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Expanding the Reach of the "Monster": 74 pages of Emerging Learning Technologies
Friday, December 28, 2012
In my last TravelinEdMan post 3 months ago (yes, it has been 3 months), I discussed "The Evolution of a Monster" syllabus for my R685 Emerging Learning Technologies course. Those who remember that post, will realize that my course syllabus had grown from perhaps 10 or so pages back in 1990 when I taught at West Virginia University to over 64 pages here at Indiana University (IU) this past fall. Guess what? It has now expanded to 74 pages for the spring of 2013.

How did it get so much bigger? Well, there is much new information on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In fact, MOOCs accounted for many new pages. I also added new information on famous distance learning experts like Charles Wedemeyer from the University of Wisconsin (he helped found the Open U in the UK and did many other phenomenal things; see his Wikipedia page). Of course, new resources were incorporated like those on oral history tools and projects. Most course topics were updated with new articles, resources, and tidbits that I had discovered during the fall semester. I also inserted pictures to act as section breaks between weekly topics as well as to introduce the new topic themes. Hence, the 74 pages.

You might check it out. With all the new pictures and content, perhaps it is becoming a more beautiful monster. Keep in mind, however, that my assistant, Seth White, and I are still checking over and replacing some of the dead limbs (or links) listed in the monster, but it is basically done. I plan to create a second smaller version of the monster syllabus (i.e., the little monster) without the most of Web resources and tidbits. But that will not happen for a few days.

If you explore the spring syllabus, you will find several free online books as well as hundreds of open access articles. You will also stumble upon dozens of shared online videos, many free Web 2.0 tools, and hundreds of online portals to explore. On page one, you will discover a unique open access multimedia glossary that one of my students, Ozgur Ozdemir, created this past fall for the course. Splendid work from Ozgur--a plethora of videos, books, news, terms, etc., in his glossary. Glancing through the 74 course syllabus pages, you will also find examples of student products including podcast shows, video blogs, prezi presentations, databases, e-books, wikibook chapters, YouTube video summaries of the course, animations, etc.

I should point out that we will have synchronous sessions every week on Adobe Connect Pro, most likely on Monday nights at 7 or 8 pm EST (anyone is welcome any time...the World is Open, don't ya know?). Last semester, these weekly sessions were at 7 pm. We had perhaps 8-10 invited guests from around the world. In the past, my guests have come from the UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere. I am not sure how many we will have this time around or where in the world that they will come from. But, we will have at least a few.

What do you want to learn about? Digital book research or companies? Look in the monster syllabus, there are many to explore. How about open educational ressources or OpenCourseWare projects? That is in the monster too. Oral history projects? There. Online language learning resources? There too. Adventure learning, extreme learning, mobile learning, virtual learning, e-learning, blended learning...yes, it is all in there as well. Massive gaming? Indeed. It has taken a couple of decades to build this monster. Much has been included.

And there is more...there is always more. Collaborative technologies? Sure, this topic used to the crux for the entire course. Wikis, podcasts, blogs, etc.? Yes, why not! The course, which initially was embedded in cognitive and social constructivist theory when designed back in 1990, today addresses learning theory such as participatory learning, connectivism, constructivism, the psychological underpinnings of social networking, and the development of personalized learning environments. I am an educational psychologist by training, so why not?

I should also point out that this is likely the final time that the "monster" syllabus will exist. Why? No, we have not reached the limit of the monster lifespan. However, I will go on sabbatical in early May 2013. I do not return until the end of August in 2014. Much will happen in the field of emerging learning technologies during those intervening 16 months. Suffice to say, there is really no way that I can update the monster syllabus again in any sane way. I would go "Bonkers" trying. Hence, it will be slashed and burned, but not to a crisp. Instead, come September 2014, I hope to get it under 20 or 25 pages (the real goal is about 15 pages). I will eliminate all the tidbits and perhaps most of the resources as well. Perhaps a couple of the books that I will work on during my sabbatical will have some of those resources listed in them or, at least, I hope so. But most will be purged.

Well, there you have it. Another semester of the monster. A 74 page monster. I hope some of you can use it or refer to it. But please do not step on the monster by mistake or he might bite you back and I have no insurance to cover the damages. Oh ya, I forget to mention--the next time I teach this course it will no longer be a seminar (R685) course, but, instead, it will be a real course and listed as "R678 Emerging Learning Technologies." Yes, a real monster. No more of those fake ones. That is, assuming that I teach it again in Instructional Systems Technology (IST) here at IU and am not reassigned to some other school or unit. It also assumes that I do not shave my head and move to Thailand to become a Buddhist Monk (or Buddhist Bonk) and that some monster does not chop off my hands or my head in the meantime. :-)

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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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