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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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Global Learn from AACE, E-Learning Asia, and Open Ed for Community Colleges
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It continues to be interesting and hectic. Today, Tom Reynolds, Mimi Lee, Gary Marks, and I were creating themes and topics for the first ever Global Learn: Global Conference on Learning on Technology. Global Learn will be held in either KL or Penang, Malaysia, next May 17-20, 2010 or so I think. Site selection and announcement coming soon. This conference will be a spin-off of AACE conferences such as SITE, Ed Media, and E-Learn. However, this one will be held in Asia and the Pacific Rim area each year; at least for now.

Global Learn (GL) will be a wonderful experience when it happens. We have a wonderful executive advisory board with members from dozens of countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The topics will cover both learning as well as technology ones. The current list we drafted is quite extensive. I hope to have much more to post on GL in the near future. And I hope some of you can attend next year in Malaysia! If not, perhaps you can attend virtually. Again, more to come soon on this.

In addition to our GL discussions, we also spent part of the morning selecting a book cover for the upcoming book Tom, Mimi, and I will have with AACE. We are the editors. Chapters come from Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Turkey. The book is called “A Special Passage Through Asia E-Learning.” It will be a special issue of the International Journal on E-Learning and a print-on-demand book as well as an e-book from AACE. Here is the upcoming reference for the book and the journal:

Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., & Reynolds, T. H. (Eds.) (2009). A Special Passage through Asia E-Learning. Charlottesville, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. (see and

Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., & Reynolds, T. H. (Eds.) (2009). International Journal on E-Learning. 8(4). Special issue: A Special Passage through Asia E-Learning.

Every day is packed this week. Tomorrow I will appear on the radio program, “Something You Should Know.” It will be taped, not live. Thursday I will do a Webinar for Ednak which is an online network for “thoughtful” online educators. And Friday at 11 am I will be on the USA Radio Network (1,300 stations) which includes the Armed Forces Network. Once again, this will be taped not live.

Finally, I appreciate people who have blogged on my World is Open book the past few days. Thanks to Stylianos Mystakidis from Greece, Sheri Steinke from Hennepin Community College, James Moore, DePaul University, Tim Holt and his Intended Consequences blog and podcast program from El Paso, and Ray Schroeder, Professor Emeritus & Director OTEL (Office of Technology and Enhanced Learning) at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Thanks for your kindness everyone.

So much is happening. Today, someone from the Chronicle of Higher Education contacted me with questions about Obama's new plan to fund open education courses at the community college level (as well as high school). Just as I was writing about the open educational resource movement at Foothill-De Anza Community College District and all that they have done, I get an email from Judy Baker who is Dean of Foothill Global Access, Distance and Mediated Learning, and
Administrative Supervisor on an upcoming 2-year grant project: Community College Open Textbook Collaborative. She had some Web links that I might include in my World Is Open Website. She gave me many resources including the Sharing Of Free Intellectual Assets (SOPHIA) project which has designed 8 open access online courses for community colleges.

I told her that it was ironic that we met online at the exact moment of need. I suggested that perhaps something spiritual in nature was happening or it was a kind of karmatic experience. I mean, how often does the one person who can help you out of 6.7 billion people just materialize just when you need his or her help? Well, she replied (and she said I could quote her on this), "The open learning community is actually much smaller than we'd like to think. Obama's attention to the issue has created a perfect storm along with existing open learning initiatives where all of us are getting blown together. Now it's a matter of rowing together or sinking separately." Thanks Judy. In a way, I hope she is right--that more money and attention will happen in open education during the reign of Obama. I also hope she is wrong--I hope it is not a small movement, but, instead, one that will grow across the planet.
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The Flat World is Now Open: Time to Embrace the Power of Informal Education
Monday, July 27, 2009
So much happening today. Morning radio interview by Gary Sieber from NewsRadio AM1340 WTRC in Elkhart, Indiana Am radio station to start the day.

Next I was quoted in article for Evansville Courier and Press, “‘Vision’ a must for EVSC netbooks: Expert says laptops can open new doors.” by John Martin, July 27, 2009,

Then I had an article come out in Chief Learning Officer Magazine linking the flat world to the open world. It is in both digital and HTML formats.

