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MOOCs and Open Ed book Interview in China Ed Tech and Upcoming Preconference Symposium at E-Learn in Vancouver
Sunday, June 04, 2017
Introduction to MOOCs and Open Ed Book Interview:
Just like being a guest on a radio shows, as discussed in my last blog post from two days ago, interviews are always fun to do and I tend to learn a lot when responding to the interviewer questions and comments. Over the years, I have found recorded oral interviews to be more spontaneous and easier to do than written ones; however, written ones, while they take much more time, tend to come out better and are more thoughtful. Such was the case a few months ago when my book editing team and I responded to interviewer questions in writing.

As indicated, this time it was a joint interview. More specifically, the interviewees were myself, Mimi Lee from the University of Houston, Tom Reeves from The University of Georgia, and Tom Reynolds from National University. Two years ago, we had co-edited the book "MOOCs and Open Education Around the World," which was published by Routledge in late June 2015. The excellent interviewer questions came from my doctoral student Meina Zhu and her colleague in Beijing, Yunjian Zhao. We initially received their questions back in January and February, and, then, after a first draft was completed, there were several follow-up questions and expansions in March and April. The article appeared shortly after that in May 2017. My that was quick and most welcome!

I should point out that Yunjian Zhao is the editor of the journal in which this was published, China Educational Technology. It apparently is a top educational technology journal in China (if not the top one). So my team and I felt fortunate to have been selected for this interview. About a decade ago, I was interviewed for this same journal regarding my book, The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs, which had come out in 2006. Given the feedback that I have received since that time about that particular interview on blended learning, I think it was widely read. In a roundabout way, that one interview (which I almost did not do) later led to the translation of my book, the World is Open, to Chinese. The current interview is highly timely since the MOOCs and Open Ed book has just just been translated to Chinese by a team led by Dr. Jianli Jiao (blog) at South China Normal University (SCNU) in Guangzhou and will soon be available from East China Normal University (ECNU) Press in Shanghai. It will be my third book in Chinese. Cool! The other one is a free book in English and Chinese on online motivation and retention using my TEC-VARIETY framework.

Back to the interview...there were 25 questions in this particular interview, which is a tad more than usual. As a result, we address a wide gamut of topics including the role of MOOCs and open education, MOOC pedagogy, quality issues concerning MOOCs and open education, issues related to MOOCs and open education in developing parts of the world, ways to perhaps address cultural sensitivity and personalization of MOOCs, MOOC research, design and development issue, and future trends. We also discuss the book writing process and our various collaborative efforts. Hence, it ended up being a rather long document of nearly 10,000 words counting references and bios.

Link to Article Publication in China (and reprint in English):

The reference to this interview is below. Note the links to both English as well as Chinese versions of this article.

Citation #1:

Zhu, M., & Zhao, Y. (2017). MOOCs and open education: Possible roles, pedagogical practices, personalization, and pending trends. China Educational Technology-conversation with Drs. Curtis J. Bonk, Mimi Miyoung Lee, Thomas C. Reeves, and Thomas H. Reynolds, China Educational Technology, (5), 30-39.

Note: China Educational Technology is normally only published in Chinese (website of our article in China). However, I wanted the interview to be widely read and shared. Hence, my assistant, Seth White, and I worked hard to get an English version of this article that used the China Educational Technology journal formatting. That took some time and patience. We have been told that this is the first time that they have one of their publications available in English. Check it out. I think it looks splendid. The abstract from this interview is below.

Article Abstract:
In this article, Professors Curtis J. Bonk, Mimi Miyoung Lee, Thomas C. Reeves, and Thomas H. Reynolds discuss the events that led to their recently edited book on “MOOCs and Open Education Around the World” as well as a special journal issue on this same topic. They reflect on the role of MOOCs and open education in the developing world as well as how content from MOOCs might be creatively and effectively be used in any course. In addition, they offer timely guidelines on the design and delivery of MOOCs. Suggestions are also made concerning cultural sensitivity and personalization of MOOCs as well as possible resources and perspectives addressing MOOC quality. Near the end of this interview, Bonk, Lee, Reeves, and Reynolds point to research methods that might help close the many gaps or unknowns related to the effectiveness of MOOCs, important challenges facing MOOC researchers and instructors, and future directions and societal changes that those involved with MOOCs and open education need to take into consideration. They end with a discussion of where their research is headed and possible new directions and advancements in the field as a whole. As part of that discussion, they offer advice for working as a team on such complicated projects as an edited book. They also detail the topics and goals of an upcoming symposium on “MOOCs and Open Education in the Developing World” which they will coordinate in October 2017 at the E-Learn Conference in Vancouver.

Keywords: MOOCs, open education resources (OER), OpenCourseWare (OCW), cultural sensitivity, personalized learning, developing countries

Dr. Yanxia (i.e., Sophie) Sun is thanked for her help in reviewing the Chinese translation of this document. She is one of my current visiting scholars from China. Of course, that is not her in the picture below. That picture comes courtesy of Dr. Eunbae Lee, formerly of Georgia Southern University and now living back in Seoul, Korea and working at Catholic University of Korea. It is her daughter, Leanne Park, who is so conscientiously reading our book. A budding scholar!

