Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Stephen Downes at UOW
April 3rd, 2009

I had the good fortune to attend a presentation given by Stephen Downes today at the University of Wollongong courtesy of the Faculty of Education. I once worked within the faculty as a member of the Interactive Multimedia Learning Laboratory a decade back. Much has changed within the faculty since those heady days. I digress. I live just a couple of kilometres away from the university by car.

It was good to bump into Ian Olney of the UOW as well as Gary Molloy from St Joseph’s at Hunters Hill and also Sui Fui John Mak of the Sydney Institute of TAFE. Gary and I later had a chat about activities at our respective schools. I also had the chance to catch up with Garry Hoban and meet Nicola Johnson, both of the Faculty of Education at the UOW. Nicola has blogged about the event as well.

Stephen with myself, Gary Molloy and Sui Fui John Mak

Garry Hoban, Stephen and Nicola Johnson

The title of Stephen’s presentation was Connectivist Learning and the Personal Learning Environment. As the abstract for the presentation set out Stephen spoke of the strategies that educators could employ to design learning for online delivery.

Stephen outlined the strategies employed by himself and George Siemens employed to conduct their Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course during the final quarter of last year. It was an interesting talk. Stephen’s presentation was personable, relaxed and enjoyable. Components of his presentation can be found within the body of these two recent presentations: 

The Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Course
Connectivism: A Theory of Personal Learning 

Stephen pointed out that the course attracted 2200 participants. He illustrated that the connectivist aspect of the process better suited courses with large enrollments as opposed to those with enrolments with, say, 30 students. It occurred to me that perhaps multiple tertiary institutions could deploy an approach to impart generic introductory course subjects. Faculty often teach those subjects when they have drawn the short straw. Staff could  focus on the more topic specific subjects once freed up from the mass delivery of course opening materials. Just an idea.

The key ideas and approaches can be garnered from Stephen’s presentations. An approach in which the connections between participants within an open environment facilitate learning and not a simple shoveling of data across a student cohort.

A number managed to share a quick cuppa and a bite to eat with Stephen following the presentation. A good afternoon was had by all.

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7 Responses to “Stephen Downes at UOW”

  1. Darcy Moore Says:

    John, I am very disappointed that missed this opportunity. Originally, I was going on Tuesday but the talk was cancelled and quite simply, I could not get away from my school on Friday afternoon.

    Thanks for your post, that’s covered it somewhat.

  2. Sui Fai John Mak Says:

    Hi John,
    Many thanks for taking and posting the photos. I am glad to meet you too.

  3. Ruth Howard Says:

    Hi I’m so grateful for the connectivism links here!

  4. Keith Lyons Says:


    Thank you for this post. I have managed to miss Stephen on this visit to Australia. I wonder how your practice might change as a result of your visit to the presentation and the subsequent discussions.

    Best wishes


  5. Gary Molloy Says:


    Nice to chat with you, some of your work sounded most interesting.



  6. » OLDaily per Stephen Downes, 3 d’abril de 2009 TIC, E/A, FER / PER…: Says:

    [...] En la foto estan també John Larkin, Gary Molloy i Sui Fui John Mak. John Larkin, Waztershed [L'enllaç] [Etiquetes: ample de [...]

  7. » OLDaily per Stephen Downes, 9 d’abril del 2009 TIC, E/A, FER / PER…: Says:

    [...] i aleshores els aplica a la descripció del disseny del curs i avaluació de com va anar. Cobert per John Larkin. Presentació per Stephen Downes, Xerrada convidada, Wollongong, Australia, [...]