6 dear friends from graduate school days at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1980s. Two are educational psychology friends, Dr. Cecil Smith, now Professor at Northern Illinois University and Dr. Jim Middleton, now Department Chair of Curriculum and Instruction at Instruction at Arizona State University. I stayed with Jimbo at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square when at AERA in NY. I also saw my educational technology colleagues in San Fran (I minored in this at Wisconsin), including Dr. Kim Forman from San Francisco State University and Dr. Miheon Lee (now working in Korea but on sabbatical in San Francisco.

Former students, Dr. Wen Hao Chuang and Dr. Brian Beatty also joined us for dinner at a great restaurant on the Pacific Ocean side of San Fran. Brian arranged. Took Alex and I about an hour to get a taxi to stop and take us there.

I later saw Dr. Veronica Acosta from Cal State Long Beach and Dr. Tom Reynolds from National University when traveling to southern California. Tom placed the largest teacher education program in the USA on the Web a few years ago and it nearly killed him. It was great to jog with him each day when at his house near La Jolla (in San Diego) and get his perspective on e-learning. Tom has a quick and calm 3 mile drive to work each day (much of it along the beach). Am I jealous? Yes! Running the beach each day when there felt wonderful!

Tom has a beautiful house where Alex and I chilled out each day after exploring a different beach. I also got to see Veronica's gorgeous house and view up the road near Newport Beach. I miss all these friends already! As Jim said, it was the golden age at Wisconsin back then--so many huge grants, great professors, and brilliant graduate student peers. They are all great and successful people!

And it was great to spend time with Alex in California!!!!!!!! Even his friend from high school, Jennifer (now at USC), popped in for a day.

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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 7:37 AM  
  • At 11:49 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    Sounds like a great trip. I'm surprised you went back to Indiana :)

    Though you are a little behind. I think that I heard about most of your trip on Jay Cross' blog :)


  • At 6:18 AM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Ya, well, Jay, only got in the 2-3 hour segment in Berkeley. There are 2 more weeks of stuff to tell. More than what can go in my blog. New York was endless meals and meetings. But fun, of course. Check out our updated list of Websites for online language learning tools and systems, Dan,

    By the way, we have a new basketball coarch here at IU named Tom Crean (from Marquette).

  • At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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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.

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