Publishing open education in open journals has many advantages. For instance, people are less likely to call you a hypocrite...or so I hope.
Are you interested in the developing world or open education? MOOCs? Are you new in your career? Are you an oldtimer with much wisdom and knowledge? Are you just looking for a journal to publish in? Well, then, try the relatively new journal called the Journal of Learning for Development (JL4D): http://www.jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d. This journal comes from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) in Vancouver. My fantabulous friend Sanjaya Mishra from COL is one of the lead people on it. Thanks Sanjaya (see his COL bio)!
My most excellent colleague, Mimi Lee from the University of Houston, and I have a mixed methods research article in the current issue if JL4D that came out last week. It is open access.
Bonk, C. J., & Lee, M. M. (2017). Motivations, achievements, and challenges of self-directed informal learners in open educational environments and MOOCs. Journal of Learning for Development, 4(1), 36-57. Retrieved from http://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/195/188.
The article stems from research on informal and self-directed learning that I conducted with participants to my MOOC with Blackboard several years ago. It is great to have this research published finally. I have informed my friends at Blackboard as well as my former TAs who helped with this project. They are all delighted.
You might want to explore the Table of Contents (TOC) for that entire issue (or here). Below is the title, abstract, and keywords from that article:
"The Journal of Learning for Development provides a forum for the publication of research with a focus on innovation in learning, in particular but not exclusively open and distance learning, and its contribution to development. Content includes interventions that change social and/or economic relations, especially in terms of improving equity.
JL4D publishes research articles, book reviews and reports from the field from researchers, scholars and practitioners, and seeks to engage a broad audience across that spectrum. It aims to encourage contributors starting their careers, as well as to publish the work of established and senior scholars from the Commonwealth and beyond."
If you are coming, please let me know. This looks like a great event! More info:
I hope to see you there.
As per usual, I've been working a bit during winter break. Good news....I guess. The spring of 2017 version of the famed "Monster Syllabus" for R678 Emerging Learning Technologies has been reawakened, revived, and rejuvenated, is now available for anyone to explore, use, share, expand, debate, etc. While it had expanded to 75 pages a few years ago and then contracted to something much more reasonable last year. Much has been added in from the happenings of the past year and a few things revived from prior semesters. For the spring of 2017, the monster now stands at a mere 63 pages.
I added back in augmented reality, virtual reality, and gaming; which I had deleted a couple of years ago. I also found many new research articles and news items (i.e., tidbits). And I included a bit on artificial intelligence to the end of the course (for possible mainstream addition next time). See below for links to the 16 designated weeks of the course.
Direct Navigation Links:
Skip to Week 1. (January 9) Introduction to the Open World: Visionaries and Visions
Skip to Week 2. Alternate Reality Learning: AR, VR, Gaming, and Simulations (Explore Week #1)
Skip to Week 3. The Sudden Explosion of E-Books and E-Book Readers
Skip to Week 4. The Expansion of Blended and Fully Online Learning
Skip to Week 5. Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning
Skip to Week 6. Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)
Skip to Week 7. Open Education and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Skip to Week 8. More MOOCs and Open Education Around the World
Skip to Week 9. Motivation in Informal and Self-Directed Online Learning Environments (including online language learning) (Explore Week #2)
Skip to Week 10. Connectivism, Social Media, and Participatory Learning
Skip to Week 11. Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing (Explore Week #3)
Skip to Week 12. Shared Online Video and Audio (Explore Week #4)
Skip to Week 13. Flipping the Classroom
Skip to Week 14. Interactive, Global, and Collaborative Learning (including learning spaces, etc.)
Skip to Week 15. Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning
Skip to Week 16+. Networks of Personalized Learning and AI Agents
I have been teaching this course for more than a quarter century. It has evolved from a course mostly about the psychology of learning with technology to one that discusses a series of prominent technology tools and resources. There are dozens and dozens of articles, videos, websites, technology tools, e-books, etc., just waiting for you to explore in the spring 2017 syllabus. In addition, you can explore every prior syllabus (see the Web links below). Much more is in the monster syllabus itself. See first link below for the latest incarnation of the monster.
I look forward the spring class. Anyone is welcome to sit in. It is on Monday nights at 7:00-9:45 pm in Room 2101 of the Indiana University (IU) School of Education. Stop on by. If you do, perhaps you will be seeing monsters in your sleep.
