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In Memory of W. Michael Reed, Professor and Highest Quality Friend
Friday, July 31, 2009
Note: This blog post was originally crafted on July 31, 2009. It was then updated several times with more content, quotes, pictures, and funeral information; most recently, in the early evening of Wednesday August 12, 2009. I added a final personal reflection about Mike's life to the bottom of this blog post. While I missed Mike's funeral since I was in Madison for the annual distance teaching and learning conference, I mentioned Mike at the start of my talk during the conference closing panel. A special thanks to those who contributed to this blog. Colleagues and former students have been creating Google Groups and Facebook groups in Mike's honor as well as planning a symposium at EERA and a special edited book. Perhaps you can contribute in one or more ways. More is below.

Sad news passed my desk earlier today.

I received an email from Dr. Min Liu at the University of Texas-Austin that Dr. Michael Reed passed away yesterday on July 30, 2009. The email says that "while Mike had not been feeling well of late this was quite unexpected."

Mike was my mentor when I was a brand new faculty member at West Virginia University (WVU). He was the kindest person one could know. A gentle giant of sorts. He was also Min Liu's advisor at WVU before she left for Texas. His graduate students were treated as his children. And Min Liu was his top doctoral student and she remained that way for the next two decades. Needless to say, I bet she is taking this hard. Mike had much wisdom from his experiences to share with everyone around him. And I think he relished that role, despite being a pretty introverted person. It would have been great to have short videos in YouTube or TeacherTube of his sage ideas and mentoring. Perhaps someone has captured a couple that will be posted later on.

While countless people helped me before graduate school as well as during it, as I said, Mike was my first mentor "after" I graduated with my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in the summer of 1989. He met me the first day at Gibbies Pub and Restaurant in downtown Morgantown. We had a wonderful meal and a beer or two to down it with. More importantly, we discussed our common interests. The main one was reserch on computers and writing as well as cool writing technologies and applications. That was August 1989 or exactly 20 years ago. (I was 8-years-old then of course.) Unlike most busy faculty members, Mike knew I was in Morgantown and on campus before anyone else. In effect, he took me under his wing to help me succeed. He showed me how a more advanced faculty member should treat younger ones. And it was not just me who he welcomed in; Mike Reed went out of his way for anyone at any time. Students often waited in a cue outside his door. But again, they were his children, so they rarely had to wait too long.

There were many great faculty at WVU. I hate to name names since I will be leaving out too many people (though I must slip in a hello to Rogers McAvoy who helped hire me). But among the great WVU people was Mary Alice Barksdale. She just sent me this picture of her and Mike. Apparently, she had dinner with him last Wednesday night. Which was the night before his heart attack. So appropriate that she was the last person to do so. Mike did work the following day at Radford.

Thanks Mary Alice. What a dashing picture of Mike. Ok, it is the wee early hours of Wednesday August 5th and more pictures of Mike have arrived! Mike did like to travel and see the world. James (Jim) Takacs, Executive Director, Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida, sent the pictures. He and Gail Fitzgerald (formerly of WVU and now at the University of Missouri) traveled with Mike to Germany and Austria and then later Jim traveled with Mike to Ed Media in Seattle in 1999 (which may be the last time I saw Mike). Jim said I could share these pics in this blog.

According to Jim, the first pic, "was taken on a horse and buggy ride we took to the Neuschwanstein Schloss (castle). Gail [Fitzgerald] took that photo of us in the carriage and mailed it to me after the trip."

In this second picture, "Mike, Gail, and Jim are at a late lunch out on the sidewalk at Munsterplatz in Freiburg, Germany. The Cathedral in the background was under construction."

Per Jim, the third picture in this sequence he sent me "was taken at the Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, Germany." Now that is a place I wish I had visited. Cool!

The fourth pic "was taken on the Zugspitze--The highest mountain in Germany. It's near the Austrian border and Garmisch-Partenkirchen." There is no doubt from looking at this picture that is was a stellar trip!

The 5th and 6th ones, according to Jim, "Are photos of Dr. Reed and Gail getting ready for their presentations at the 1999 Ed-Media Conference in Seattle, WA, thus him wearing the suit and tie."

The first is of Mike. As I said, I think that may be the last I saw of Mike and he was in fact wearing that suit. Ten years it has been. I tried to see him at NYU a few years ago but it was Christmas break and he was not in. Regrets now exist as I am sure many people reading this blog now have.

When Mike was not traveling, he was well known for his writing and computers research as well as that on hypermedia tools for writing and collaboration. And my dissertation was on computers and writing. I guess he was glad to see me arrive so he could share his research passions with someone. I fully understand that feeling. In 1992, Mike and I edited a special issue on writing research (my first special issue). Here is the introductory article we wrote for that issue.

