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Blog Posts by Joshua Kim: "Learning in 2050" and "Houston as a Prophetic City"
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Sometimes it is healthy to reflect on what one is reading and reflecting on. This is one such time.

My friend Joshua Kim writes a daily blog post in Inside Higher Ed called "Learning Innovation" which is "A space for conversation and debate about learning and technology." Recently (June 10th, 2020), Joshua and his college Edward J, Maloney wrote a brilliant piece "Learning in 2050: Why think about the future in this most difficult of times?" In it, Maloney and Kim made a case for looking ahead a few decades and pondering where might we be in terms of educational models and educational practices with technology.  

They state: "Given all of higher education’s changes over the past three decades, it seems to us a reasonable task to try to project what will change over the next 30 years, particularly during this moment in our nation’s history and the impact of global pandemic we are all affected by." Here is the reference:
Maloney, E. J., Kim, J. (2020). Learning in 2050. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from

Maloney and Kim perceive many changes and transformation upcoming in the uses of technology and innovative pedagogical practices that could better engage students in learning. They believe that increasingly learner-centered pedagogical approaches will take root that in this century to move us from a society on content deliverers to a more experiential and community-driven one of content creators. 

They recently wrote a timely, insightfully written, well organized, and highly current and thought-provoking book. I am in the midst of reading it and highly recommend it to others in the higher education space and related educational sectors (e.g., corporate, government, non-profit, and military training people). It is titled: Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education.  

Here is the reference:

Kim, J. and Maloney, E. (2020). Learning innovation and the future of higher education. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

"Dr. Joshua Kim (to the right) is the Director of Online Programs and Strategy at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and a CNDLS Senior Fellow for Academic Transformation, Learning, and Design at Georgetown University. He has a PhD in demography and sociology from Brown University.  Josh can be reached by e-mail at and by Twitter at @joshmkim. Josh's CV can be found at" See Inside HE webpage; see homepage.

This week, Joshua followed it with another highly interesting post. Joshua likes to read books; apparently, hundreds of books. Often he will review books he has read in his column. Yesterday/Friday he did just that. His post was "Houston as a 'Prophetic city': A biography of our nation's fourth-largest city." In it, he reviews a new book by Stephen L. Klineberg titled, Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America.This is a sociology book as opposed to the typical technology and innovation column he writes. 

Joshua states that "A book on Houston seems particularly well-timed to our current moment. If we want to understand where the U.S. is heading, and where we in the higher education industry are going, there may be no better place to look than at Houston." He also stated that he learned a lot about Houston that he never knew before from reading the book. In fact, he admits that he has never visited Houston and he was looking for advice and insights from his loyal readers. In particular, it seems that he wants to visit Rice University; especially for learning and technology innovation type of conference.

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So I responded. The following was my reply to Joshua's blog post that I made earlier today:
       "Thanks for the Prophetic City book rec Joshua! I just ordered it. I have been to Houston many times during the past 25 years to present at various institutions of higher learning (i.e., Houston Community College, the University of Houston (UH) main campus, the UH downtown campus, Rice U, etc.) and various units/depts in the Houston Medical Center. Definitely visit Rice University and walk (or jog which I prefer) the campus and the surrounding area. It is extremely enjoyable. Also, the University of Houston (UH) is now a Tier 1 research university and on the go (! Much recent funding and innovation. For example, it is starting a new School of Medicine in the fall of 2020. Worth a visit too.

The last time that I visited UH in February (right b4 the COVID-19 outbreak), I was fortunate enough to present on innovative pedagogy and blended learning with Tom Reeves (homepage) from The University of Georgia to many of those planning for and recently hired by the new Med School. So much excitement is in the air. So many possibilities for novel partnerships. They have some very unique graduate degree programs already offered for a number of years by their Learning, Design, & Technology (i.e., ed tech) faculty in the College of Ed to folks in the Medical Center in Houston ( It is a real creative partnership that simply makes sense; even more so now that online teaching and learning is king for a while.

