Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology & Associate Professor at Royal Roads University

Emerging Technologies in Distance Education book downloads: Three years later

Posted on December 2nd, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 20 comments

In July of 2010, I published Emerging Technologies in Distance Education with Athabasca University Press. The book was published in print (for purchase) and e-book (open access) format. In the spirit of openness, I shared the book’s download statistics, one year after publication. It’s time for an update. Here it goes…

Writing an academic book is not about royalties. I’m elated when people read my work, and the value of that is immeasurable. So, thank you to all of you who downloaded and read this book – and above all, thank you, once again, to all the authors who contributed to this volume.

The most recent download statistics, 3 years after publication, show that:

The download statistics, broken down by month, are as follows:

The book, or chapters of it, have been used in the following courses:

  • EDTECH 597: Social Network Learning, Boise State University (Fall, 2010)
  • EDU 7271: Information and Communication: Social and Conventional Networks, Northeastern University (Spring 2011, Fall 2011)
  • EDU 6407: Essentials of Multimedia for Distance Learning, Northeastern University (Spring 2011)
  • PLENK 2010: Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge, Athabasca University and the University of Prince Edward Island (Fall, 2010)
  • OLIT 538: E-learning Course Design, University of New Mexico (Fall, 2010)
  • EDUC60602: Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies, University of Manchester, UK (Spring 2011)
  • EDEE 203: Technology in Education, The Open University of the Philippines.
  • EDTC 6432: Computer Authoring, Seattle Pacific University
  • EDLD 871 Special Topics in Instructional Leadership: Focus on K-12 Virtual Schools, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Emerging Technologies to Improve Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Cape Higher Education Consortium (University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch, University of the Western Cape, Cape Peninsula University of Technology)
  • Exploring Personal Learning Networks: Practical issues for organizations (Fall 2013), Northwestern University
  • EDU-681100, Learning with Emerging Technologies: Theory and Practice,  (Fall 2013), State University of New York, Empire State College
[If you are using the book or chapters of it in courses that are not listed above, I'd love to hear about it!]


Udacity, MOOCs, hammers, and the problems of education

Posted on November 18th, by George Veletsianos in online learning, scholarship. 33 comments

Last week’s big news was that Udacity intends to switch its focus from higher education to corporate training. A number of colleagues have provided thoughtful responses to these news, including Michael Caulfield, Audrey Watters, Rolin Moe, George Siemens, and Bonnie Stewart.

Here’s my take on this development: Maslow once said: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” It seems that Udacity has discovered a solution and after realizing that it’s not a solution for the perils facing higher education, that solution is taken elsewhere. Reflecting on the xMOOC phenomenon it appears that this is a consistent approach. If MOOCs don’t work for X, they must work for Y, and if they don’t work for Y, they must work for Z.

I have drummed this tambourine in the past. This is educational technology history repeating itself. During the mid-90’s the instructional media/design field was engaging in The Great Media debate. In short, on the one side of the debate were individuals who argued that media do not influence learning outcomes. On the other side of the debate were individuals who noted that media provide affordances for learning. In the midst of the debate Tennyson (1994) noted the following:

I refer to this transition from scientist to advocate as the big-wrench approach to complex problem solution: The advocate, with the big wrench in hand, sets out to solve, suddenly, a relatively restricted number of problems. That is, all of the formerly many diverse problems, now seem to be soluble with the new big wrench (or panacea).

If educational technology companies (and Centers for Teaching and Learning) are eager to improve education, rather than searching for problems to apply their solutions, they should focus on identifying problems and designing solutions to those problems. Higher education may lack a lot of things, but what it does not lack are problems in need of solutions. Talk to any faculty member and ask: What problem are you facing in your teaching? Observe classrooms and see what things appear commonplace but hinder practice. For example, one of the projects that I had the good fortune to work on emanated from the observation that instructors asked students to borrow video cameras, record assignments, and return tapes to the instructor to watch and return feedback. This process usually took 6 weeks. We automated a lot of this process by developing an online assessment environment through which students recorded their assignments on webcam, instructors were notified of the availability of the video, and were then quickly able to student feedback. By eliminating the need for video cameras and tapes, and introducing an environment that addressed needs and problems, we were able to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the process and drastically reduce the amount of time by which students received their feedback.


Tennyson, R. D. (1994). The big wrench vs. integrated approaches: The great media debate. Educational Technology Research & Development, 42(3), 15–28.

Archived talk: Academics’ and Educators’ practices and experiences with social media/networks

Posted on November 16th, by George Veletsianos in emerging technologies, my research, scholarship. 7 comments

On Wednesday, I gave a talk to the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research focused on scholars’ (researchers and instructors’) practices and experiences with social media/networks on the open web. The feedback from the organizers was positive: “We had about 40 attendees, which is at the high end of our usual crowd, and their activity in the chat was much greater than usual – a very good sign. It was a great session, I’m pleased, and hopefully you enjoyed it as well.”

I had a great time, though I wish we had more time for questions and answers. If you are interested in the topic, the session was recorded and it’s now available for your use/viewing.  The slides I used appear below:

November 13 CIDER Presentation: What Do Academics and Educators Do on Social Media and Networks?

Posted on November 11th, by George Veletsianos in my research, open, scholarship. 35 comments

November 16, 2013 update: This presentation was recorded and archived.

Title: What Do Academics and Educators Do on Social Media and Networks, and What Do Their Experiences Tell Us About Identity and the Web?
Facilitator:   George Veletsianos
Institution:   Royal Roads University
Date and time:   Nov 13, 2013 10:00am PST (click here to convert to local time)
Where: Adobe Connect:

I am giving an open presentation to the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research. Don’t hesitate to join us if you have time and are interested on the topic! In this talk I will draw on empirical studies conducted by a number of researchers (including work by myself and Royce Kimmons) to examine academics’ and educators’ participation in networked spaces. These studies point to three significant findings: (a) increasingly open practices that question the traditions of academia, (b) personal-professional tensions in academic work, and (c) a framework of identity that contrasts sharply with our existing understanding of online identity.