Stephen Downes

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Stephen Downes
Downes in 2009
Born (1959-05-05) May 5, 1959 (age 65)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Alma mater
  • Philosopher
  • commentator

Stephen Downes (born April 6, 1959) is a Canadian philosopher and commentator in the fields of online learning and new media. He has explored and promoted the educational use of computer and online technologies since 1995.[1] He gave the 2004 Buntine Oration[2] and was a presenter at the February 2007 Online Connectivism Conference.[3] 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'"[4] - widely considered the first massive open online course (MOOC).

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Downes lived and worked across Canada before joining the National Research Council of Canada as a senior researcher in November 2001. Currently, he is a researcher at the NRC's Digital Technologies Research Centre in Ottawa.[5]

Downes was the winner of the Edublog Award for Best Individual Blog in 2005 for his blog OLDaily.[6] He is Editor at Large of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.[7]

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.[8]


  1. ^ Kinney, Duncan (September 2010). "An Open Education Primer: What you need to know about the future of post-secondary education". Unlimited Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  2. ^ Downes, S. (2004). "Buntine Oration: Learning Objects" (PDF). International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning. 1 (11): 3–14. ISSN 1550-6908.
  3. ^ University of Manitoba: Learning Technologies Centre Archived 2007-03-02 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Parry, Marc (August 29, 2010). "Online, Bigger Classes May Be Better Classes". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  5. ^ "NRC Experts and Staff: Stephen Downes". National Research Council of Canada. April 16, 2003. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  6. ^ "2005 Edublog Awards".
  7. ^ International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning Editorial Board Retrieved on 2010-09-02.
  8. ^ Bud Robertson, "Election-Profile-Brandon", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 October 1995, A1.

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