Campus Life

Author Curtis Bonk talks technology and education at the Fall Faculty Forum

By Lauren Haggett, University Communications

A crowd of more than 100 faculty members filled the theatre at the UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA)Tuesday to hear Curtis Bonk speak about how technology influences higher education. Bonk is the author of “The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education,” and he is a professor of instructional technology and adjunct in the School of Informatics at Indiana University.

Each fall, UWF hosts a faculty forum and invites each faculty member to prepare for the new school year. President Judith Bense kicked off the forum by giving a warm welcome to Bonk, as well as congratulating the faculty for playing a huge role in our recent distinctions from Forbes and The Princeton Review.

“This is going to be an exciting year, and I thank you all for being here today,” said Bense.

Bonk took the stage and immediately gained the attention of the crowd with his entertaining presentation. He covered topics relating to how technology has greatly transformed higher education and offered ideas for new learning tools to use in the classroom. Podcasting, video blogging (vlogging) and YouTube are all examples of blended learning, and Bonk claims studies show this is the most effective way of learning.

Craig Jones and John Platt, professors in the school of education, said they learned a lot from Bonk’s presentation and that it helped to expand their toolbox.

“We have already been using some of these tools in our classrooms,” said Platt. “Seventy-six percent of students taking courses in the school of education are online students.”

“Soon we will have the ability to do more in the way of technology and offer more opportunities for our students,” said Jones.

Bonk discussed how online tools such as Google Earth, YouTube and podcasts are providing people the opportunity to constantly learn.

“The web is a gigantic learning tool,” said Bonk. “Anyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime.”

Military members are getting MBAs while being deployed, thanks to mobile learning. Children in Africa who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS can receive virtual mentoring. A man running across the Sahara Desert can blog and vlog about his experience, virtually taking his viewers along for the ride. All of these scenarios are made possible by the advancements in technology.

“Being at UWF has been eye-opening,” said Bonk. “There are changes taking place here that mirror other universities I’ve been, and not just in new buildings and the appearance of UWF. There has been a lot of thoughtful integration with the use of technology and space.  As I walked around the campus, I thought to myself, “This is a place I could teach.”

“This year’s Fall Faculty Forum was outstanding,” said Provost Chula King. “The faculty were energized about what Curtis is talking about, and I’ve already heard them discussing new ideas and ways of teaching.”

For more information about Curtis Bonk visit,