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Video Intro for Upcoming MOOC and IU Press on the Event
Sunday, April 29, 2012
With 2,800 people already signed up for the Blackboard MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that starts this Wednesday at 4 pm EST, I was asked to do a video intro (see below). It is a little over 12 minutes long. It was the longest of the 5 or 6 takes we made last week Thursday afternoon. I try to explain the upcoming events in the MOOC. We will meet every Wednesday in May at the same time.
Video Intro to Blackboard/CourseSites MOOC. Dr. Curt Bonk: Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success, 12:25, April 27, 2012.

I had a ton of support from people in the Instructional Consulting (IC) office within the School of Education at IU. Thanks Peter. Thanks Karen. Thank Eulho. Thanks Miguel. Thanks everyone.

The registration for the MOOC will remain open during the course.

As I said, IU has been highly supportive. Last week, there is a university press release (IU School of Education professor Bonk to deliver free online course on online teaching) as well as an article in the student newspaper (the Indiana Daily Student or IDS; i.e.,
"IU Professor to offer online teaching course"). And my instructional systems technology (IST) department had a short online news story as well (i.e., Open Web Course Launching in May, April 26, 2012).

This is the largest class I have ever done. There might be more people enrolled in this one class than all my combined classes during my 23 years of teaching in higher education since my doctorate. It will be a fun experiment. My blog post from April 19th has most of the relevant information in it.

I look forward to meeting some of you in a couple of days. And, of course, I definitely cannot wait to see a few old friends and former students around the planet. The focus of this MOOC will be pedagogy or instructional strategies for teaching online, though it will also include much information on emerging learning technologies. Time for bed.

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Here's My Spin on "Chronicle Spring"
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Chronicle Spring: Anyone out there flipping through the online or "wired" version of the Chronicle of Higher Education lately? It is filled with advice columns each week (and sometimes daily). The weekly paper version is too. Articles can be found on completing dissertations, writing and modifying resumes, applying for jobs, job interviewing techniques, midcareer mentoring, when and how to give notice that one is leaving for another place, departing or retiring from academic life, and so on. There is so much advice out there, my head is spinning.

The past 6 or 7 weeks have given us all ample stuff to read about life as an academic in between grading papers, serving on committees, and conducting research. Given that we had "Arab Spring" last year (see this interactive timeline of Arab spring from the Guardian), I think we should name the spring of 2012, "Chronicle Spring." There sure is a plethora of career advice and mentoring articles coming from the online Chronicle of Higher Education the past month or two to support that notion. Listed below are a few such articles; most of these are from the past couple of weeks, but all are less than two months old.

Ten Sample "Chronicle Spring" Articles:
1. My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Dissertation, April 8, 2012, Rachel Herrmann, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: The essence of the above article--get done! Few people write dissertations that change the world. As I said, get done! I tell my students the same thing. Sure, 1 or 2 doc students in 10 (at most...more like 1 in 20 or 1 in 100) will come up with a fantastic new model, theory, instrument, research method, etc. But the vast majority will not. Most of them, however, will provide useful insights into some topic area and nudge their chosen field ahead a bit, but their work will not be of the earth-shattering variety that is reported in Time, Nature, or Washington Post.)

2. Midcareer Mentoring, Part 1, March 19, 2012, Female Science Professor, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

3. Midcareer Mentoring, Part 2, April 16, 2012, Female Science Professor, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: During the past week or two, I have shared the above two articles on "midcareer mentoring" with many friends and colleagues who recently obtained tenure and many of them quickly returned notes of thanks. Apparently, this article about strikes a chord with people as they think about whether it is time to leave their current institution or organization or perhaps to stay and perhaps retool with a sabbatical.)

4. Why I Tossed Your Résumé, April 17, 2012, Brent Miller, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: This article has some quick comments on why your resume may be tossed from the pile of applications into the nearest bin as well as an insight or two or how to get one's resume/CV noticed and perhaps get the job. It is personally funny and touching in parts since I have experienced many of the things mentioned when on search committees in the past.)

5. Graduate Schools Need to Improve Career Counseling, Report Says, April 19, 2012, By Stacey Patton, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: According to this article, "the number of jobs requiring a master's degree will increase by 22 percent over the next eight years, and the number of jobs requiring a doctorate or professional degree will increase by 20 percent." However, there is limited career counseling for graduate students about their respective job options. This lack of help on career pathways and options could be a reason that these advice and mentoring articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education are so popular today.)