Reed, W. M., & Bonk, C. J. (1992). Computers and writing research: Extending agendas across ages. Computers in Human Behavior, 8(1), 1-7.

We got many of the authors for that special issue to present at the Eastern Educational Research Association meeting in Boston in February 1991 (a regional conference of AERA). Our session at the conference was called Computers and Composing Across Curriculum. Mike twisted my arm into the role of discussant. He did not have to twist too hard. But it was my first experience as discussant so I did need a few courage pills. Fast forward to today and, in retrospect, I see myself trying to get younger colleagues similar roles at conferences as discussants, chairs, presenters, and what-nots. Some prefer being "what-nots" but most appreciate getting a chance to speak in front of others. Suffice to say, Mike's influence lives on and on and on and on.

Two years after the special issue, I published an article in another special issue journal Mike was editing; this time he was working with John Burton from Virginia Tech and Min Liu from UT Austin. This special issue also became a book. Funny, right now I am editing a special issue of a journal on e-learning in Asia which will also be a print-in-demand book. Life goes in cycles.

Bonk, C. J., Medury, P. V., & Reynolds, T. H. (1994). Cooperative hypermedia: The marriage of collaborative writing and mediated environments. Computers in the Schools, 10(1/2); 79-124.

As noted, the above article also can be found in the following book: W. M. Reed, J. K. Burton, & M. Liu (Eds.) (1994). Multimedia and megachange: New roles for educational computing (pp. 79-124). NY: Haworth Press., ISBN: 1-56024-693-6.

That was a thick book. I quite vividly remember when it arrived in the spring of 1995 and I passed it around my graduate seminar on "Interactive Technologies for Learning and Collaboration." I was quite proud to have a chapter in his book. In retrospect, it was one of my few publications prior to tenure and I was about to go up for it the following year so I really really needed that one. Mike was there for me even though I had moved from WVU to IU. I soon followed in his footsteps by doing an edited book on emerging online collaborative technologies ("Electronic Collaborators") in 1998. The Interactive Technologies for Learning and Collaboration doctoral level course was actually something that I had co-designed with Mike back at WVU. We team taught it one semester there. As with the course on cognition and memory I had team taught at WVU the semester before with Dr. Richard (Dickie) Walls, I was learning from the master how to teach.

Before creating the class, Mike and I had traveled in 1990 to San Diego for a special 2-3 day workshop on artificial intelligence in education that Chris Dede and others were putting on. It was a great setting near the downtown harbor in San Diego. The content we got from the workshop highly influenced that course. It was fun to teach as a trial course. So much fun, we decided to complete the silly forms to make it a listed course in the department. A few months after we got it approved as a permanent course at WVU, I left for Indiana and started teaching it there. I taught the class for 10 years based on the design Mike and I created. In 2002, it was transformed into a course on "E-Learning Pedogogy and Evaluation." Today, this course has morphed into one titled "The Web 2.0 and Participatory E-Learning" which is linked off my homepage (

And I guess I just realized why this course is highly linked to my new book, "The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education" ( It is the latest in a chain of influences dating back to that time with Mike from 1989-1992. So anyone at IU who has taken one of these courses with me or who will take different versions of it in the future, will have been influenced by Mike Reed. Ditto anyone who reads the "World Is Open" book. Mike's interests in the impact of technology tools and resources on human learning is a part of every page of that book and every week of the Web 2.0 course. And having that internal muse from remnants of conversations and activities with Mike Reed, as you can see, is a very good thing.

More on Mike...In addition to editing books and special issues and team teaching with people like me, Mike was pumping out research in the late 1980s and on throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. There were also multiple piles of papers collected (i.e., research data) that sat near his office. Still, when I was at WVU, Mike would always take time to meet with anyone at any time. Each human being was important. He supervised the computer lab and had a big office so everyone stopped by. And people poured into his office. One right after another. I am not sure how he got any writing done, but he definitely did. In fact, he likely published more papers than anyone in the College of Human Resources and Education (HR&E) during the three years I was there.

I left WVU and came to Indiana University in 1992. The year after I arrived, there was a position that opened up in Language Education. I nominated Mike as well as my colleage Tom Reynolds. Both got interviews. Neither got the job--it went to the 3rd candidate. That was unfortunate. I remember that Mike’s luggage never arrived during his time at IU and he was also suffering from a bad cold. That definitely did not help his chances (just envision someone coughing constantly and wearing the same clothes each day during a 2 day interview). So, instead, Mike went to NYU.

Here is a picture I found online of him at NYU and a brief bio since the remaining part of his bio was on a page that is no longer accessible.