Bonk, C. J. (2009, August). The Flat World is Now Open: Time to Embrace the Power of Informal Education. Chief Learning Officer, 8(8). Available in 2 formats: HMTL and PDF:

Digital format: and
HTML format:

More tomorrow...getting tired today.
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Indiana University Press Release, The “flat” world is “open;” how technology is changing education
Monday, July 20, 2009
Lots happening since the book came out a week ago. I barely have time to eat, sleep, run, walk, or chew gum, let alone post to my blog. But I will try to post something worthwhile. I will focus on 3 main things below: 1. a press release, 2. a talk, and 3. a book review. All are related to my new book.

1. IU Press Release: There were 2 press releases today on my new book, The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. I often refer to the book as the TWiO, since there will be 2 of them--one hardcover (which came out a week ago) and a free e-book extension which I am still working on. The book Website has the references and Web links for both books already and many excerpts.

The 2 IU press releases are the same basic story but there was one press release was from the Indiana University (IU) press and one from the IU School of Education. The one from the School of Education includes a picture of the book and 5 short audio file links (MP3) and transcripts to listen to from the interview. Cool!

Indiana University Press Release, The “flat” world is “open;” how technology is changing education; July 20, 2009, IU News Room.

IU School of Education Press Release, The “flat” world is “open;” how technology is changing education, School of Education professor’s new book outlines the complex world of learning today; July 20, 2009, IU School of Education Homepage: (Note again: this has 5 short MP3 files of part of the interview--scroll to the end of the article and listen.)

See what ya think. I think IU did a great job on it.

2. Indianapolis Talk this coming Friday July 24th: IU also posted a "Media Advisory" event for this coming Friday July 24th when I will be part of a seminar on "Issues in Education" at our IUPUI Campus Center in Indianapolis. I will be presenting ideas from my The World is Open book at 11 to 11:45. Others will be presenting that day as well. This is intended for Indiana media but I think anyone can attend. The cost is a mere $15 for the day. For more information about this seminar, please contact: Chuck Carney, director of communications and media relations for the Indiana University School of Education, 812-856-8027 or Or see the Web-link.

What: "Issues in Education" seminar
When: July 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Room CE 148, IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd

3. Review of the World Is Open book: Michael Shaughnessy, a writer from EdNews/org and professor at Eastern New Mexico University, wrote a book review of: “The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education.” It was posted to the blog of the Innovate Journal of Online Education called, Innovate-Ideagora (Ning blog), July 17, 2009.

It is interesting to be compared to E. F. Hutton and Reggie Jackson. It does not happen often. Well, it has never happened before. I actually saw Reggie Jackson play many times when he came to Milwaukee to play the Brewers in the 1970s and 1980s, including the American League Championship Series in 1982. He was one great player! I used to like how would take his time at the plate. Liked to spit if I remember correctly. He was one menacing character. I hope Michael wasn't indicating that I am menacing. Smile.

The important thing is that we (the Brewers--they played in Milwaukee which is the land of beer and more beer) beat the Angels 3-2 in that series. We came from behind 2 games to 1. I was at games 4 and 5. They were special! When Cecil Cooper hit the game winning drive in Game #5, old County Stadium went Bonkers (no pun intended). And I mean Bonkers! Ok pun intended. My best friends and I were there. I think we even let my little brother, Richard Bonk, join us. There is a joke in there for people who know Richard. Gosh did we party that night. I do miss Milwaukee if only for a few fleeting seconds.

Then it was on to the World Series where we lost to the Cardinals 4 games to 3. I saw Game #3 that year. We lost that one. Bummer. My only World Series Game. I did have Pirate World Series tickets in 1991 and 1992 that I never got to use thanks to the choking of Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds. Ok, enough baseball. Gosh I remember Reggie Jackson as a Yankee as well as when he was in Oakland before that. I guess I am old. Ok, let me say this again...enough baseball.

After you get past the Reggie and E.F. Hutton bit, you will find that Michael has posted a balanced (if not critical) review. He "hits" on many concerns he has at the end of the review. As you round the bases of this review, you will see that most of them relate to formal educational settings like as quality, integrity, certification, and accountability. His points are well taken and worth discussing and debating. Still, I am not trying to solve all the problems faced in K-12 or higher education settings with the book. Instead, I am simply trying to show how the world has become more open for learning. And it is more open for learning. He does not seem to debate that point.

This is the fourth review of the TWiO book. The other three are already posted at the book Website in About the Book.

