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Introducing Chapter 2 on Online Attrition and Retention in my New "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY" book
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Introducing Chapters from the TEC-VARIETY Book One Day at a Time:

Noted: Listed at the bottom of this blog post is a recap of the Bonk book blogging of "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY" so far.

This is Day Three of Blogging (Chapter Two: Online Attrition and Retention: Theory to Practice")
As I announced back on July 24, 2014 (2 months ago), my new book, written with Dr. Elaine Khoo from the University of Waikato, was published in May 2014 (though a prepublication version was posted online 3 months earlier). It is titled: "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online." More than a decade in the making, I am delighted to bring it to you for free! It is open access.When done, I got lucky to get the homepage for the book.

This is the third straight day of blogging on the book, one snippet per day for several week. I encourage you to download it and also to share the free e-book with friends, students, colleagues, etc. It is now available for free as a PDF document at the book homepage and so are each of the 15 chapters. More than 22,000 people have done so, perhaps we can get to 30,000 downloads of the entire book in the coming week. Having problems finding it? Ok, just go to my homepage and you can find it (personal homepage).

This is an experiment in self-publishing. I used Amazon CreateSpace. I also used my book publishing website which I forgot that I owned. My amazing son Alex did the book cover. If interested, you can purchase paperback or softcover versions of this book for under $15 USD in Amazon and for the Kindle for under $10 USD via Amazon.

See below for a opening part of Chapter Two: Online Attrition and Retention: Theory to Practice . Elaine and I hope that you enjoy the book. Below is the section of the book that I am sharing today. I hope to share a portion of Chapter 3 on four perspectives on online motivation tomorrow and the 10 application chapters will com after that. There are 10 activities or ideas related to online learner motivation and retention in each of those 10 chapters or 100 total ideas. So stay tuned.

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Chapter Two Online Learning Attrition and Retention; Theory to Practice (Note: this is just the first four+ paragraphs as another a teaser or tickler).

I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.
—Benjamin Franklin


We remember growing up in the 1970s and 1980s when the norm was to try to get into college or university after high school so you could find a good job and eventually attain a productive and well-respected career. Competition to get the best grades was fierce. Many of our friends wanted to attend the most prestigious universities. “Correspondence courses” (as distance learning was called back then) were viewed as the poor cousin to the more traditional campus-based courses. Fueling such attitudes, the correspondence courses offered were often clerical, administrative, or semivocational in nature.

This situation did not deter the millions of correspondence learners brave enough to give it a go, including Bonk, who enrolled in a couple of television and correspondence courses in the mid-1980s prior to entering graduate school. Bonk formed a personal bond with his designated course instructor, Dr. Robert Clasen of the University of Wisconsin, and as a result, he fairly quickly completed each of these courses. A few months later, Professor Clasen hired him to help with a new television course on critical thinking shortly after he arrived at the University of Wisconsin for graduate school.

Near the end of that decade, Khoo’s good friend, Jamie, took up the challenge of learning through correspondence after she and Khoo had completed high school. Not being academically inclined, Jamie signed up for a clerical course via correspondence. Within a few weeks, she was sent her first few packages of manuals, instructions, and assignments via the postal service. She would complete her assigned tasks, mail them back, and get the next lot of assignments. This went on for about 10 months. Early enthusiasm with the course and materials eventually turned to despair.

Her lament? Jamie felt that she was mostly on her own throughout this course. Unlike Bonk’s experience, there was no one to support or help her when she had questions. She received written feedback every couple of months upon submitting her work. In between, she was basically in isolation. And as the material became more difficult, Jamie’s anxieties increased. Soon she quit. The process was just too hard. Jamie’s story is typical of the early distance learning scenario. Of course, there were many highly visible success stories like Bonk’s who, coincidentally, would likely not have authored this book had he not had access to such distance learning courses. Nevertheless, a majority of folks found it too frustrating to sustain the motivation to chug on alone in such courses.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century. Today’s distance educators have a multitude of choices when it comes to selecting from available communicative technological tools to enhance their teaching or training practices and support their students’ learning. Unlike Jamie’s learning options, technology resources have expanded to include podcasted lectures, mobile flashcards, expert blog posts, wiki-based multimedia course glossaries, YouTube video lectures and expert demonstrations, course announcements and reminders in Twitter, and other vast information networks contributed by people around the planet (e.g., Wikipedia). With these new means to foster learner interaction, collaboration, engagement, and personal study, schools, universities, and corporate training departments worldwide have embraced the culture and fervor surrounding Web-based distance learning. There is now wide recognition and elevated status accorded to online courses and programs in a range of academic disciplines that are either offered entirely online or use different forms of blended learning to supplement current F2F programs.

Consider current statistics. We increasingly hear reports on how the number of students and corporate employees attracted to the potential of open, flexible, and distance learning options continues...(see free book for more...)
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Note: for the rest of Chapter One and the entire Adding Some TEC-VARIETY book, you can find it FREELY available (and the entire book as well at the book homepage or you can purchase it via Amazon. Comments and questions are always welcome as are stories and examples of how you use the ideas in the book (just write to: curt at 

Bonk book blogging so far:
1. Announcing the Adding Some TEC-VARIETY book, Posted: July 24, 2014.
2. Introducing the Preface, Posted September 18, 2014.
3. Introducing Chapter One: TEC-VARIETY, Posted: September 19, 2014
4. Introducing Chapter Two: Online Learning Attrition and Retention, Posted: September 20, 2014 (today)

So, how do you say "free"??? I say FREE!!!

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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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