IU professor to offer online teaching course

“Bonk is not a person who says, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’” said Chuck Carney, IU School of Education director of communications and media relations. “If you’re going to have a course on online education, it would seem like it would have to
be online.”

Coursesites, the online program Bonk uses, sponsored five free correspondence courses for online professors. Before registration opened, nearly 1,000 people had already indicated interest in the course. Bonk said the course will provide instruction on “fostering creativity, teamwork and provide the building blocks for effective learning.”

“If we recognize that millions of college kids are taking at least one class on the Internet, what percent of their professors have been trained in how to teach online?” Bonk said.

He estimated that 1 percent of professors have been taught how to accurately engage students online. Bonk said he was inspired to start this course by his experiences with online education. 

In 1986, Bonk was classically trained in the business field and had been working as a certified public accountant in Milwaukee.

But Bonk said he felt “very, very bored” by his profession and took correspondence courses to qualify for graduate school. He then attended University of Wisconsin-Madison and wrote “The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.” The book documents how technology has made learning a global practice.

“When he got this (opportunity), I joked with him, ‘Well, you are Mr. World is Open,” Carney said. “So, it seems like kind of a natural thing for him because this is what he has written about and this is what he has studied.”

Bonk estimated he gives more than 100 lectures about online education per year, with locations ranging from Iowa to the Philippines.

“This is going to be a lot easier than traveling,” Bonk said. “Now, I don’t have to deal with jet lag.”

The class will begin May 2, and the series is offered through May 20. Bonk said he credits IU with this opportunity.

“We’re a school of education,” Bonk said. “If this were going to happen any place, it would be IU. We’re a leader in technology.”

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