Professor Bonk of the IU School of Education will offer a free online course on teaching online: IU News Room: Indiana University

Last modification: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Professor Bonk of IU School of Education will offer a free online course on online teaching


April 24, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Curt Bonk, professor of instructional systems technology at Indiana University School of Education, will teach a free, open, five-week course on online education for a company that specializes in hosting online courses .

Curt Bonk, professor of instructional systems technology, at Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the place where Guglielmo Marconi received England’s first wireless message. Bonk says it was the first example of technology opening up the world.

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CourseSites, a site operated by educational software company Blackboard, unveils what it calls its “open course series” by having Bonk lead a session titled “Teaching Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success” on May 2, with four more sessions at 4 p.m. EDT each Wednesday through May 30. Free online registration is now open for the Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC. Before registration opened, nearly a thousand people had already expressed interest in the course.

The project is natural for Bonk, who wrote a recent book titled “The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education”, published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley. The book documents the many ways he says various technological innovations have made it possible “anyone can learn anything from anyone else at any time.”

“I smile a little when some of the ideas from the ‘World Is Open’ book come to life all around me,” Bonk said. “This is exactly the type of free and open global educational experience that I was highlighting in the book. I expect to learn a ton from those who enroll in the course and hope they will learn a few ideas as well. useful or interesting on my part.”

Bonk said Blackboard expects thousands of online instructors around the world to sign up for the course based on the rapid response. He said the course will be set up to show potential ways to teach while answering questions participants might have about their own online experiences.

“This course will start with low-risk, low-time activities, but will also include activities and ideas at the higher end of risk, time, and cost,” Bonk said. The first session will offer educational frameworks designed to help motivate and retain online students, while the second will help them adapt to different learning styles and help them develop problem-solving skills. Bonk also plans to give a session on critical and creative thinking as well as collaborative learning through online teaching.

The MOOC phenomenon is something Bonk knows about not just because of his research interests, but because of his teaching. Bonk participated in a panel discussion last summer in a course presented by the University of Illinois at Springfield that had 2,700 students worldwide. But he noted that some MOOCs have attracted thousands more.

“There was a course at Stanford last fall with over 160,000 people taught by two instructors,” he said. The success prompted one of the professors behind the course to start a new company specializing in MOOCs.

Such events provide further evidence of the open learning environment that Bonk talks about in “The World Is Open.” This work was inspired by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s best-selling book, “The World Is Flat,” which listed 10 “flatteners” leading to economic globalization. Bonk also listed 10 “openings” to the availability of education on the web. From now on, his own work will contribute more to this openness.

“I’m excited to teach the open course,” Bonk said, “and look forward to collaborating with others on ways to leverage technology in teaching and promote an approach to teaching more learner-centred.