Ok, I must go back to work on the e-book extension of this. I hope to post a postscript I wrote later tonight or tomorrow.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 6:18 PM   2 comments
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The World is Open book release...You too can be Bonked!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Ok, my book, The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education, was released. Amazon is shipping it 2 weeks ahead of schedule. I got the order I placed last week Thursday and Friday. You can order it through my book website. You can also get the prequel and all the references, Web resources, and reviews. Some excerpts too!

Much happening. If you want to hear me speak on the book, there was a podcast interview yesterday by Tim Holt’s Intended Consequences Podcasts. Tim is from El Paso, Texas. He started this as a hobby and now many people listen in. The reactions have been good. This is a podcast series for people with books in educational technology.

If, instead of hearning me, you would like to see me in action or get a quick overview of the book, there is now a videostream talk on my “The World is Open” book (video, slides, and audio). This Webstreamed presentation using Adobe Connect Pro was posted today by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE/Ed Media people). This is at the AACE site.

Note: you or your students can watch this (it is 1 hour 25 minutes long). It is a make-up or redone presentations since we had problems at the conference in Hawaii during Ed Media.

"Today I was also interviewed today on my wikibook research for Educational News again. An Interview with Curtis Bonk: A Look at Wikibooks and Wikibookians.” by Michael Shaughnessy, July 14, 2009

I will speak on the book for Ednak (a site for "thought networking for online educators") on July 30th. I will also be interviewed by the USA Radio Networks and Armed Forces Radio the following day (July 31)."

I will also be interviewed by the USA Radio Networks and Armed Forces Radio the following day (July 31).

On August 4th, I will have a Webinar on the book for the Denver chapter of the International Society of Performance Improvement. I will also be interviewed that day by for a 30 minute Radio Interview on KUCR (88.3 fm) in LA. The show will broadcast at 6:30 pm on the 4th, and again at 8:30 am the following morning (August 5th). This will be in their Education Today show. Education Today has a 15 year history – they deal with any and all issues in the world of education. KUCR is located on the campus of the University of California, Riverside, and its signal covers approximately 20% of the LA metro area – including the Inland Empire, as well as portions of LA & Orange counties.

Today (July 14th) was special. It was the 20th anniversary of my son, Alex, coming from Korea. This coming Friday is also special. It is the 20th anniversary of my dissertation defense at the University of Wisconsin. Of course, all my advisors could care less about my presentation; instead, they all wanted to meet my son who was waiting patiently outside the door. And now, 20 years later, Alex and I sit next to each other putting hundreds of mailing packages together on my The World is Open book to send to people. It is a huge mess. But fun.
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Should Learning be Free and Open?
Saturday, July 04, 2009
My last post had many text articles related to online learning and open education. This time, I will focus on videos and free education as well as two possible articles to read. Seems to be so much content flying in the air this week related to the concept of freeness as well as open education.

Video #1: Last night I watched this excellent TED talk that Clay Shirky gave on "How social media can make history." This TED talk video was posted in June 2009. Shirky shows how innovation is happening all over the world through social media. As many people have noted, people are producers as well as consumers. He rightfully argues that this is a huge transformation. As Shirky says, "the moment we're living through, the moment our historical generation is living through is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history. Now that's a big claim." Yes it is! He emphasizes that media is increasingly global as well as social, ubiquitous, and inexpensive. As a result, media shifts from being about crafting messages for individuals to consume to one of creating environments for people to convene and conduct group-related activities. As such, in my mind, I think the world of media moves a tad closer to the world of education as well as work. Media supports people to create and share knowledge as well as learn from it. At the end of the video, Shirky poses the question of how we make best use of this media even while it is changes the very role of media.

Video #2: Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine editor, discusses free books or book content wrapped around paid books. It links to his new book called Free: The Future of a Radical Price. This book is scheduled to be available from Amazon on July 7, 2009. That is 3 days from now.

As Anderson points out, there are many ways to offer free materials while still making money. There are now free e-books that come with a printed book you pay for, free e-book excerpts, and free e-books before the release of a book or months after it. There are also free audio files of a book, either the abriged or unabridged versions. He recommends giving away the unabridged versions since people are busy and will more likely listen to the abridged version since they have minimial time. He poses many delightful ideas about what free actually means, especially in relationship to the music and publishing industries.

Cool ideas. I may need to rethink how I will market the free e-book extension of my The World is Open book when it comes out in a month or two. The hardcover will be out in a couple of weeks.

