Jon

Short biographies

I quite often get asked to provide a short biography for talks, program committees, etc, and usually have to ask how many words are needed. Here is a small selection to choose from:

Generic 75-word blurb

Jon Dron is a full professor and former Chair of the School of Computing & Information Systems at Athabasca University, Canada, and an Honorary Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Learning & Teaching at the University of Brighton, UK. He is a UK National Teaching Fellow, and author of Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media (2014, with Terry Anderson), and Control & Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose (2007). His personal website is at https://jondron.ca/


Generic 100-word blurb

Professor Jon Dron is a member of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute and former Chair of the School of Computing and Information Systems, Athabasca University (Canada’s open university). He is also an Honorary Faculty Fellow in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Brighton, UK. Jon has received both national and local awards for his teaching, is author of various award-winning research papers and is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences. Jon’s research in learning technologies is highly cross-disciplinary, including social, pedagogical, technological, systemic and philosophical aspects of technology and learning design & management.

Web: https://jondron.ca


Generic 200-word blurb:

Professor Jon Dron is a member of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute,  and former Chair of the School of Computing and Information Systems, Athabasca University. He is also an Honorary Faculty Fellow in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Brighton, UK, where he works on staff development in the area of technology-enhanced learning. Jon has received both national and local awards for his teaching, is author of various award-winning research papers and is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences in fields as diverse as education, learning technologies, information science and programming. With a first degree in philosophy, a masters degree in information systems, a post-graduate certificate in higher education and a PhD in learning technologies, Jon’s career has been diverse, included work in education, information systems, technology management, programming, marketing and several years as a professional singer. He is the lead architect behind The Landing (https://landing.athabascau.ca), Athabasca University’s social learning commons.

Athabasca University website: http://jondron.athabascau.ca

Personal website: https://jondron.ca


400-word blurb

Professor Jon Dron is currently a member of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute and former Chair of the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University. Jon is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK and an Honorary Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Learning & Teaching at the University of Brighton, UK. He is the author of “Control and Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose”, a theoretical examination of the dynamics of control in online learning that provides a basis for evaluating and designing social learning technologies, and lead author of  “Teaching Crowds: Learning & Social Media”, written with Terry Anderson, exploring ways people learn with and from others. Amongst other things he has:

  • Won five top paper awards at International conferences in Canada, Portugal and the US
  • Won the Editors’ Choice award for best paper of 2011 in the highly rated International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.
  • Won both teaching and research awards at Athabasca university.
  • Been a keynote speaker at international conferences in the US, Canada, Taiwan, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Pakistan, Chile, and Mexico, as well as being an invited speaker at numerous other national and international events.
  • Developed numerous software tools and environments for learning over a period of over 20 years.
  • Been the co-principal investigator on a range of projects with national, provincial and local funding of over $2M, as well as engaging as a researcher in many other funded projects.
  • Been on over 50 program committees for conferences and workshops, as well as co-chairing the AACE E-Learn 2009 and 2017 conferences, and serving on that conference’s executive committee.
  • Written/co-written over 100 peer-reviewed papers in journals and conferences, as well as many book chapters and two books.

Jon’s research in learning technologies is highly cross-disciplinary, including social, pedagogical, technological, systemic and philosophical aspects of technology and learning design & management. Prior to becoming a university teacher, Jon had a varied career that included working as a singer/entertainer, being a database programmer and supporting and managing IT facilities. He started his academic teaching career at the University of Brighton in 1997 and gained his PhD in the area of learning technologies in 2002 for work on self-organizing social learning environments. Amongst other achievements, he built the first social bookmarking tool designed for education, which was also the first educational system to employ tag clouds (though these did not have a name at the time). He created a number of online social learning environments such as CoFIND and Dwellings, and Athabasca Landing, employing self-organizing principles drawing on knowledge from fields as diverse as evolutionary theory, architecture and town planning, and economics. He is currently writing a two-book series on the nature of education and learning technologies.

Athabasca University website: http://jondron.athabascau.ca

Personal website: https://jondron.ca/

500-Word blurb

After a first degree in Philosophy at the University of Sussex, UK, Dr Jon Dron spent most of the next ten years singing for a living. He developed an interest in computers and learning, eventually leading to an MSc in Information Systems, where his dissertation was on Educational Multimedia. From there he went on to manage a technical support team at the University of Brighton, where he developed a series of innovative web-based learning technologies in the early 1990s. After being the technical lead on a project to develop Web authoring tools for teachers and acquiring a taste for academic research, he started a PhD with a working title of Getting Rid of Teachers. In fact, the work was much more about enabling everyone to be a teacher, leveraging the the vast numbers of people who could help one another to learn, individually and as a collectively intelligent teacher. The PhD centred around developing a self-organizing web-based application, CoFIND (collaborative filter in n-dimensions), which was perhaps the first open-corpus adaptive hypermedia system, one of the earliest uses of tag clouds, and one of the earliest uses of social navigation in a learning context. Shortly after starting his PhD, Jon became a lecturer at the University of Brighton. From the beginning, he made extensive use of the Web and other Internet technologies in his teaching. He eventually became a principal lecturer, and Head of Learning Environments, as well as leading programs in web-based systems and online learning. In 2005, he became a National Teaching Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Meanwhile, his research continued to evolve, gaining increasing recognition and awards. He published his first book, Control & Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose in 2007, providing theory, principles and patterns for effective online social learning. Later that year he joined Athabasca University, Canada’s online and open university, to work with many of the world’s leading online and distance learning researchers in the newly formed Technology Enhanced Learning (later ‘Knowledge’) Research Institute. At Athabasca University,  Jon is a full professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology and former Chair of the School of Computing & Information Systems. He has developed leading theories and models of online and distance learning, a social learning site known as The Landing, and many  teaching innovations. His last book, Teaching Crowds: Learning & Social Media (coauthored with Terry Anderson) was the culmination of two decades of work on online and social ways of learning. Since then he has been working on a grander endeavour, exploring and explaining the nature of education itself as a highly distributed, social, technological phenomenon. His latest book, How Education Works: Teaching, Technology & Technique, is under review, but you can read a summary of some of its main themes in his 2021 paper Educational Technology: what it is and how it works. Jon lives, works, and teaches at a distance from his home in Vancouver, BC.



Photos

On a boat in the rain
Jon Dron

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