NYU was lucky to get him! In his bio at the NYU Website, it says that "W. Michael Reed, Professor and Director of the Educational Communication and Technology Program, has focused his recent research on hypermedia/multimedia development and developers' learning styles. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Reed's research has focused on problem-solving and authoring, integrating technology in teacher education, and cognition and hypermedia..." As I indicated, the continuing page is no longer available but you can get a sense of his interest areas and places of expertise. Here is another page I found:

New York University
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology
Program in Educational Communication and Technology

Contact Info:
Dr. Michael Reed
New York, NY 10012-1019
Phone: 212-998-5520
Fax: 212-995-4047

Mike participated in a "Teaching More Effectively With Technology" Conference in April 2001. The article I found his picture below starts off saying: "On Wednesday, April 11 and Thursday, April 12, 2001, the newly established Center for Teaching Excellence at New York University, in cooperation with Information Technology Services, the NYU Libraries, the Faculty Resource Network and the Humanities Council, organized and presented Teaching More Effectively With Technology: A Conference and Exhibition at New York University, a high-level, major initiative by NYU to focus on the role of technology in teaching."

Figure 2. After a question and answer period, Michael Reed of the NYU School of Education (far right), delivered a talk entitled "What the Research Shows". (On the left, Sharon L. Weinberg; in the center, Marc Hamilton.)

It is good to see that Mike has his typical wry smile on his face. He knew what the research said. He definitely knew. Mike Reed conducted some of the most rigorous research on computers and writing that I know of.

He was also a great listener. During my 3 years at WVU, he had to listen to me and my naive statements over and over and over. He recently retired from NYU. But Mike was not done as he took a position as administrator in the Institutional Review Board at Radford University. Radford was in the part of Virginia where he had moved to. Any complaints or questions on one's IRB, and they apparently were referred to Mike Reed. Yes, he could handle such complaints. Here was his contact info:

For questions please contact:
W. Michael Reed, EdD
Box 6926
Radford University
Radford VA 24142.
(540) 831- 5290

Mike did not leave a heavy footprint on the Web. I emailed him on July 6th, 2009 and asked if I could send him my World is Open book but he did not reply (he rarely used email—so I did not hear back). It is too bad we did not get a final chance to correspond. But I will have to assume he read my email. We will never know. Mike will be dearly missed. We used to play tennis once-in-a-while when I was at WVU. He was a big guy. That was intimidating. He could whack the crap out of the tennis ball. He would have me running from side-to-side. And even though he was known to smoke quite a bit, he could still whip me in tennis.

He also could write. Wow, he definitely could write. He was a journalist in the army. He always told me that when he retired he wanted to write novels. I hope he got a chance to. If anyone reading this blog knows the answer to that question, please send me an email.

(Note: An answer to this query arrived a few hours later from his (and my) former student, John Oughton. Per John: "I wanted to mention that Mike did indeed publish a book in 2001 entitled Kelly Barracks under the pseudonym R. P. Michaels. I found this link on Amazon to the book:"

I just ordered the book! The Web is so cool! I cannot wait to read it. Thanks John! I miss you too and your softball skills.)
Wow, today is August 9, 2009 and my special issue of Mike's Kelley Barracks' book has arrived. And, to my surprise when I open it up, it has Mike's signature. Wow! So cool to have it. And, no, it is not for sale. Great book, by the way.

I also remember Mike receiving a Fulbright award to live in Finland for a bit. I think it was Jyvaskyla. Yes, that was the place. He was so looking forward to it--he had his time there completely mapped out months before going. He gleefully showed me that map many times before he left. He loved it there. And they loved him. I had a similar reaction to Finland. So relaxing. And many fun people. The Fins are sorta like Mike--into technology, quiet and shy (until you get to know them and then they open up and you are friends for life), know the research, conduct thoughtful studies, and like a good beer. And I later had a collaborative research project with the good folks of the University of Jyvaskyla (the University of Oulu as well) on case-based learning online. Mike helped me make connections with a few people there before my travel to Finland in the spring of 1997. My kids even came on that one. Indirectly, Mike helped make that a smooth and fun trip.

Jim Takacs posted a comment to my blog about Mike. He took Mike's picture when he was not expecting it. He sent me links to the following 3 pictures. This one shows the friendships he had. I have a similar picture from Paris in February or March of 1992 with Mike which I will try to find and scan.

Jim noted that Mike often did not like his picture taken. You can see the look on Mike's face when he did.

But this reveals the bright and smiling Mike we all knew! According to Jim Takacs: "That photo was taken in October 1995 on a conference trip in West Virginia." It is one the best pics he found in his collection of Mike Reed photos. He has a few more that might be shared later.

Thanks so much for the pics Jim. I hope we can get a few more.