- Spring 2017: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R678_Spring_of_2017.htm
- Spring 2016: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R678_Spring_of_2016.htm
- Spring 2015: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R678_Spring_of_2015.htm
- Spring 2013: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Spring_of_2013.htm
- Fall 2012: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2012.htm
- Spring 2012: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Spring_of_2012.htm
- Fall 2011: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2011.htm
- Fall 2010: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2010.htm
- Fall 2009: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2009.htm
- Fall 2008: http://mypage.iu.edu/~rwadholm/R685/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2008.htm
- Fall 2007: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/R685-Fall-2007.htm
- Fall 2005: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/syllabus_p600_and_r685_fall_of_2005.htm
- Fall 2003: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/p600syl2.htm
- Fall 2002: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus--2002.html
- Fall 2001: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/P600-R685-2001.htm
- Fall 1999: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/P600-R685-1999.htm
- Fall 1997: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/P600-R685-1997.htm
- Spring 1995: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/P600-R685-1995.htm
- Fall 1990: http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-evolution-of-monster-22-years-of.html
By the way, back in September 2012 (a little over four years ago), I made a blog post that included more of the history related to this course. Feel free to explore it. If you do, you can see what topics were hot back in 1990…some of which remain important today. Perhaps in three or four more years (i.e., the Year 2020), I will provide another glimpse of the history of this course. Perhaps it will have a another new and improved title. And perhaps someone else will be teaching it. Time will tell.
Reference: Bonk, C. J., & Khoo, E. (2014). Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online. OpenWorldBooks.com and Amazon CreateSpace. Note: Free eBook available at: http://tec-variety.com/
Here is a list 10 advantages and 10 disadvantages of a free self-published book. See what you think of these items. Please enjoy some TEC-VARIETY.
- Impact: Life impact. The ideas in the book related to teaching and learning can impact others around the world. And perhaps there will be some life impact or personal change from a few of them. There is also the potential for curriculum impact, resource impact, innovation impact, etc.
- Longevity: Longevity of ideas. Someone could find or use or modify this book long after the authors are gone. Digital archivists and educators might stumble upon this book centuries from now.
- Rural and Disadvantaged: A free book helps people in the developing world learn new content. In addition, teachers and course designers can ramp up online and blended course development.
- Control: This IS the big one. The authors can design and change things how they want. Use the book titles and subtitles that they want and the examples that they want. And, yes, 2-3 experts peer reviewed the book just like another publisher (e.g., Jossey-Bass/Wiley) would have done.
- Experiment: It is an experiment. The authors can learn what works. We can practice marketing skills. We can share with others about self-publishing. We can start OpenWorldBooks.com. And we can continue the experiment with the next book.
- Less to Pack: Less guilt when someone has a request or when you visit a country with no gifts. I can always give people this book (or at least the link to download it).
- Fun and Novel Invitations: The authors can trade book royalties for interviews, discussions, invited panels, consultations, and speaking invites.
- Parting or Meeting Gift: It is something the authors can give to students, guests, and visiting scholars. I can send to anyone who visits or calls to interview me on the phone.
- Growing Network: The network of contacts around the world expands.
- Reputation: It brings attention to author reputation or brand and everything else that one does.
- Personal Time and Effort: This project has been my baby for a long time. And I made it free? This was not just 3 years in the making. I had an IST master’s student collect articles 7 years before completion. And Vanessa Dennen and I discussed a possible book on online motivation 14 years prior.
- Cost: The authors spent much out of pocket money designing and developing this book. Proofreaders, researcher assistant, Web designer and programmer, copy editor, editors, indexer, formatter, graphic designer, publisher, and website costs. It was not insignificant (I’m happy to share the costs via email).
- Potential for Failure and Looking Foolish: It could backfire and no one could find out about the book. If that happens, one could look foolish.
- Perceptions of Self-Published Book: People might think that it is low quality since it is being given away for free. The author reputation could take a hit. Some scholars/academics might look down on someone who self-publishes.
- Piracy and Plagiarism Battles and Legal Fees: People could more easily plagiarize this book. They could copy it, sell it, and post it online. There could be many moles to whack via attorney letters.
- Fairness to Self (i.e., potential for psychological and physical problems): My body could tell me that I am an idiot after expanding so much energy to get this far and not get much in return.
