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E-Learning in the UK
Sunday, June 04, 2006
In mid May, I spent a week visiting universities and institutes in the UK. I got the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford (30 minutes northeast of London by train), the University of Brighton (40 minutes or south of London by train) which is on the Atlantic, and King's College in London; in that order. I also spent some time in Bath and in London when not presenting somewhere. I was greeted by many great people along the way. I got to stay with my friend Dr. John Stephenson when in Bath and we explored the Roman Baths a bit. There was also an international music festival going on when I was there. I also got to see the Tate Modern Museum, St. Paul Cathedral (all 534 steps with a spectacular view of London), and the Victoria and Albert's Museum (see

Norah Jones (the researcher, not the singer) was opening a new Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) which was focusing on blended learning. Their Vice Provost seems very supportive for it. Norah has a staff not only designing interesting and engaging blended learning experiences with simulations, flash animations, and so on, but also has people doing research on it. She has developed a respect from the administators and staff there. The Univ of Glamorgan is near Cardiff which claims to be the fastest growing capital of Europe. Vibrant shopping, lucious eating, and beautiful scenary there. I loved exploring the Cariff Castle and need to post some pics of it at my Flickr site soon. Both of my keynotes went well there--on ATuesday night we opened their CELT with my talk on blended learning being the keynote. I also spoke on blended learning the following morning. I went over both times but Norah was ok with it. The 2nd one was more about the future of blended learning.

It seems that the UK has money for e-learning specialists now. The money for the UK-EU, which no longer exists, was apparently reapportioned to universities throughout the UK for e-learning initiatives. As a result, they have many jobs posted at the Guardian for e-learning managers, specialists, project coordinators, multimedia people, evaluators, and so on. These are exciting times in the UK if you are in the field of e-learning. There are only so many e-learning specialists, so such people seem to be in demand. Perhaps we at Indiana University should design a master's and doctoral degree in e-learning and blended learning. Follow the UK and Canada closely when it comes to e-learning. Those seeking to get citizenship in North America or the UK might think about applying for such jobs.

My talks at Chelmsford (Anglia Riskin University) also went very well thanks to people such as Sharon Waller and Richard Millwood who brought me there. They also have a campus in Cambridge which I hope to visit someday. Anglia Ruskin also has the Ultralab which has sponsored the NonSchool project (see People at each stop seemed interested in plagiarism, copyright, and differences between face-to-face and online teaching--and it was true here as well. My talks here were once again on blended learning but also on multimedia for visually hungry learners.

Brighton was a cool stop along the ocean. They have a CETL as well that is focused on creativity. They shared their proposal with me which seems highly unique and ambitious. Let's see what happens in a year. Will e-learning and creativity be a happy marriage? I think so. But it is difficult to predict where such innovation might go. Will it be in new forms of work collaboration or in teaching? Will we be able to recognize creativity when it occurs online and also be able to duplicate it? Thanks to Jon Dron for bringing me there. I gave a talk on blended learning as well as one called Pocasts and Wikis and Blogs, Oh My: E-learning is not in Kansas anymore. My friend, Donald Clark appropriately pointed out that much of the discussion and examples on blended learning relates to blended instruction and not learning at all. I think he is right. You can read 3 or so blogs he did of my visit at
Donald sold Epic Group which is an e-learning services company. They do much e-learning development and evaluation. I had read many of his blended learning reports in the past. Good stuff! Donald definitely has a pulse on the field. He is one of a select few who has a sense of e-learning needs and experiences in both higher education as well as corporate training.

My final stop was at King's College in London. Anne-Lucie Norton and the folks at the War Studies Department brought me there. What a wonderful view of the London Eye and other featured sites from her office. My 2 talks went pretty well here as well though my computer cables had fried and batteries had died before it so I had to use their machines. Anne-Lucie informed me that their new master's in War Studies is entirely online. Cool! You might write to them. Loads happening at King's College. My blended learning talk ended with 30 minutes of questions and answers. After this talk, Brian Ford (a famous biologist with shows on the BBC), Tingting Zeng (a research assistant of mine from Roehampton University in the London area), and Chris Essex (a student of mine from Indiana just happening to be visiting the UK) met me at Cheers Pub. And some of us saw a show at the Comedy Store after that. I flew home the next morning.

I am sitting at my brother's house in Syracuse, New York writing this. I did talks Thursday for the State of NY instructional technology conference and head to DC next. Yesterday I ran in a short 3 mile (5K) run for cancer victims. My time was a respectable 24 minutes and 35 seconds. I tend to run farther distances. (see this run at
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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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