Some Funeral Information: To remember Mike Reed and to pay tribute to him, Michael Orey from the University of Georgia has formed a Facebook group for Mike Reed. Thanks Mike. Mike also planned for everyone in the world to toast to Mike at 6 pm on Monday August 3rd. Liu Min told me that Mike funeral services are in Westover, West Virginia (next to Morgantown) on Friday August 7th at 1 pm with apparently some type of service the following day (Saturday the 8th) in Radford.

Per another former student Mike was extremely fond of (and for good reason), David Ayersman, the cemetery information for Westeover/Morgantown is:

Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens (Rick Overbaugh said it is at 1 pm)
Morgantown, WV 26501
(304) 983-2233

Post Funeral Information: Per Mary Alice Barksdale: There will likely be a memorial service at Mullins Funeral Home in Radford at 11 on Saturday August 8th and then anyone who would like to get together should come over to her house after.

Donation/Contribution Information: This information came from Mike's brother, Skip. Also, Liu Min said that it was Dr. Reed's wish that instead of flowers that folks would send a donation to:

Pound Pals
P.O. Box 2851
Radford, VA 2414

According to the Pound Pals Website, "The core mission of Pound Pals of Radford, Inc. is the prevention of suffering, neglect, abuse and cruelty to animals by working in conjunction with our local animal shelter in all phases of animal placement and rescue. Pound Pals of Radford, Inc. is a private, non-profit 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Contributions are tax-deductible."

This definitely sounds like Mike. A very good spirit to all living creatures. Ok, now, make a contribution in Mike's name if you can. I am quite sure that will make him happy.

Tonight Jan Plass, colleague of Mike's from NYU, sent me a note that he is thinking of a way to remember Mike's scientific contributions. He said the following, "I could think of no better way to do this than to edit a volume in his honor to which his colleagues and former students would make contributions. Given his passion, the theme of such a volume could be Individual Differences in Multimedia Learning: Theory and Research. We could also organize a symposium that brings together his former students and collaborators and that could be the preparation for such a volume."

Jan (who is the Director, CREATE Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education, Co-Director, NYU Institute for Games for Learning at NYU) and I know it is quite early to think about this but I also know people are reading this blog post this week. I have had my TravelinEdMan blog for 4 years now but the past 2 days have been records for the number of visitors to my blog. It is clear that many people loved and respected Mike Reed. Jan also said we should think about who might contribute to such a symposium and edited volume as presenters, authors, editors, organizers, etc. More to come on that I am sure.

Note: For those of you returning to this blog, the insert above is an update to this blog post. There will be more I suspect. Mike is not going to leave any of any time soon.

I have heard Mike's voice in my head all day--actually for a few days now. He had an unmistakable voice. He might have made for a good radio personality with that voice. All the advice over the years is coming back to me. We had many a fine private chat in his private office (that means outside on the College of HR&E back patio where he could smoke and we could talk and relax. There were many people he would mentor out on the back patio. I also remember a few very chilly days back there).

Anyway, I miss him. I left WVU 17 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. Mike's warm acceptence of me was calming for someone who had just completed and defended his dissertation, adopted and baptized a son from Korea, held a huge party to celebrate each, sold a house, moved to a new place, and started a new job (all in a matter of about 2 weeks). I saw perhaps two dozen doctors during the preceding months to help with the stress. Meeting someone like Mike was the best medicine. We all need a Mike Reed around us. One who encourages, nudges, smiles, frowns (at the right moments), and quietly elevates everyone toward their highest goals. Thanks Mike. I am here because you were there (for me).


Please Note: The following section was added on Wednesday August 12, 2009. It was written in response to an email that morning from Michael Orey and John Burton. They asked me to check over a bio of Mike Reed that John and Min Liu had drafted. They asked for my comments and potential additions. I wrote the comments below. It will appear as an addendum to an article in the Educational Media and Technology Yearbook (EMTY) 2010 or so I think. The title of that article will be: W. Michael Reed: At the Beginnings Using Computers in Education for Higher-Order Learning by Min Liu and John Burton. Again, what is below will likely be an addendum to that article. And I am sharing that insert with all of you in this blog. See what you think.

Reflective Addendum: Mike’s Life Compiled
As is clear, Mike was a builder, a composer, a designer. In a word, he was a doer. At its heart, Mike’s life was one of composition. He composed it as he went along and lived as he wished from start to end. But each day and each product must be seen for the greater whole. This is a man who wrote as a journalist for the U.S. Army in Germany. Countless newspaper articles and other documents were drafted, redrafted, approved, signed, and disseminated.