What is Coming Next (A Preconference Symposium at E-Learn!):

Near the end of the interview, we discuss what is coming next. Tom Reeves, Tom Reynolds, Mimi Lee, and I have our separate research and scholarly projects underway now. But, one key event on the horizon is a preconference symposium at the annual E-Learn international conference in Vancouver October 17-20 (Note: the first call for proposals has a due date of June 10th; there will most likely be a second call after that if you miss the June 10th proposal date).

I should point out that we have already coordinated two such preconference symposia for this conference back in 2008 and 2013 in Las Vegas. In addition, the four of us are all board members of E-Learn so Tom, Tom, and I asked if we could coordinate another such event; this time on "MOOCs and Open Education in the Developing World" at the E-Learn conference in Vancouver this coming October. If you cannot make it, there will be a FREE online panel in Zoom (actually 2 one hour panels) at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) the night before (i.e., October 16). We have special guests coming from Figi, the Philippines, Antigua in the Bahamas, Kenya (the African Virtual University), Thailand, China, Brazil, and Malaysia. These are 8 super great panelists! Keep in mind that the night of October the 16th in North and South America would would equate to the morning of the 17th in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand; see preset World Clock for the exact times around the world.

The main part of this exciting symposium will be all day on October the 17th in Vancouver with 3 keynote and 4 invited speakers, a special panel, a couple of breakout sessions, interactive discussions, Q&A, and more! The speakers will be fantabulous (see the program link below)! They come from places like the World Bank, UNESCO, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the Inter-American Development Bank, and Stanford University. It will be like a conference within a conference. Don't miss it! The conference flier just came out. The preconference symposium will cost $99 (including lunch) to register for the full day and $65 for half the day (also including lunch). For more info, see this link (download PDF of program). Registration (direct).

Excerpt In Innovate Learning Review from AACE:
Note: an excerpt of the interview mentioned above that was published last month in China Educational Technology (May 2017) appeared shortly afterward in Innovate Learning Review (portions of the original interview were republished in English with the permission and encouragement of the editor). Innovate Learning Review (ILR) is a relatively recent publication from AACE which happens to run the E-Learn Conference as well as Ed Media, SITE, and Global Learn. We asked for this simultaneous publication in ILR in order to have part of the interview available in English. We did not realize that China Educational Technology journal would allow the English format (see earlier links to the full interview).

Citation #2:
Zhu, M., & Zhao, Y. (2017, May 16). MOOCs and open education: Possible roles, pedagogical practices, personalization, and pending trends. China Educational Technology-conversation with Drs. Curtis J. Bonk, Mimi Miyoung Lee, Thomas C. Reeves, and Thomas H. Reynolds, Innovate Learning Review. Available HTML and PDF: (Note: This is an excerpt of interview in China Educational Technology, May 2017)

An Earlier Interview: I should mention that an earlier interview related to this book can be found in the July-August issue of Educational Technology magazine. I am delighted that we were interviewed for this issue since the editor of Educational Technology, Larry Lipsitz, passed away a few months later in November 2016. Fortunately, Larry gave permission to post this article online before he passed away. He was an amazing guy (here is a link to my tribute to Larry). I will wait for another blog post to explain more about him and perhaps post my entire tribute to him. My most excellent colleague Tom Reeves from the University of Georgia faithfully, creatively, and tirelessly organized a special section of the last issue of Educational Technology this past March-April 2017 for Larry. Larry had been edited of this journal since inception in the 1960s. Amazing!

Citation #3:
     Mark Viner, Ellen Gardiner, and Michael F. Shaughnessy (2016, July/August). Q&A with Ed Tech Leaders: Interview with Curtis J. Bonk, Mimi Miyoung Lee, Thomas C. Reeves, and Thomas H. Reynolds, Educational Technology, 56(4), 59-64. Available as PDF:

Final Note:
For more information on the MOOCs and Open Education Around the World book (including the preface and various other free materials, nine book reviews, 2-3 author interviews, the slides to several presentations, myriad endorsements, and several reader reactions), see the book homepage at You will notice that we also edited a special journal issue on the same topic in the International Journal on E-Learning (IJEL) at the same time. Finally, I should note that my MOOCs book editing team and I were fortunate to receive a top book award at the annual AECT Conference last October in Las Vegas. See picture of the four of us (cropped). Or see below with one of our great editors at Routledge, Daniel Schwartz (who is on the left), following by Mimi Lee, Tom Reeves, myself, and Tom Reynolds. Alex Masulis, our other excellent editor at Routledge, is not in this photo, unfortunately.

We hope you like the interview. And we also hope to see you at the preconference symposium in Vancouver in October...or at least virtually for the free session in Zoom (see the World Clock) the night before the E-Learn conference starts. Info on Symposium, PDF of program, registration (direct). Please tap me on the shoulder if you make it.

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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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