- Fairness to Co-Author: My book writing colleague, Dr. Elaine Khoo, deserves some remuneration.
- Translation Negotiations: The authors have to negotiate book translations rights and contracts, instead of the publisher. Tough decisions have to be made about selling the book in another language or offering only free versions. It takes time to produce a new version of the book.
- Marketing and Dissemination Requirements: The authors have many ways to market the book with organizations that have hundreds of thousands of connections; however, they will lack the connections and networks of a major publisher (e.g., conference exhibits, newsletters, Website promotions, etc.).
- Future Expectations: In the future, how can the authors justify charging a fee for any book that takes less than 14 years to produce?
Writing anyone? How about publishing? I was at a conference last Friday at the University of Houston. It was titled "Education 20/20: Innovative Teaching and Learning at a Distance." My talk slides are posted. I did the opening keynote as well as a breakout session right after it and a discussion session.
Prior to the conference, my colleague, Dr. Mimi Lee, asked me to speak about writing and publishing to doctoral students in curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston last week. So I did. I also spoke on forming solid research questions. I crafted a two-page handout of these tips and suggestions which was handed out to the budding scholars in the audience. It is recapped below.
Question: Why did I label this part "Ten Years Before." Well, now, you will just need to read to the end, won't you? Aha.
You can find these 30 writing tips about a decade ago at my blog. I add explanations of each one and some pictures. Curt Bonk (2007, January 27). A Quick 30 Writing Tips for the Start of an Academic Career. TravelinEdMan (Blog), Note: This blog post was later re-published in: Curt Bonk (2010, April 2), 30 Writing Tips: Curtis J. Bonk offers advice for thestart of an academic career. Inside Higher Ed.
- Edit your papers a lot (but, in truth, better to be a Combiner than a Mozartian or Beethovenian).
- Get feedback.
- Stay current.
- Be part explorer.
- Be part bumblebee in gathering ideas from different places (and later part butterfly, moth, or bird).
- Be a voracious reader (and ponderer).
- Persist like an ant.
- Be creative in your figures, models, frameworks, charts, and graphs!
- Try to publish the paper or as a chapter before presenting at a conference (but after your conference proposal is sent in and accepted--i.e., do not scramble to write your conference paper at the last minute).
- Maintain a list and network of potential research and writing collaborators.
- Share your publication efforts.
- Find emerging areas to research that you are passionate about or at least interested in.
- Think ahead about the publishing potential of each project.
- Treat graduate students as colleagues.
- Find international and national colleagues to work with.
- Schedule time for writing.
- Have a plan or direction for the next few years and beyond--Goals are critical.
- Read a paper on how to create a writing plan.
- Use presentations as starter material.
- Get paid to write and research.
- Find professional balance.
- Find personal balance.
- Do not design too many new courses.
- Find a niche or direction for your research and drill down.
- Write all the time.
- Avoid high quality journal fixations.
- Quantity matters as well as quality (sometimes more so).
- You are just a grasshopper, so get a mentor and use him/her.
I then brainstormed 20 more writing and publishing tips since I first wrote that blog post (and article) about a decade ago. See below and let me know what you think. I labeled this part "Ten Years After" since the original list came "Ten Years Before."
- Find good people to work with: life is short - avoid egomaniacs and people who lie.
- Form research questions: Record gaps in research, find creative opening, keep tweaking,
- Mark days in your planner when you will be writing. Find or create chunks of time.
- Find, save, and use starter text where possible. Helps to overcome writer's block.
- Save research articles for a rainy day (i.e., create file folders of articles on different topics).
- Make both short term and long-term plans and goals. Review and revise those goals often.
- Perhaps draft a timeline or multiple timelines for your publications with flexible goals.
- Make a list of prominent journals (e.g., SSCI journals) and go after them one by one.
- Look for special journal issues that you might contribute to.
- Organize conference symposia which could lead to special journal issues and books.
- Get to know the journal editor(s). Write to the journal editors with questions.
- Look at the available journals and decide on the best 3 or 4 for your article.
- Always look at the reference section to see where people are publishing similar articles.
- Sponsor visiting scholars who want to work with you; they often have writing plans.
- Become second or third author sometime in order to spread your limited time.
- Listen to your colleagues and team and shoot for the journals to which they aspire.
- Recap the reviewer points and how you have attempted to address them.
- Be polite and thankful to the journal or book chapter editor(s).