Knowing Mike, he was likely composing and recomposing them at each waking moment of day as well as in his sleep. After completing his army duties, he had the challenging task of teaching teenagers about the great works of Shakespeare and other compositions as a high school English teacher in Virginia. It is likely he touched many hearts and minds with his sage advice, keen insights, timely and heavy feedback. Perhaps more enjoyably he coached these kids in many after school sporting events.

When Mike left the world of an English teacher, he went on to write a massive composition called a dissertation as a graduate student at Virginia Tech. After successful defense, he crafted many other such types of documents when at WVU and NYU. During his time in academia, Mike trained dozens of other graduate students to write coherent, interesting, and seminal compositions of their own. His life of composing did not end when the research was completed. Often these works would end up as published papers in conference proceedings.

If you knew Mike, you would not be surprised by the fact that upon return from such conferences, he was not done. He would quickly assemble the troops for a special journal issue of their compiled papers; yet another form of composition. Once submitted, he was still not done! These journal issues often were reprinted a year or two after release as edited books, typically with colleagues and former students as co-editors. All the while, Mike was subtly teaching each of his collaborators and students the composing process. He was the grand maestro!

All aspects of his life were composition. All products--from his programming in Basic as well as Logo in his early academic years to his more rich hypermedia and multimedia designs--could be viewed as compositions. These were his works of art. His contributions to world. Ditto all the frameworks, models, and learning guides he built as well as the myriad journals he reviewed for. Compositions—all of them.

What’s more, much of this work was on the writing or composing process itself. Mike was, in fact, a writing researcher. And if writing is indeed thinking, Mike Reed was the consummate thinker. He not only was constantly writing or reading the writing of others, but was researching the entire shebang. In effect, he wanted everyone to know what good writing or composition was and was continually researching it, teaching it, and sharing it.

In addition to his life as an academic, Mike wanted to write the ultimate composition—the novel. And in 2001, he did just that! It was titled "Kelly Barracks." That was his masterpiece. His sonata. His magnum opus. With that, his life had come full circle, from one who was trained in how to write a composition as well as teach others about the process, to one who composes such wonderful displays of human intelligence for others to read, dissect, discuss, and reflect upon.

Without much doubt, there are some forms of composition within Mike’s life that are not mentioned in these brief paragraphs. Each person who was touched by him likely has his or her own stories involving one or more products or compositions of Mike’s life. These too should be added here for that is what a biography should be—a compilation of one’s life. And Mike Reed definitely compiled! He left us much to personally read, assign to our students, expand upon, and simply enjoy.

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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 10:03 PM  
  • At 1:04 AM, Blogger chinesefun said…

    Thanks for sharing your memory about Dr. Reed. I now know him more from your post, and know more about where you, my mentor, were from. Wish that he could read this from heaven. He contributed to the world even more than he himself knew. His caring, nudging, and encourouging has been passed on by you, his mentee to his mentee's mentees around the globe whom he did not know and even think of. He should be smiling from heart for what he left to the earth, if I were him...
    Liu from CA

  • At 5:04 AM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Yes, Shijuan, and as you can tell from this blog post and the courses you took from me, you have been influenced by him.

  • At 7:51 AM, Blogger Neal Shambaugh said…

    Curt, thanks for this blog remembrance of Mike Reed. Mike was pretty much while I came to WVU in 1999. I was impressed at annual EERA's when he would bring numerous WVU grad students. They were smart and prepared. At EERA more than once, Virginia Tech and WVU grad students would fill up the lounge at happy hour. His WVU position was moved to another dept and i pretty much have that position now. I have big shoes to fill. While I'm known here as an advocate for students in the 5-year teacher ed program, i have lots of work to do to match that with grad students. Mike's death is sobering, but this event reminds me how much many of us are related to Mike Reed, and to each other.

  • At 8:05 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    As a new faculty member in 1995, Mike reached out to me in much the same way that you describe, Curt. I'm grateful for his personal and professional friendship. He eased the transition of a new faculty member who knew no one in Morgantown and at WVU. I will miss him.

  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger Tom Reeves said…

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your wonderful mentor, Mike Reed. Having a mentor like him was obviously an important part of your professional and personal life, and as you noted, his positive influence continues through you, Min Liu, and others. I did not know Mike, although I had met him once or twice at conferences. After reading your memorial posting, I sincerely wish I had been able to get to know him. I suspect he would be very pleased by your tribute. Thank you again for sharing it.
    - Tom Reeves, UGA

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Yes, Neal, I feel for you. Those are mighty big shoes to fill. I do remember how he prepared his students to present and then celebrated when done; and he always brought a lot of people with him. Huge groups of doctoral students and he made sure that they all got the opportunity to present at places like EERA. I try to do the same today.

