Stephen Downes (born April 6, 1959) is a designer and commentator in the fields of online learning and new media. Downes has explored and promoted the educational use of computer and online technologies since 1995. Downes was a presenter at the February 2007 Online Connectivism Conference. In 2008, Downes and George Siemens designed and taught an online, open course reported as a "landmark in the small but growing push toward 'open teaching'" - widely considered the first Connectivist Massive open online course (MOOC).
Born in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) Downes lived and worked across Canada before joining the National Research Council of Canada as a senior researcher in November 2001. Currently based in Moncton, New Brunswick, Downes is a researcher at the NRC's Institute for Information Technology's e-Learning Research Group.
Downes was the winner of the Edublog Award for Best Individual Blog in 2005 for his blog OLDaily. Downes is Editor at Large of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.
Downes ran for Mayor of Brandon in 1995, when he was working at the Assiniboine Community College. A member of the New Democratic Party, he ran on a platform to the left of incumbent mayor Rick Borotsik.
- Kinney, Duncan (September 2010). "An Open Education Primer: What you need to know about the future of post-secondary education". Unlimited Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- University of Manitoba: Learning Technologies Centre
- Parry, Marc (August 29, 2010). "Online, Bigger Classes May Be Better Classes". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "NRC Experts and Staff: Stephen Downes". National Research Council of Canada. April 16, 2003. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "2005 Edublog Awards".
- International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning Editorial Board Retrieved on 2010-09-02.
- Bud Robertson, "Election-Profile-Brandon", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 October 1995, A1.