- Review your CV/resume: check in process, in review, in press, and published articles and chapters. Remind yourself of your annual accomplishments. Remind yourself of your shortcomings.
- Celebrate your writing accomplishments with friends. These do not happen often enough.
Do you want more? If so, my splendid friend and colleague from graduate school days at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1980s, Dr. Cecil Smith, detailed a bunch of writing tips back in 2004 in a paper for the AERA conference in San Diego. I helped him out for some of them...see below. People interested in this paper can contact Cecil via email for a copy. Cecil is now the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University (where I worked a quarter of a century ago).
- Find a writing mentor-someone who is honest, direct, and quick with feedback.
- If you form a research team, commit to a time and place for weekly or monthly meetings.
- Identify good writing models in your field.
- Be careful being lured onto the research projects of others and senior faculty.
- Do your research and writing prior to your teaching and class preparation.
- Use bulletin board with push pins and index cards of writing projects to indicate progress.
- Set small writing goals for each week.
- If you must teach in the summer for the $$$, teach short or intensive courses.
- Try to familiarize yourself with the journal and the manuscript style and format.
- Find a direction for your writing. Rework dissertation to the gleast publishable unit.h
- Do not be afraid to call a senior person in your field for advice.
- Think about multiple papers from one project; e.g., publish both the research AND the model.
- If you find a niche area, keep publishing in it; go deep! Applied and theoretical articles is fine.
- Try not to ever give up on a piece of writing. Persistence and grit wins the day.
- But still be willing to cut your losses and move on when needed.
- Avoid doing too many conference presentations. Finish your papers first.
- Get an effective laptop, tablet, or writing device for writing on planes and in airports and cafes.
- Try not to feel guilty declining a committee or other service or requests.
- Get grants and inquire about other sources of funding to give you time off to write.
- Attend workshops on grant writing.
- Find small pots of money from university for small projects and start-up research.
TravelinEdMan is in Seoul at the moment. It is a short trip. I got here Monday night. I head home tomorrow. Yesterday, I gave the keynote speech at E-learning Week at Coex. I was asked to speak about the Fourth Industrial Age (more info on it; see the Davos Reader). At the start of the talk, I spoke on self-driving cars and planes, robotics, 3-D printing, augmented intelligence, artificial intelligence, and much more. Below is the abstract that I came up with. My slides are posted.
I met many high ranking education ministers and officials yesterday before the ribbon cutting ceremony (e.g., the Vice Minister of Education, the President of the Korea Council for Online Universities, the Vice Minister of Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, etc.). Today there are many presentations on virtual reality and gaming. I was fortunate to be part of the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Based on feedback from others, I think my talk went well despite the internet connection on their laptop lapsing just when I went up to speak (after testing it for 2 hours). I had many videos loaded. I ended up showing a few of them after the Internet connection came back. I also had to deal with 50 minutes for my keynote instead of 60 minutes as we did not start right away (that happens, but this was a new talk with much in it so it was tough to adjust this time). Another problem was that the 60 TEC-VARIETY books that I sent to the conference did not arrive. I wanted to give them away to people at the end of my talk. Darn.
Here is the abstract of my talk.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Meets the Fourth E-Learning Revolution
Abstract: Over the past few centuries, humankind has entered and exited a series of industrial ages from the age of steam and water power to the immense benefits of electricity and efficient assembly line workers to the tremendous life enhancements from computers and pervasive automation. Now we are on the cusp of the fourth industrial age related to cyber physical systems with extensive physical, biological, digital, and educational implications. It is in this age that we now are witnessing hyper-accelerating advancements in robotics, mobile supercomputing, artificial intelligence, drone technology, autonomous vehicles, and much more. Similarly, in education, after just two decades of Web-based learning, we have entered the fourth phase or wave of e-learning. Interesting, each of the four waves of e-learning have come exactly seven years apart. First was the establishment of Web browsers and learning portals, brought about by Web search companies like Netscape which was founded on April 4, 1994. Seven years to the day later, MIT announced the OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement on April 4, 2001 and the age of open education was spawned. Another seven year span resulted in the first massive open online courses (MOOCs) in 2008. Now we enter the fourth phase of e-learning involving the personalization of e-learning. This is the age where mentors, tutors, experts, colleagues, and instructors can appear instantaneously on a mobile device. As with the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, there is immense change around the world today related to new forms of learning typically involving technology in the fourth phase of e-learning. In fact, there are three megatrends related to learning technology today: (1) technologies for engagement; (2) technologies for pervasive access; and (3) technologies for the personalization and customization of learning. To better understand these new forms of learning delivery, Professor Bonk will discuss these three megatrends as well as his recent research on the personalization of e-learning. Along the way, insights will be offered into where the fourth industrial revolution bumps into and fuels the fourth e-learning revolution.