    Thanks Judy and Tom for your comments as well. Tom, I will see you in a few days in Madison for the annual distance teaching and learning conference and we can chat about Mike and have a toast to him there. Anyone else reading this who wants to join in and meet at for dinner and a drink or two, come to the main conference hotel lobby (the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace) at 8 East Wilson Street at 6:30 pm on Thursday August 6th. See you all there!

  • At 7:52 PM, Blogger JohnO said…

    This is a great tribute to Mike, Curt. I was one of the WVU doctoral students who was mentored by Mike and, similar to your experiences, I feel that he had a huge influence on my life as well. Like Judy, I will miss him as well.

    I wanted to mention that Mike did indeed publish a book in 2001 entitled Kelly Barracks under the pseudonym R. P. Michaels. I found this link on Amazon to the book:

  • At 9:08 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Thanks Dr. John. That book has now been ordered. I got the collector's edition! There was 1 of those left. I thought I would see what a collector's edition included. Nice to hear from you. Glad you liked the post.

  • At 7:32 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    This comment below is from Gail Fitzgerald, former fellow faculty member at West Virginia University and now at the University of Missouri:

    I am sitting here in a beach home in Chincoteague, Virginia, this week having come for a working week with my research colleague Kate Mitchem from West Virginia. Reflecting on Mike’s life and impact leads me to see a bridge between his mentoring and where I am today. Mike was my only real mentor, as he was to countless others.
    Mike was unique in his help and support of new faculty entering the college…offering help with statistics, arranging writing opportunities in his edited journals, reading drafts, running faculty academies, and leading us off to conferences here and abroad for presentations. I had arrived a year later than Curt to a new state, undergoing a mid-life career change, needing to learn to write and be productive, and to find new colleagues after 20- years in a different career. We soon became very close friends and colleagues. I have memories of dinners at Jambies, week-end get-togethers, working on the statewide T3 technology network/conferences that we co-organized, walking his dogs at the WVU farms, and of course, our trips to Scotland and Germany where I saw his favorite towns and Army barracks. Curt talked about Mike interviewing at Indiana with only the clothes he came with…reminds me of his typical wardrobe. He would go out to the discount store Gabes and buy 10 blue knit shirts once a year… all the same so he wouldn’t have to worry about what he would wear. It made it easy to give him a birthday present- a red shirt was a unique item for him!
    Mike made a lasting and profound impact on me as no one else has. Like Curt, I hear his voice and feel his presence and wish I could have a chance to tell him how much he meant to me and how much his impact continues on, and also hear of his retirement activities. I’m glad he had some time, though not enough, to change his pace and do some different things. I don’t know whether he ever got his second book published- I know he started it. For a long time he talked about returning to his love of writing.
    Curt got it right…Mike’s influence lives on and on and on and on. As long as we teach and our students teach and their students teach, Mike will be here. We will not forget. We will continue to follow his example in supporting and teaching and enabling our students. I’m going to have my doc students read this blog as we share tribute to our friend and colleague Mike Reed…and reflect.

    (A special thanks to Gail for that post. That is inspiring yet somewhat sobering stuff Gail.)

  • At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hard to know what to say. Mike was my first doctoral student (actually I co-chaired with Patricia Kelly). No one worked harder. No one cared more about his students. He had a notion of quality that was uncompromising but he was always willing to help people meet his criteria. Many of us are better because we knew Mike Reed. I'm glad for all the beers, cigarettes, and conversations. He will be missed. Thanx for doing this Curt.
    John Burton Virginia Tech

  • At 8:15 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 8:19 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Sure thing John. I have been wanting to correspond with you for a long time. But not under these circumstances. Mike is all the things you say. You are spot on. Very hard working with high standards but willing help everyone reach those standards. Maybe that is why we gelled so well.

    Your first doc student. Wow. He set the bar quite high for all the others, that is for sure. Those must be some memories. Trying to assist your first doc student and it is Mike Reed of all people. Man. That would be a blessing in a way but perhaps not. I would have loved to have been in your initial meetings designing the study and at his defense.

  • At 5:31 AM, Blogger Lee Kraus said…


    I too was one of Dr. Reeds students at WVU. Your post connected on all the emotions that I had last evening when I heard that he had pasted. It had been over a year since I had talked to him on the phone, but I thought of him often. His impact on my life cannot be understated. I was a very young graduate student and Dr. Reed took me in and was a mentor and a friend. My first real lasting memory was when I got my first paper back from him covered with red ink, coffee stains, and cigarette burns. I was in shock. My original words were barely visible. We sat at his "private" office out back and discussed for what seemed like hours about what it would take for me to be a researcher and a writer. For the next three years he spent countless more hours on the task. Probably the smartest thing I have every done outside of my family, is to make myself 100% open to the criticism, feedback, and counseling of Mike Reed.