Video #3: There is an earlier 3 minute video from Chris Anderson is embedded in an article in Wired Magazine from last year. It is quite thought provoking and captivating. He points out that technology is becoming increasingly cheap and in many cases, free. What happens when technology is free or nearly so? Anderson discusses the ramifications of this.

I would like to know what happens when educational contents that can be put in such free devices are also free? Might we all become perpetually learning human beings?

Chris Anderson, ‘‘Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business,’’ Wired (Feb. 25,

Cool stuff!!! I discuss Anderson's ideas at the beginning of Chapter 4 of my The World is Open book. I had briefly interviewed him for the book.

In addition to these videos, there is a review of Anderson's book in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell, July 6, 2009, Priced to Sell: Is free the future?. Gladwell poses some insightful questions about this notion of freeness. When you read the review or Anderson's book, think about open education and ideas related to it becoming increasingly free. Perhaps not.

Finally, this morning my friend, Dr. Abtar Kaur at the Open University of Malaysia sent me this short and interesting article on open education from Marshall (Mike) Smith, formerly of the Hewlett Foundation and now Senior Council to the Secretary of Education. This article provides a splendid history to the open educational resources (OER) field.

Marshall S. Smith, Opening Education, Science 2 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5910, pp. 89 – 93.

So should learng be free and open? Can it be? I am not so sure after watching these videos and reading these articles. Yet, I remain a tad hopeful that it can be more accessible and affordable by millions who do not currently have much in the way of educational opportunities.

Happy 4th of July to my American friends. Happy Canada Day to those north of us (I know I am 3 days late). And Happy Happy Days to everyone else. And for those still grumpy, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY days to you!!!!!!!
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The World is Open for a Reason: No, Make that 30 Reasons!
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Lots of online learning news in the online Chronicle of Higher Education today including an article from an Education Department report that showed that online learning may have better results than face-to-face learning. This is a meta-analysis of the research on online and blended learning. What is interesing to me is that of the 1,100 or so odd relevant empirical studies they found from 1996 to 2008, only 46 had "sufficient data to compute or estimate 51 independent effect sizes."

T.H.E. Journal picked up this story as well showing the importance of blended learning today. In fact, T.H.E. cites U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, saying that "This new report reinforces that effective teachers need to incorporate digital content into everyday classes and consider open-source learning management systems, which have proven cost effective in school districts and colleges nationwide." This appeared in a statement that came out with the release of the report. So now he suggests the need to expand broadband access and online learning to more communities across the U.S.

If that story makes ya yawn or is old news, David Wiley had a highly interesting and apparently somewhat controversial piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education as well about "The Parable of the Inventor and the Trucker." This one generated much discusion. See the comments below the article. I will side with David. See my eLearn Magazine article noted below for why that is that case.

While all this was going on, AACE (The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education) announced a new Social Media Seminar Series. George Siemens and David Cormier will be offering monthly sessions the 2nd Tuesday of each month. AACE also announced a social networking group in Ning for the E-Learn Conference in Vancouver in October. I joined in to bring the total to 17 people. I am sure it will soon have hundreds like the AACE created back in February for a virtual conference. There was also a Ning group for Ed Media last week in Honolulu. Ed Media was fun. E-Learn will return to Hawaii in 2011. I am counting down the days already.

Then late this afternoon, I had an article published in eLearn Magazine about online sharing that might be of interest. The article includes 10 reasons why institutions and organizations share educational content online as well as 10 why instructors share. It ends with 10 why learners would use any of it—-especially those currently unemployed. Wrapped around those three lists is an explanation of how I came to write my book, The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education (a brief 4 year running history of how it came to be) as well as bit of the field of OpenCourseWare and the open educational resource (OER) movement.

Note that this article was written first as ideas in my TravelinEdMan blog a month or so ago. Then I expanded it for the upcoming free e-book extension of my "The World is Open" book. Now the bulk of it is in this eLearn piece.

Here is the reference: Bonk, C. J. (2009, July). The World is Open for a Reason: No, Make that 30 Reasons! eLearn Magazine. Available: and

So if anyone asks why people share online content, you can now perhaps cite 30 reasons. At the very least, you should have 2 or 3 now. perhaps that will be enough.

That should give you enough to read today. It was enough for me. Now printing the Education Department report. Time for a late night run. What a day!
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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.

See my complete profile

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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