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I will try to post some pictures from my involvement in e-Learning Week here in Korea later.
What happens ever summer? Answer: A trip or two to my roots in Wisconsin. And one such trip is coming up next week. Hooray!
I cannot wait to go to Milwaukee (where I was born) and the University of Wisconsin Madison (where I went to graduate school). I am heading up Monday morning for the 32nd Annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison August 9-11. There is no better place than Madison and Milwaukee in the summer. So many festivals in Milwaukee. And such a delightful ambience in Madison in the summer. I miss that place every day.
My car (a 2004 blue Honda Pilot) will eventually be quite full. Full of MOOCs books to give away at the conference and many suitcases and dishes for my brother Richard. And full of people. First, I will pick up my former student Dr. Minkyoung Kim in Bloomington. We will drive through Chicago (the mess that it is) and pick up Dr. Tom Reeves from the University of Georgia in the Milwaukee airport Monday afternoon. We will stay a night in Milwaukee so I can show them around places like the Milwaukee Art Museum. I will also show them the house in West Allis (2468 S. 94th Street) that I grew up in on the west side of Milwaukee. Unfortunately, it is presently for sale (check out my old house; see also pictures below). My mom passed away back in December and my sisters and brothers are now selling it. This will likely be the final time that I see my old house and neighborhood. Sadness. I will come back to Milwaukee on Friday to drop off Tom Reeves at the airport and then go to the State Fair with one of my brothers (Richard) and best friend Stan Lowe. It is an annual pilgrimage.
There is much to do at the conference in Madison. I have been prepping for weeks. I have a spotlight session on the personalization of MOOCs. And I have another spotlight session on how to use Web and videoconferencing to bring in experts, former students, and others to one's classes and events. Third, I have been asked to introduce the recipient of the Charles and Mildred Wedemeyer Award for Distance Learning Practitioner. I was fortunate to receive the award two years ago and so I have been asked to be involved this year. And fourth, I am on a closing panel. These events are detailed below.
Let's start with the ending panel. There are tons of brilliant people coming this year as keynote, spotlight, and invited speakers. I am truly impress with the work that my friends Les Howles and Kimary Peterson have put into this year's event. Many of these people will join me on the conferencing closing panel, Stumble, Fall Rise Again: From Failure to Transformation Change. During that panel, we will all relate stories where things did not work out as planned. It should be fun. Many of my friends and colleagues are also on the panel; they include, Ellen Wagner, Simone Conceicao, Michael G. Moore, Tom Reeves, Darcy Hardy, Ray Schroeder, and Michelle D. Miller. Les Howles will moderate it. Many of these people will join me for dinner on Tuesday night at the Great Dane Pub and Brewery restaurant in Madison near the Capital.
Note: The snippet below "And the State of E-Learning is..." comes from the introductory section of a journal article that just went to press. Part of it had to be cut due to length (I tend to write too much!). Oh well. The article that I wrote is based on a keynote talk (Education 3.0: The Learning World of Middle Earth is Fast Changing!--see slides) that I gave in April 2016 at the DEANZ conference (now called FLANZ or the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand). By the way, can join FLANZ.
Bonk, C. J. (2016). What is the state of e-learning?: Reflections on 30 ways learning is changing. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 20(2), 6-20. Available: http://jofdl.nz/index.php/
There is a second piece of that article that was also cut entitled "From Men on Stilts to Bill Clinton." I blogged on it this morning (in part since Bill Clinton just spoke at the Democratic Convention). I recommend that you click the link above and read through that blog post after you read the information below. I should point out that my most excellent colleagues, Dr. Noeline Wright and Dr. Elaine Khoo, ran the conference and are now editing the special journal issue. You will find their pictures below.
Thanks so much Elaine and Noeline. By the way, you may recognize Elaine's name as co-author with me of the "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY" book with me (free copy of e-book). And you might recognize Noeline's name as a chapter contributor to my 2006 book, The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs.