    Gail - it was great to see your post and reflections. Thanks so much for sharing them and thank you for connecting me with Dr. Reed. In addition to the dinners around town and dog walks at the farm, I remember spending all weekend in his office shivering as I worked on re-write, after re-write, after re-write wondering if Dr. Reed would want me to write it again.

  • At 7:27 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Jim, thanks for posting the links to the photographs that you had of Mike. They will be cherished keepsakes.

  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger Marcus D. Childress said…

    Curt, thank you for writing this. I was one of the Virginia Tech doc students that graduated after Mike attended Tech. John and the rest of the Tech faculty always spoke highly of Mike and his accomplishments. He set the standard that we all felt that we needed live up to (yes, quite a high standard!). Although we didn't cross paths often, Mike was always willing to take time to talk and share his thoughts.

  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger Dr. Saab said…

    Thanks Curt, for posting this nice tribute and to all colleagues who contributed. I witnessed Mike's incredible kindness and teaching ability! I'll never forget arriving at AERA and finding Mike surrounded by doctoral student all participating due to his mentorship!
    Blessings to him as we relive the good memories!

  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger Mary E. Haas said…

    Curt, Thank you for the comments that you have made about Mike Reed. Your words made him live again as do the lessons you learned through your experiences with him. I worked for several years with him, and I am certain he was proud to be your friend and pleased with all of the work you have done. I know that he was very proud of all his doctoral students, and I extend my sympathy to all of you.

  • At 8:02 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Oh Joy. I hear from Joy. Thanks for the post Joy! It is great to hear from you.

    Marcus, I know what you are saying. When you have people in doctoral programs like Mike who probably are operating at professor level already, it makes future students shiver a bit.

    I guess James was shivering for different reasons. Yes, Mike put much time and effort into grading. I was a first year faculty member and on endless technology committees with Gail and Mike (as well as Benedum teacher ed reform ones--I think I was on 20 service committtes in my 3 years at West Virginia. Mike was on many of them as well.). I did not have much time for grading. Mike found the time. I do not know how. he was amazing, in retrospect.

    Thanks for the pics James. Mary Alice Barksdale just sent one to me as well. cjbonk at if you find more.

  • At 6:29 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I just heard of Mike's passing and I'm glad you started this blog as a tribute to him. I was also a student at WVU between 1994 and 2000 where I earned both my Master's and Doctorate with Mike as my major professor. Some would say that all of the students were getting a degree in C&I-491, but it was a very good program study with many opportunities for teaching and research.

    Like other graduate students he mentored, I was involved in many different projects during Mike's tenure there. We worked together on a Bell-Atlantic grant, a T-3 technology committee, the English Language Journal, and traveled quite frequently to SITE and EERA conferences. Because of him, I had opportunities to visit Hawaii, Seattle, Washington DC, Hilton Head, and Germany, just to name a few.

    He and I traveled to Germany together in the summer of 1998. We met up with Gail Fitzgerald in Frankfort and later with David Ayersman in Freiburg. It was a kind of like a WVU get-together only overseas! We bought German rail passes that were good for 10 days and traveled all over the country. He was just beginning to write memoirs for the book "Kelly Barracks" that John O. pointed out. We traveled to Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Garmisch, Munich, and Freiburg. We took a few side trips to Kelly Barracks and to the old neighborhoods that used to be his stomping grounds when he was stationed there. He spent lots of time reminiscing and telling me about the time when he was there while we rode the trains and visited different areas.
    As anyone who reads this blog will probably know, he wasn't very forthcoming about being in pictures, so there are only a few that I have where he actually posed for me. Digital photography was in its infancy at the time, so playing around the new technology to see what it could do was often something that I dabbled in. Whenever I could include him in a shot, I would try my darnedest to do so! He would oftentimes catch me and counter with "Could you take that into PhotoShop and make me slimmer and less grey?"

    Here are a few links to photos that I took of Mike when he was least expecting it.

    Gail's right, "Mike’s influence lives on and on and on and on" in each and every one of us. I'm so glad that I got to spend the time with him that I did...

  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Thanks Mary. Nice to hear from you! It is a shame Mike perhaps did not realize just how many people he touched.

    Jim--as you can see, I posted those pics. You are great. Thanks so much.

  • At 5:39 AM, Blogger Falcon said…

    It is hard for me to add to this thread as it is hard to really believe that Mike is gone. I guess I took for granted that he would always be there.

    As Mike's first doctoral student I can barely recount all the things that he taught me. Some simple and some profound. I do know that I would not have succeeded in my professional life if not for him. He shaped my career in so many ways. From his teaching, his consistent mentorship, his encouragement, and most of all his unquestioning friendship and dedication.