6. The End of the Affair (about the pain of turning down a job offer), April 18, 2012, George David Clark, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: This is a short article that has also struck a chord with friends of mine who had difficulty accepting one offer over another.)

7. You Will Not Reject Me. I Will Reject Me, April 17, 2012, Allison M. Vaillancourt, The Chronicle of Highe Education.

(Note: The essence of this one is that many brilliant people lack the personal confidence to apply for jobs for which they are interested and are highly qualified. Very sad I think. As such, it is an important article to quickly skim through and reflect upon. Is that you?)

8. A Few Thoughts on a Graceful Exit, April 20, 2012, Gene C. Fant Jr., The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: Clearly, you should be fair to those around you when you have a job offer that you are likely taking or indeed have taken. If you have hired the movers and scheduled a pick-up time for your furniture and put your house on the market, you better tell someone you are leaving and need to be replaced on the fall or spring teaching schedule.)

9. Work-Life Balance Is Out of Reach for Many Male and Female Scientists, March 8, 2012, By Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Note: this article uses a recent survey data report to foster a discussion of better ways to foster a work-life balance; especially in STEM fields. According to this survey of over 4,200 scientists and researchers around the planet, 48 percent of women were not pleased with the way work and personal life mesh, whereas that drops to 39 percent for men. Both figures are way too high.)

10. In the midst of all of these advice articles, of course, there are discussions about salaries. And there are charts and tables to lend support to such discussions. For instance:

Professors Seek to Reframe Salary Debate, April 8, 2012, by Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Along with that article is an interactive Table of salaries and detailed data on the different colleges profiled.

(Note: Definitely worth playing with the interactive data chart. It is eye opening to see where my university ranks when compared to other places around the USA.)

Ten Causes of Chronicle Spring:
Had enough of all these articles? Me too. I have enjoyed each one but my brain is going a tad mushy with all the advice, recommendations, and data points. I think there are many reasons for the increase in all the advice and guidance columns and increasing need for career mentoring. Here are ten such reasons (as you can see, I do like the number 10).

1. Spring, Spring, Spring: It is springtime and people are getting interviews for new positions and pondering whether to leave their current institution or organization or not. In addition, spring is a time for renewal and reflection. Summer is around the corner, and if you do not teach at that time, it can be a time for much writing productivity and advancement of one's research. These advisory types of articles can help one plan for summer.

2. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The job market is clearly picking up. Seems nearly all my current and former students on the job market are getting interviews and some of them have multiple job offers. That was not the case a year or two ago. Part of the reason is retirements. Of course, all is not rosy for those getting positions today since, at many institutions, the faculty replacement policy is 1 person being hired for every 2 or 3 retirements. As such, mentoring and advice is needed on whether to take such a position.

In my current discipline, instructional and educational technology, things are really heating up. The Chronicle of Higher Education, in fact, has been documenting some of the current explosion in venture capital for learning technology companies (see list of start-ups at the bottom of this article on Piazza; there are others as well; 3 Start-Up Announcements From the Education Innovation Summit and Online-Education Start-Up Teams With Top-Ranked Universities to Offer Free Courses). As you pan through such articles, it is clear that there are many job opportunities out there for those who want to work outside of academia.

In addition, nearly all college and university campuses and government agencies now need instructional design and distance or e-learning learning support for their online and blended courses. Those seeking a job in instructional technology, educational technology, or e-learning on a college campus or in a government, corporate, or military setting (or even in a school district), might see the jobs portal from my department (Instructional Systems Technology (IST)) at Indiana University or my personal portal of over 30 job Website portals. And there's always the jobs database from the Chronicle of Higher Education to peruse through.

3. Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes: Because we are coming out of a recession, no one wants to make a mistake and pick the wrong place to move to or make a bad decision of any kind. At the same time, most people do not want to wait too long to make a move. It is a nerve-wracking situation for many. They need advice and mentoring.

4. Information, Information, Information: So many articles to read and learn from in order to stay abreast of what is happening today. So much to consider in terms of one's career. How can anyone keep track of it all? I know lately I have seen a surge of people seeking advice about their careers, whether they be graduate students, assistant professors, or associate professors. Some want advice on writing their resumes or CVs. Others want to know about interview questions that they might be asked (see my blog post on that). And others want to know whether they should focus their careers in a couple specific areas; and if so, how. That is just a small sample of the questions I am getting the past few weeks.