See below for the main part of my second blog post of the day...
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As an education professor and former accountant, I was not used to all this hype or the amount of money being tossed around so freely. What I soon realized is that the phrase of the day was “burn rate,” and they were all attempting to “outburn” the competition. It was burn, baby burn! That was the time when companies were flush with money or venture capital from someone else. Employers also created their own jobs and job titles. Many of these companies were showcasing quite exciting ideas, but unfortunately were short on viable products. Something had to cover up that fact. It was a giant shell game. In addition to magicians and attractive booth attendants, there was expensive signage and colorful handouts, none of which fostered the learning of the people of this planet.
Some Fond AERA Memories:
As happens this time of year, proposals are coming due in a week for the AERA (American Educational Research Association) conference. This year it will be in San Antonio (see call for proposals). It will be held April 27, 2017-May 1, 2017. San Antonio should be a fun venue with the river walk areas and great restaurants.
I have been going to AERA since 1987 when it was in DC. I was a master's student at the University of Wisconsin at the time. I drove from Madison with my colleague Tom Reynolds and one other graduate student colleague. I think it was perhaps a 17 hour drive in my little red 1981 Honda Civic. Tom and I alternated driving down I-94 in Wisconsin, I-65 in Indiana, I-70 in Ohio, and so on. But we got there in time for a Goodwill party (i.e., you had to wear clothes from a Goodwill store). We stayed at my sister's house in Arlington, VA.
In effect, this will be my 30 year anniversary for AERA. My research team and I are fast at work on an AERA proposal (or 2) related to the personalization of MOOCs. We also touch on cultural sensitivity in MOOCs. Yesterday, we sent a relatively short survey in SurveyMonkey to over 1,000 MOOC instructors on this topic. We have 90 replies thus far. I never used SurveyMonkey before but I am impressed which its data collection and analysis features. As the original founder of SurveyShare, I can say that I am unbiased in this regard. I no longer own SurveyShare, however.
AERA Proposal Writing Workshop (University of Houston):
Over two weeks ago (back on Monday June 27), several of my doctoral students (Justin Whiting, Verily Tan, and Najia Sabir) and I presented on an online panel to graduate students at the University of Houston who were in a workshop related to AERA proposal writing. The session was run by my splendid colleague, Dr. Mimi Lee at the University of Houston. Mimi had requested that we come in and present to her room full of CUIN (Curriculum and Instruction) students for about an hour or slightly longer.
Given that I was visiting my son in Portland at the time and my graduate students were in Indiana and Dr. Lee's students were in a classroom in Houston, we connected using Zoom. Fortunately, Zoom worked flawlessly. I love Zoom. The Zoom file from the session has since been converted to a YouTube video. A screen shot from the session is below.
Not only did Zoom work, but the session went superbly as well. And we all had lots of fun and shared many stories and laughs. In the process, Mimi's students asked several insightful questions; most (or all) of which we had answers for. If you are interested in our advice or suggestions, Najia has already blogged (Help! How do I write a good AERA proposal?) on the points that she and Verily and Justin made (which were excellent...again, see the YouTube link above). It was super-fantabulous to have the three of them join me for this event.
I list my items of advice below. Most of these points are self-explanatory. Some are perhaps more important than others.
More AERA Reflections:
I also sent Mimi many of my accepted as well as rejected proposals from the past which she could share with her workshop participants; many included the reviewer feedback and comments. Before sending, I did some digging through my old Word 5.0 files. I found one AERA proposal that I wrote back in 1991. It was on metacognition and writing and the Index of Writing Awareness (IWA) that I had created for my dissertation. I found another AERA proposal from the following year (1992) in San Francisco on a cooperative reading method that Debra Clark at the University of West Virginia and I developed called READERS ("READER, READERS: Who's the Most Effective Reader?" was the title of that particular proposal). At the time, I had done a review of cooperative reading programs around the world and designed the READERS method based on the best practices of several of them.
When searching my desktop files, I also found a rejected AERA proposal from 1993 on keystroke mapping of adolescent writing with my fabulous former WVU student Dr. Kevin Koury. Kevin is now a dean and an endowed chair at California University of Pennsylvania. Quite successful! He flies his plane from West Virginia over here to Indiana from time to time to have lunch with me.