    I knew that my success what the most important thing to Mike, a feeling I am sure is shared by all of his other students.

    Presentations. Publications. Research awards. Grants. Promotion. Tenure. All because of Mike.

    I hope that I have been able to pass on at least part of that dedication to my students and colleagues. If I have, then it is true testament to the lasting legacy of a great professor, scholar, and friend.

  • At 6:26 AM, Blogger rO said…

    The Morgantown service for Mike is Friday at 1:00.

    Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens
    1290 FAIRMONT RD
    Morgantown, WV 26501

  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger Fran Stage said…

    Curt - Thank you for doing this for Mike and all of us who knew him. He was a great colleague at NYU and we miss him. Fran Stage

  • At 7:56 AM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Thanks Fran. Long time, no see. Hope you are well. Good to hear from you.

    David, the same. Nice words you say here. Thanks. Many people I am sure resonate with what you have said.

  • At 8:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Nelson said…

    This is a special thing to see, so thanks to everyone for the contributions, especially to Curt for organizing. I know we'll all miss Mike in so many ways. Along with John Burton, Mike was the model that we all followed for being a professor while we were all pitiful grad students at Va. Tech. Burton was "grandpa" to us all, and we had our "Uncle Mike" up the road in Morgantown. EERA conferences introduced us all to being academic researchers, and how to have fun in Boston and Savannah, thanks to Mike and John.

  • At 8:52 AM, Blogger Cindy Mize said…

    I have worked with Mike for the last year and a half at Radford University. We shared the same office suite. Our suite is filled with dog lovers so Mike fit in well. I volunteer for Friends of Animal Care & Control. This past spring we received a dog and her 6, two day old puppies. Mike graciously volunteered to foster mom and pups until they pups were old enough to be adopted (about 7 weeks). He decided to adopt mom and named her Maggie. Mike's health began to deteriorate and he eventually decided that 3 dogs were more than he could handle so we sent Maggie to a rescue in Richmond VA. Almost exactly a week later Mike passed. It's not often that you find people willing to open their heart and their home to one dog, much less an entire litter. We are grateful that Mike was that one special person.

    Mike has left behind his own two dogs, Pete and Abby. I'm assisting his sister in trying to find a loving home for both dogs. Mike adored these dogs so we'd like to keep them together if possible. Mike walked them frequently at the local park and would bring them by the office for visits. He drove a minivan so that he could take them places. He was a very kind man to everyone, furry or not. If you think you may be interested in helping Pete and Abby, please let me know.

    We all miss Mike and send our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family.

  • At 10:45 AM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    This post is from Ann Crabtree, Program Assistant I, Technology, Learning & Culture at WVU.

    Curt thank you so much for taking the time and remembering Dr. Reed (Mike) with your blog. Dr. Reed was always friendly, kind and courteous. I registered for one of his classes with Dr. David Ayersman assisting and it was very interesting. When Mike left WVU it was their great loss. I thought of Dr. Reed many times after he left WVU. He was always helping students and staff when we had a problem with our computers. He never seemed to get frustrated with any questions that were asked of him, and he always had an answer. Thanks for the pictures of Mike that Jim shared with us.
    Ann Crabtree

    Thanks Ann!

    (Sidenote: Ann was the only secretary I have had who would have whatever task I placed in her in-basket done before I got back to my office. She is amazing and she has some wonderful things to say about Mike just like everyone else.)

  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger Liu Min said…

    I have spent these days reflecting on the times I spent with Dr. Reed. Those times have become even more precious to me. I was fortunate to study under him, work for him, and conduct research with him.

    He taught me how to teach, how to conduct rigorous research, and prepared me for my academic career. He had high expectations for his students, and we had to work hard to live up to them. He was constantly pushing us to do our best. Most importantly, he provided every opportunity for us to succeed and realize our potentials.

    I met Dr. Reed for the last time at NYU in April 2007 with my husband and son. I was invited to make a presentation at NYU and we were also on our way to Boston. My son, Michael, was born while I was at WVU and is named after Dr. Reed, my mentor and dearest friend. Michael’s acceptance to Harvard made Dr. Reed really proud.

    Here is a photo taken at an Italian restaurant he liked:

    Dr. Reed meant to so much to me and my family. As Gail said, his influence will live on through us, his students, our students, and our students’ students; and for me also through my son Michael. I’ll miss him terribly.

  • At 12:38 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Note: The above post comes from Liu Min at the University of Texas at Austin!

    Thanks Liu Min. You are great. Great picture. Nice to have it and add to my collection!

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  • At 10:23 PM, Blogger TravelinEdMan said…

    I wish people would not post spam.

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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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