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The Annual Pilgrimage to Milwaukee and Madison for the Annual DTL Conference
Friday, August 05, 2016
What happens ever summer? Answer: A trip or two to my roots in Wisconsin. And one such trip is coming up next week. Hooray!

I cannot wait to go to Milwaukee (where I was born) and the University of Wisconsin Madison (where I went to graduate school). I am heading up Monday morning for the 32nd Annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison August 9-11. There is no better place than Madison and Milwaukee in the summer. So many festivals in Milwaukee. And such a delightful ambience in Madison in the summer. I miss that place every day.

My car (a 2004 blue Honda Pilot) will eventually be quite full. Full of MOOCs books to give away at the conference and many suitcases and dishes for my brother Richard. And full of people. First, I will pick up my former student Dr. Minkyoung Kim in Bloomington. We will drive through Chicago (the mess that it is) and pick up Dr. Tom Reeves from the University of Georgia in the Milwaukee airport Monday afternoon. We will stay a night in Milwaukee so I can show them around places like the Milwaukee Art Museum. I will also show them the house in West Allis (2468 S. 94th Street) that I grew up in on the west side of Milwaukee. Unfortunately, it is presently for sale (check out my old house; see also pictures below). My mom passed away back in December and my sisters and brothers are now selling it. This will likely be the final time that I see my old house and neighborhood. Sadness. I will come back to Milwaukee on Friday to drop off Tom Reeves at the airport and then go to the State Fair with one of my brothers (Richard) and best friend Stan Lowe. It is an annual pilgrimage.

There is much to do at the conference in Madison. I have been prepping for weeks. I have a spotlight session on the personalization of MOOCs. And I have another spotlight session on how to use Web and videoconferencing to bring in experts, former students, and others to one's classes and events. Third, I have been asked to introduce the recipient of the Charles and Mildred Wedemeyer Award for Distance Learning Practitioner. I was fortunate to receive the award two years ago and so I have been asked to be involved this year. And fourth, I am on a closing panel. These events are detailed below.

Let's start with the ending panel. There are tons of brilliant people coming this year as keynote, spotlight, and invited speakers. I am truly impress with the work that my friends Les Howles and Kimary Peterson have put into this year's event. Many of these people will join me on the conferencing closing panel, Stumble, Fall Rise Again: From Failure to Transformation Change. During that panel, we will all relate stories where things did not work out as planned. It should be fun. Many of my friends and colleagues are also on the panel; they include, Ellen Wagner, Simone Conceicao, Michael G. Moore, Tom Reeves, Darcy Hardy, Ray Schroeder, and Michelle D. Miller. Les Howles will moderate it. Many of these people will join me for dinner on Tuesday night at the Great Dane Pub and Brewery restaurant in Madison near the Capital.

In one Spotlight session on Wednesday afternoon, Personalizing the MOOC: Insights from Experts Around Planet Earth, Tom Reeves and I will not only update you on the present state of MOOCs, but we will discuss what contributors to our book, MOOCs and Open Education Around the World published a year ago, have since recommended to us about how to personalize and be culturally sensitive when designing and delivery a MOOC. We will also present some brand new data collected by my research team and I during the past month on how 150 MOOCs instructors from varied disciplines around the world have personalized their MOOCs.

A book discussion and signing session will follow immediately after the spotlight session where people can receive a signed copy of our MOOCs and Open Education Around the World book for free (I should mention that Mimi Lee at the University of Houston and Tom Reynolds at National University are co-editors but they unfortunately cannot make it to the conference in Madison). Book signings and discussions are always fun. I will also do a "Book Nook" discussion on Thursday morning at 9 am. I am really looking forward to presenting at this conference with my super-splendid colleague Dr. Tom Reeves. He and I make for a fun team despite a bit of wear in the tires.

As indicated, in another spotlight session, Through the Words of Experts: Lessons Learned from Over Two Decades of Synchronous Conferencing, my former graduate student, Dr. Minkyoung Kim, and I will detail many ways that Web and videoconferencing can be used to bring in guest experts. Here is the abstract: "The tools for connecting students with experts around the world have enabled a new type of learning apprenticeship. No longer must your instructors and peers come from your own institution or organization. This talk will detail a series of pedagogical innovations and lesson learned from Web and video conferencing experimentations meant to extend the classroom to the world community. Tools such as Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom will be highlighted. Extensive examples and advice will be provided."

I have dozens of such examples that I can share. Most of the time it is a eye-popping and head-knocking sort of experience. People see new perspectives and ideas. They learn about different cultures and the importance of course content in various regions of the world and disciplines. And they better appreciate the content being taught in the course. These are exciting times for work in this area of global education with technology.

I should point out that this will be Minkyoung Kim's first presentation since passing her dissertation defense in June. She heads to a position at Texas Tech shortly after the conference. Congrads to her!

So, that is it for my brief recap for next week. Madison is so much fun in the summer. I will give Tom and Minkyoung and Rich Culatta a tour of the UW Campus on Tuesday afternoon. We will try to meet up with my former student Kurt Squire for ice cream at the main union overlooking Lake Mendota as part of the tour. It will be great to see my Kurt for the last time in Madison. He and his wife Constance Steinkuehler recently accepted jobs at UC Irvine.

You can find my slides in my archived talks in In the meantime, below are pictures of the front and back of the house that I grew up in there in West Allis, Wisconsin (along with 2 brothers and 2 sisters). I will miss the old place when it is sold. Pictures of the inside can be found in the link above. One bathroom and three bedrooms for 7 people was not easy. Eventually, my father built a 4th bedroom and 2nd bathroom in the basement. Enjoy the home tour! Perhaps you might want to buy it? Let me know.

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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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