5. Flow, Flow, Flow: Some people are seeking happiness and flow. They want to have a richer, better, and more meaningful life. And they seek out advice columns and personal mentoring for such. It is hard to balance a career and family life; especially, after surviving a system with so many hoops and hurdles like getting a master's degree or a(n) Ed.D. or Ph.D. We are conditioned to be working all the time and to be competing with others around us (either implicitly or explicitly). Stop! Stop! Stop! I recommend people enjoy the journey and help as many people around them as they can. There is something to be said for going with the flow. There is something to be said for having a high quality of life. Just focus on your own flow state and ignore the stuff happening around you (or don't focus on flow...just exist within it). Do that, and all will be well.

6. Models, Mentors, Maintaining Meaningful Relationships: Many graduate students and faculty members lack a personal mentor, coach, or guide around them who cares about their personal growth and is willing to devote significant amounts of time to help them reach their full potential. Such meaningful relationships take time to build, nurture, and maintain. Open access articles found online can be a short-term solution. But, we certainly need both.

7. Who Knew? Too New!: Many of the people I talk to are new to all of this stuff. Some have never interviewed for an academic position before. Others are in their first academic post and it is going so-so or perhaps it is highly frustrating. Still others are doing great and love their job and institution but want to excel at an even higher level or nonetheless want to explore options. All want to read these articles found in Chronicle Spring.

8. Options, Options, Options: Part of the reason for the spike in these mentoring and advice as well as the rising number of career related inquiries that people like myself are getting lately is that there more options for someone graduating today that there were 23 years ago when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. One area where those options are particularly obvious is in teaching. Today, one can teach online fulltime or part-time. One can teach blended. And you can alternate between online, blended, and face-to-face teaching. Such online teaching opportunities will only increase in the coming decades.

9. The Digital Scholar: As part of the movement to online environments for teaching and learning, the Web also offers many news ways to be a scholar or should I say, to be a digital scholar. You can also build a career with your podcasted interviews, wiki-generated books, blog postings, open access research articles and conference papers, Twitter posts, and Webcasted lectures. As I mentioned in my blog post a few days ago (A Close Up Look at an Upcoming May MOOC), during the month of May, I will be doing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for CourseSites people who are part of Blackboard. In just a little over a week, over 1,000 people have expressed interest in this course. Keep in mind that the official sign up is not until tomorrow. A MOOC was never part of my teaching or career plans when I graduated from Wisconsin back in 1989. Those teaching in a MOOC or open teaching type of situation are clearly going to require extensive advice and a bit of handholding. And so will their department chairs and deans.

10. Preparation and Confidence: If you know your colleagues and others in your field are reading these advice columns, then there is a feeling that you must as well. Reading as much as you can and discussing with others your perspectives and insights from these articles will help one feel better mentally about the current situation or possible places to apply or target. The more you are prepared, the better you will be. Four years ago, I blog posted about the types of questions one might be asked at an face-to-face, phone, or Skype interview as well as the types of questions that the interviewee might ask (it had 30 of each; Bonk's 30-30 Rule: Questions for Higher Education Faculty Job Interviews). I also wrote a series of blog posts with writing tips (a particularly popular one was on Writing Tips for Starting an Academic Career).

Final Thoughts: There are assorted other reasons for this rise in the need for career mentoring, advice, and support. Nearly everyone seeks a high quality of life. Nearly everyone I know in academia seeks to perform at the highest level possible. Nearly everyone has questions about their next move as well as their long term personal and professional life plans. Getting advice from online articles (such as the 10 from Chronicle Spring posted above) or from a personal coach or mentor can help one find a potential path to success. What will be your path? What will you be reading during the final month or two of spring and on into the summer? And who will you be talking to about what you read or heard about?

Enjoy spring 2012--i.e., "Chronicle Spring." As part of it, I hope to see some of you at the May MOOC. I will try to show what is now possible in this open educational world. The world is now wide open for learning, teaching, mentoring, coaching, etc. Eventually, we might call this Massive Open Online Mentoring (MOOM). I hope to see that day.

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Barack Obama Visits Bloomington--Links to Open Learning World
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Sorry...I was fixing my blog this afternoon and this post from late April 2008 got reissued by mistake. It said draft and so I said publish. You can ignore it. Sorry about that. I almost deleted it. But I think it is still relevant four years later. Some of this was written but never used) for my World is Open book a couple of years ago.