If interested, you can find these three old AERA proposals from the 1990s in Dropbox (1991, 1992, and 1993). I could not find my earlier ones but I did find a my first AERA conference paper from 1988 (see below). Of course, I also found a few proposals from the last few years (some accepted, some rejected). Write to me if you want to see any of these examples.
Sidenote: My first AERA conference paper was from 1988 in New Orleans. It was related to my master's thesis at the University of Wisconsin wherein I attempted to enhance student's critical and creative thinking used computer-assisted instruction (CAI) software and other prominent software packages and "cutting edge" learning tools (the link is below to that ERIC Document). See Table 1 at the end of the paper for some mind-blowing memories of what was available at the time for divergent and convergent thinking (e., Moptown Hotel, Newsroom, Recycling Logic, Rocky's Boots, Logic Builders, Facemaker, Certificate Maker, Story Maker, Think Quick, Puzzle Tanks, The Factory, Dazzle Draw, Kid Writer, The Print Shop, Songwriter, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, The Pond, Gnee or Not Gnee, etc.). These were interesting times. I talk about this phase of educational technology in Chapter One of my book, "The World is Open."
I had high hopes of impacting children's critical and creative thinking from a short summer computer camp. But such hopes were justified, at least to some degree. I had accumulated some 22 divergent thinking skill software packages (for Group 1) and 22 convergent thinking skills packages (for Group 2). It took me a couple of months to obtain all of these packages. Amazingly, I knew how to use all of these software tools...back in the day. Fortunately, all of these packages were donated by the various companies/vendors (e.g., Sunburst, Scholastic, Mindscape, DLM, The Learning Company, Broderbund, and Spinnaker) to the schools that I was working with at the time. I rotated between 3 of the 4 summer camps for kids which were using them (schools in Lake Mills, Lodi, and Belleville, Wisconsin). I had to drive about 60-75 minutes to each of the 3 camps each day; Lake Mills in the early morning; Lodi around lunch time; and Belleville (the land of flying saucers and beer) in the late afternoon. What a day! The 4th computer camp was held in Ripon, Wisconsin to the northeast.
What a fantastic learning experience! And the paper is still available as an ERIC Document after all these years. Wow. My very first AERA paper. And, hence, technically, it is my first publication. Humm...
My very first AERA paper (using research from my master's thesis):
Check it out! That was my first AERA presentation. I gave that talk around April 7, 1988 (Note: I had defended my master's thesis a few months prior back in December 1987).
My very first AERA presentation:
Bonk, C. J. (1988, April). The effects of convergent and divergent computer software on children's critical and creative thinking. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting, New Orleans.
I remember that conference well. For one session, I sat in the back of a gigantic room with my colleague Tom Reynolds for a hugely attended invited talk from the famous instructional psychologist Robert Gagne from Florida State University. It was a highly memorable talk, in part, since he arrived late and was not in a happy mood. Many educational psychology dignitaries like Gavriel Salomon were in the audience and also in the back of the room near me (I was reading Dr. Salomon's work on the Reading Partner and Writing Partner at the time...which impacted my dissertation).
Time flies. Just 15 months after that first AERA presentation of mine in New Orleans, I defended my dissertation and my son arrived from Korea (three days before my defense back in mid July 1989). Oh the memories. Suffice to say, I tried to be in grad school for as short of a time as humanly possible (more specifically, it was 3 years, 6 months, 19 days, 14 hours, 32 minutes, and some odd seconds...for my master's and Ph.D. degrees).
AERA Proposal Writing Resources:
If you are looking to create a similar workshop, please note that AERA has some advice on writing successful proposals. They also have some tips and examples. Back in 1999, my colleague from grad school days at Wisconsin, Dr. Cecil Smith, wrote a valuable article on the strategies for writing successful AERA proposals. It was published in the Educational Researcher; a prominent journal in education. Cecil is now an associate dean for research at West Virginia University where I used to work a quarter century ago. He continues to do great things.
It was a great experience presenting to students at the University of Houston. I heard from Mimi Lee that the session went well. It is always great to reflect on one's life journey. This event definitely fostered such reflective processes.
I hope that some of the people reading this blog post can use some of the ideas above. Of course, there are many more that I could list and share. Feel free to write to me with questions. Best of luck with your AERA proposals! I hope to see you in San Antonio. Or perhaps in New York in 2018 or Toronto in 2019 (see Future Annual Meetings for AERA). Till then...
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