Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tonight - A True History of the MOOC

Join me today, Wednesday, September 26th, for a one-hour live and interactive webinar on the "true history" of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with Dave Cormier, Alec Couros, Stephen Downes, Rita Kop, Inge de Waard, and Carol Yeager. While a wave of courses from prominent universities are now labeled as MOOCs, we'll drill down on the connectivist roots of the early MOOC offerings and discuss the importance of the differences between them and the current breed.

Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and a portable .mp3 recording is at
Mightybell Space: Resources, videos, links, and conversation about the interview can be found HERE.

Dave Cormier is an educational activist, researcher, online community advocate and the Manager of Web Communications and Innovations at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has published on open education, Rhizomatic Learning, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Digital Identity, and practical classroom uses of virtual worlds.

His educational journey started in 1998 teaching little children to speak English. The pivotal moment of his career happened when he was teaching at Hannam University in South Korea in 2003 surrounded by the papers of 275 writing students and wondering if he had them all. That winter he started using discussion forums to bring all of his students together in a writing community (and to digitally keep track of their work) and he hasn’t looked back. He’s since helped organize online communities of teachers, spoken at events around the world and worked to understand how internet changes what it means to know. His educational exploration partners have included faculty and researchers from well-known universities, and lone teachers in small town classrooms. Some of them are even still talking to him.

Dave’s keynotes in the last couple of years have centred around how coming to know is a messy, imprecise process at once intensely individual and necessarily embedded in a community - Rhizomatic Learning. You can follow him on twitter at or follow his thoughts at

Dr. Alec Couros is a Professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. He has given hundreds of workshops and presentations, nationally and internationally, on topics such as openness in education, networked learning, social media in education, digital citizenship, and critical media literacy. His graduate and undergraduate courses help current and future educators understand how to use and take advantage of the educational potential offered by the tools of connectivity.

Stephen Downes works for the National Research Council of Canada where he has served as a Senior Researcher, based in Moncton, New Brunswick, since 2001. Affiliated with the Learning and Collaborative Technologies Group, Institute for Information Technology, Downes specializes in the fields of online learning, new media, pedagogy and philosophy.

Downes is perhaps best known for his daily nesletter, OLDaily, which is distributed by web, email and RSS to thousands of subscribers around the world. He has published numerous articles both online and in print, including The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), and E-Learning 2.0 (2005). He is a popular speaker, appearing at hundreds of events around the world over the last fifteen years.

Prior to joining the NRC, Downes worked for the University of Alberta as an information architect, and prior to that, as a distance education and new media design specialist for Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. This followed a decade of teaching experience both in person and by distance with Athabasca University, the University of Alberta, and Grande Prairie regional college.

Rita Kop: I currently work as an Associate Dean of Education at Yorkville University. I am involved in the design, development and maintainance of online educational programs, and in teaching and research of the learning experiences. I am also currently carrying out research of open educational practices, such as Massive Open Online Courses and am involved in research in learning analytics. The research entails the use of qualitative measures and data mining. A virtual ethnography was one of the recent methods I used, and the data analyses involved qualitative data mining and social network analysis of large amounts of learner data and research in the ethics of using ‘Big Data’ in research.

Till August 2012 I worked as a researcher at the National Research council of Canada on their Personal Learning environment Project. I left Swansea University in the UK for three years to work on the research and development of these PLEs. In Swansea I was assistant professor in the Department of Adult Continuing Education. Apart from research and teaching my remit there was to widen access to Higher Education through 'reaching in' activities of working with University departments in developing progression routes for non-traditional students. Prior to this I managed a number of large Widening Access outreach projects in South West Wales and the Valleys. These projects were dynamic collaborations between the department and community partners in South West Wales and often involved the use of technology. I developed their MA in Lifelong Learning programme.

My career in education started as a teacher and head teacher of an infant school in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands. I am interested in lifelong learning from early years to old age and am a bit of a nomad; I enjoy travelling and learning about people and cultures, not only in an educational context.

Inge Ignatia de Waard: At the moment I work as the elearning coordinator at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerpen (ITM), Belgium and I am involved in educational research with Athabasca University in Canada. I have been immersed in eLearning from 1999 onward, with ever increasing passion. After a rocky learning start right up to late twenties, I managed to end up with a background in IT and pedagogy. Thanks to many wonderful people and institutes I have had the privilege to speak on the subject of TELearning, MOOCs and mLearning across different continents. I am a firm believer in connecting with each other, so feel free to get into a conversation. For me MOOCs are an ideal way for organizing expert knowledge exchange, community strengthening and train-the-trainer options. Online resources: MobiMOOC course: eLearning blog: Twitter: @ignatia
LinkedIn: Presentations: Publications:

Carol Yeager: I am a practicing artist as well as a life long learner. I have been associated with SUNY since 1989. For 8 years I was traveling and teaching for ESC's International Programs in Europe, Greece and Lebanon. In addition to my life and travel as an artist, and my work with SUNY, I can also be found working on Broadway shows in Manhattan from time to time. I discovered long ago that moving targets are hard to hit - so I keep moving!! In my spare time I have been, to name a few other pursuits, a magazine editor, a designer, real estate agent, writer, paralegal, painter, carpenter and a farmer ... I have recently completed another graduate degree, an MS, through the ICSC program in Creativity and Change Leadership at SUNY/Buffalo State. Expanding my horizons as a life long learner offers great adventure now and for the future.


  1. I'm guessing that you don't really mean "constructivist roots" of MOOCs. They have Connectivism roots, don't they?

  2. I'm guessing that you don't really mean "constructivist roots" of MOOCs. They have Connectivism roots, don't they?

  3. Barry--so right! Corrected!


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