I can connect you if you visit. Equally important, the food is fantastic in Houston and the craft beer scene even better….and then there are so many museums to see in the Museum District. Much to see. Go!"
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So that is what I told him about Houston. I am sure that I am only scratching the surface on what to do and see. Thoughts?

It hard to believe that my first visit to Houston was a quarter century ago. Below is the title of the first talk I ever gave in Houston. It was at the Double Tree hotel...near the Galleria in Houston. It was a conference event run my graduate school colleague and long-time friend Tom Reynolds. Tom was with Texas A&M University at the time. He is now with National University in San Diego.
Bonk, C. J. (1995, February). Developing active learning environments: Merging technology, collaboration, and thinking skills. Presentation at the Texas Education Agency Language Minorities Institute for the Centers for Professional Development and Technology, Houston, TX.

It was a stellar event Tom ran in 1995; I still remember several other people who presented at it as many were friends of mine. And, in reflection, that was a great topic and is still relevant today. I just looked at my CV, and, since that time, I have given another 35 FTF talks at various places in Houston as well as at least three virtual talks. In effect, I have given more than 3 dozen talks in Houston during the past 25 years! OMG. Well 39 talks out of the 1,721 total presentations and speeches I have given over the years is only 2.2% of them.

UH Note: There are four faculty members listed now in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at the University of Houston, Sara McNeil, Susie Gronseth, Bulent Dogan, and Mimi Lee. Notably, two of them, Susie and Mimi, are award winning alumni of my program in Instructional Systems Technology (IST) at Indiana University (IU). They both make IU/IST extremely proud. If you are interested in the excellent LDT program at UH, you might contact one of them.

And if you want to find out more about the medical school connections or want to know how to apply to the LDT program, I recommend you contact the totally amazing Dr. Sara McNeil. Sara reached out to myriad people and programs to create several groundbreaking and highly valuable partnerships between education people and medical people in the Houston area. It could be a model for the entire country, if not the world. She has also taught a couple of huge MOOCs for the professional development of K-16 teachers.

Some pictures from our recent Institute for Global Health Science Education run by Sara McNeil and Susie Gronseth at the University of Houston (main campus) on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2020) session are below.

Sara McNeil and Susie Gronseth (above) thank Tom Reeves and I for presenting at the inaugural talk(s) in the Distinguished Speaker Series for the Institute for Global Health Science Education at the University of Houston on February 14, 2020. My keynote was "Meaningful Medical Instruction in the Digital Age: When Evolution Stumbles into Revolution."

I also gave two breakout talks or masterclasses:
Masterclass Part I: Ultra-Engaging Learning With Technology: Introducing the TEC-VARIETY and R2D2 Models.
Masterclass Part II: Ultra-Engaging Online, Blended, and FTF Learning: 50 Low Risk, Low Cost, Low Time Strategies. 

My talk may have had "ultra-engaging" in the title, but Tom Reeves had the card game!

Indeed, people from the medical field across Houston were interested in fully online, blended, and technology-supported learning. The opportunities for medical people trained in these areas will only increase many times over in the coming decades.

The field of Learning, Design, and Technology (formerly educational technology and instructional technology) has thousands and thousands of job openings today due to online learning, blended learning, COVID-19, and the endless waves of learning technologies come at us. I know since it is one of my research areas now is educational technology competencies. In fact, this article below is about to come out in a month or so. My team and I are now looking job postings in LinkedIn.

             Basdogan, M., Ozdogan, Z., and Bonk, C. J. (in press). Understanding the diverse field of "educational technology" as revealed in Twitter job postings: A systems view. Note: This will appear in volume 25, number 8 of The Qualitative Report.

Final Note (craft beer scene in Houston): Susie and her husband Matt made sure that Tom Reeves and his wife Trisha and I got to see the Houston craft beer scene, including a famous place called St. Arnold, the patron saint of beer (see food, beer, and car pictures below). Matt and Susie also took me to 4J and Spindletap. That was a fantastic way to end the trip! Reminds me of Milwaukee where I grew up. Next time it's Brash and perhaps Buffalo Bayou. I can't wait!

What an amazing couple of days. Is always is in Houston.

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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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