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By George, he's Rich: From Connexions to Connectivism and Beyond
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Ok, Packers have won the Super Bowl...Cool. Now time to move on to other things...but it takes a few weeks to move on from that huge feat.

Tonight I am sharing...Life is a Breeze (meeting) sometimes...(3-4 years ago Yun Jeong Park and I had an article, "Is Online Life is a Breeze?" The past two nights it was. The World was open and more so!)

You see, I had 2 world famous guest speakers in my online R685 World Is Open (Web 2.0) class this week in Breeze/Adobe Connect Pro:

1. Richard Baraniuk from Connexions at Rice University in Houston (Connexions is like MERLOT only it is a repository; not just a referatory or set of Web links) talk about Open Education (among best talks on Open Education I have seen—he addressed the Creative Commons issue—he takes a very liberal viewpoint and you can watch and understand why.

Note that this was his invited talk at the Educause Learning Initiatives (ELI) conference in DC this week. Good conference--I did it last year in Austin. The ELI conference connects the learning and technology people more tightly than the main annual conference from Educause. Educause, in fact, has many different wonderful conferences. And they stream and save the key talks. In addition, Educause Quarterly and Educause Review are free and open access journals. They also have a great annual report predicting the future of technologies called the Horizon Report which is freely available online (e.g., see the 2011 Horizon Report). So Educause is a key player in this open education world.

Back to Richard Baraniuk...Rich has a popular TED talk from a few years ago. He always has brilliant content and an engaging manner of presenting it. And he just popped into my class and had a go. How cool is that? Rich and I were both master's students at UW Madison in 1987--he in computer science and electrical engineering and me in educational psychology (Rich left for Illinois for his Ph.D. while I stayed on for mine). And both of us freezing our butts off. Henry Jenkins was also in grad school at Madison that at the same time but in yet another department as were my close colleagues, Tom Reynolds, Okhwa Lee, Veronica Acosta, Kim Foreman, and Miheon Jo and many others. It would have been fun for Rich, Henry, myself, and others to meet at the same time then. Some refer to it as the Golden Age at UW-Madison. Perhaps not like what has been happening the past few days in Madison.

Here is his talk from last night (just click and play):
Richard Baraniuk, Rice U, Breeze Meeting on Open Education, Feb 16, 2011:

2. George Siemens of Athabasca U in Canada; George is a popular blogger. Famous for his theory called Connectivism which he discusses along with social networking and Learning Analytics. In fact, George has a new course on learning analytics. His Learning and Knowledge Analytics course is open access. See his syllabus. George is a firm believer in open teaching and open access to content. I am trying to do the same by sharing these two talks in my blog for my R685 World is Open/Web 2.0 course (a 51 page syllabus with every article as a hot link).

This was another fascinating talk from George. And with both audio and video. George has generated so much content in such a short period of time, it is difficult to tell you were to start reading all his stuff.

Like Rich, George has a TED talk. His was in New York on April 13, 2010.

Here is his talk tonight (again, just click and play):
George Siemens, Athabasca U, Breeze Meeting on Connectivism and Learning Analytics, Feb 17, 2011:

Both Rich and George (tempted to call them Sir Richard and King George given their status in the field) were excellent. Each point made was spot-on brilliant as per usual. And each talk was a new one. We got the first dry run or second one. That is what this open world allows. Each day, each moment in fact, there are thousands, if not millions, of such global interactions with students and experts around the planet. That is one of the key benefits of the Web (or Web of Learning)--we can connect to mentors, tutors, and experts at any time. Each of us can play a major role in creating, facilitating, or simply participating in such global connections and collaborations. Yes, YOU!

I mean, this is what we are alive for--to help the people of this planet see new perspectives. To stand in each other's shoes; even if just for a few fast-fleeting moments or a few minutes. Elevating social cognition and perspective taking is why many of us are in the fields of learning technologies, educational technology, instructional systemes technology, e-learning and distance learning, learning sciences, and educational psychology. That is why I am here.

It was great to hear about Connexions, Collaborations, Creative Commons, Connectivism, and Learning Analytics the past two nights. It is not often that you can invite and bring in two well known people to your class. the past two nights have been such nights. What fun. Thanks Rich and George.

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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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