The World is Open to Politicians
It is the last day of April 2008. I have just returned home from attending a speech from Senator Barack Obama at Assembly Hall at IU. His speech ended a mere 20 short minutes ago but feels so long ago now. Seems every politician and their immediate family is showing up in cornfields of Indiana these days. I heard Bill Clinton give one of his patented stellar speeches in the same room a few weeks earlier on behalf of his wife and her election bid. Hillary Clinton spoke in there just five days before her opponent and daughter, Chelsea Clinton, was here exactly one month before her mother on March 25th. They have all paraded before us one-by-one. Why? Well, the democratic nomination remains up for grabs and Indiana is one of the key remaining states yet to vote. Our turn is May 6th. And the two democratic candidates each firmly believe that they will be the one who wins in November and brings us some positive change.

Obama gave a thoughtful, humorous, and highly engaging speech for more than an hour tonight in our basketball stadium, which, in effect, is hallowed ground. An exhilarating level of energy was felt for two full hours before he arrived. And the room was packed with what I guess was more than 10,000 people. Much more than Bill Clinton drew. As I alluded to, Obama is running on a platform of change and the continual chanting of “Yes, we can.” When addressing the issue of why he is running at what some consider a young age of 46, he referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1964 book, “Why We Can’t Wait,” and said “we cannot wait and that is why I am running right now for president.” When it came to education, what he said was telling. Obama detailed many social, political, and economic problems facing us and a few gut wrenching stories of those he has visited in Indiana who lacked jobs or health insurance. He then argued that it is an excellent educational system on which our future depends. Education underlies any economic might.

I am a former accountant and corporate controller so I have had one foot firmly planted in the business world. However, what I have come to realize is that there is no chance for innovation and creativity, cooperative teamwork, insightful problem solving, and intense competition for the best products without high quality education. Obama had it right. He explicitly stated that the U.S. needed high standards to be able to compete with the kids growing up today in China, India, and other countries. When Thomas Friedman discusses the 10 flatteners of the world, these are mainly economic ones. We need to open the world of education before we can think about flattening the world economically including the normal corporate hierarchies.

Like Bill Clinton said 16 years before, Obama was fighting and struggling for a better life for young people. It gave him a purpose. But the learning avenues today are much different than they were in 1992 when Clinton first ran for the White House. While he did not mention the Web of Learning once during his talk, Obama did argue for the need for increased broadband access. With access kids today can quickly obtain information from online dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias. They can also find a wealth of resources in online portals with information wars, species of animals, chemistry experiments, diseases, and famous poets. You name it, there is likely free educational content on it. They might also listen to an expert discuss a topic of interest in a podcast or online audio file. Expert comments and ideas can also be found in a blog posting. At the same time, online video lectures or Webcasts might be available from other experts presenting additional information or different viewpoints. There might also be free online books or documents from these experts that were posted to the Web. And the accumulated knowledge from these learning quests might be posted to a class wiki project site.

Young children are not the only ones impacted by open educational resources and other online tools and resources. Take adults voting in this education. Their learning vehicles are much different from 1992 when we elected Bill Clinton to the White House for the first time. Back then people like me had to rely on newspaper and magazine articles as well as books to find out about the candidates. Powerful stuff indeed, but today there are so many more options. I can now write an email to someone from the Obama campaign with my questions or perhaps Obama himself and get a quick reply from his hotel room laptop or mobile device. I can watch online videos of Barack Obama giving similar speeches in other cities and perhaps see how his ideas shifted during the long months of this campaign. I might download articles he has authored or reviews of his two books. Or I might browse his early life and career, personal life, educational background, presidential campaign, and books in his Wikipedia page. When done, I can scan the Web for PDF documents of his work or podcasts that I might listen to from his supporters and detractors. I can even read blog posts related to his ideas. And if the Web is down that day, I can simply read his books.

I am just scratching the surface. My point is that the educational system of a decade or two ago was much different from what we have today. Today we can no longer look at school buildings or physical locations as places for improving learning. Today much of our learning is online and it is open and free. The world is much more open, not just a bit flatter. Will anyone recognize it? Will anyone do anything about it?
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A Close Up Look at an Upcoming May MOOC
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wow. Seems this week is filled with news of online education start-ups and the beginnings of universities that offer massive open online classes (MOOCs). Here are three such articles from the past two days alone.

1. Online-Education Start-Up Teams With Top-Ranked Universities to Offer Free Courses, by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 18, 2012.

2. Online Education Venture Lures Cash Infusion and Deals With 5 Top Universities, by John Markoff, NY Times, April 18, 2012.

3. MIT and others launch a tech education revolution: Four programs deliver traditional -- and nontraditional -- education options for techies, by Patrick Thibodeau, Computerworld, April 19, 2012.

With all the announcements lately about open education and free online courses, I thought I should do one too. Well, actually, I was asked to do one and I had to think it over for a few weeks before saying "yes." Such decisions are never easy; especially, given the two books projects I intend to complete this summer.

Well anyway, here is the news. CourseSites from Blackboard is having me teach a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in May to thousands of online instructors around the world. It will last 4-5 weeks in May.

This course will be free and open to anyone with Web access. Who doesn't want free professional development? Feel free to share with friends, colleagues, students, administrators, etc. Those who attend will get badges of completion. See below for details.

Blackboard Note related to the event: According to Blackboard, "As a free resource for individual educators, CourseSites has removed a common barrier of access to teaching and learning technology. First, all CourseSites instructors can now choose to make courses available for open enrollment. We believe this will opens up a new realm of Open Education possibilities and opportunities. Second, we are proud to launch our Open Course Series: Empowering Learning through Community with our first open course on “Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success” led by Dr. Curtis Bonk and the CourseSites team. We invite you to try this new feature and join us for our first open course."

Per Blackboard: Announcing a Free, Open Course With Dr. Curtis Bonk

Course Title: Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success

Link to the landing page: Interest Form

Blog Announcement: Empowering You Through Openness and Choice

CourseSites Blog

MOOC Host: CourseSites (from Blackboard) announces a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Audience: Thousands of Blackboard, CourseSites, and other online and blended learning instructors around the world. Again, feel free to share this information with anyone.

Course Description: Motivating students and creating community within blended and online learning environments is crucial to academic achievement and success. This open course will provide both theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to improve motivation, retention, and engagement within blended and online courses.

Enrollment: Open Enrollment begins Monday April 23, 2012. Please fill out the interest form to learn more.

Course Duration: April 30th to June 4th (A total of 5 weeks). In actuality, the five sessions will take place each Wednesday at 4 pm EST in May. See below.

Course Objectives:
• Identify and apply relevant motivational strategies and instructional techniques
• Construct thinking skill options for different types of learners and subjects
• Design and share innovative thinking skill activities as well as unique cooperative learning
• Map and apply instructional models and ideas to online learning tools

Scheduled Sessions: Wednesday May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 4 pm EST (see below)
1. Motivation and retention online (TEC-VARIETY model): Wednesday May 2nd; 4 PM EST (Hour #1 Bonk Presents; Hour #2 Q&A)

2. Addressing Diversity and Learning Styles (R2D2 model): Wednesday May 9th; 4 PM EST (Hour #1 Bonk Presents; Hour #2 Q&A)

3. 50 Hyper-Engaging Ideas: Critical, Creative, Cooperative : Wednesday May 16th; 4 PM EST (Hour #1 Bonk Presents; Hour #2 Q&A)

4. Question and Answer (Q&A) Session: Wednesday May 23th; 4 PM EST (Up to two hours of Q&A)

5. Blackboard/CourseSites Overview: Wednesday May 30th; 4 pm EST

Twitter Note: The Twitter hashtag will be: #bonkopen

About Dr. Curtis Bonk:
Curt Bonk is Professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University and President of CourseShare. Drawing on his background as a corporate controller, CPA, educational psychologist, and instructional technologist, Bonk offers unique insights into the intersection of business, education, psychology, and technology. A well-known authority on emerging technologies for learning, Bonk reflects on his speaking experiences around the world in his popular blog, TravelinEdMan. He has coauthored several widely used technology books, including The World is Open, Empowering Online Learning, The Handbook of Blended Learning, and Electronic Collaborators.

Final Thoughts: This experience will build on my previous efforts to make learning open and free to the extent possible. For instance, I have already created a set of 27 free videos on how to teach online. Second, I teach a course on the open learning world. In fact, my tentative fall 2012 syllabus is already posted (yes, I have my fall 2012 syllabus already drafted...and it is open to the world...all 55+ pages of it). Third, last summer, I helped Ray Schroeder from the University of Illinois at Springfield with his MOOC on Online Learning Today and Tomorrow. In fact, I interviewed my good friend Ray on the MOOC experience in an earlier blog post back in July. Those are but a few examples.

Finally, I should note that I will be speaking at the Blackboard World Conference in New Orleans on Wednesday July 11th. The MOOC in May (or May MOOC) will hopefully lead to a great event in July (where people signing up for the MOOC can meet face-to-face and chat about various topics). Hope to see you there in New Orleans or online in May at the MOOC or both. If you come to my session in New Orleans or online at the MOOC, please say hello.

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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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