! ! ! November!30,!2009! ! ! ! ! Dr.!James!McNinch,!Associate!Professor,!Dean! Faculty!of!Education,!University!of!Regina! 3737!Wascana!Parkway!! Regina,!Saskatchewan!!!! S4S!0A2!!!CANADA! ! !

Dear!Dr.!McNinch!and!members!of!the!ad!hoc!tenure!committee!for!Dr.!Alec!Couros,! ! An!unsolicited!letter!of!support!may!be!unusual!or!extraordinary!within!the!standard! protocol!of!tenure!review!for!the!Faculty!of!Education!at!the!University!of!Regina.!! However,!I!write!on!behalf!of!educators!and!learners!across!the!globe!to!state!with!full! confidence!that!Dr.!Alec!Couros!is!an!extraordinary!scholar!and!teacher.!!! ! Dr.!Couros!describes!himself!as!a!“scholar!within!a!vast,!global!learning!network.”!!He!is! also!fully!transparent,!open!and!social!about!his!teaching!and!learning,!thereby! influencing!the!thoughts!and!practices!of!educators!across!that!vast,!global!learning! network.!!In!fact,!as!one!of!the!many!nodes!on!that!network,!I!asked!other!learners!in! Dr.!Couros’!network!to!provide!data!on!what!they!have!learned!from/with!Dr.!Couros! and!how!they!have!shared!or!passed!that!learning!on!to!other!educator"learners.!! Specifically,!I!created!and!posted!a!brief!questionnaire!to!which!I!directed!networked! learners!through!Twitter!and!my!blog.!!In!other!words,!I!used!social!networking! technologies!to!solicit!external!review!data!from!learners!and!colleagues!of!Dr.!Couros.!! The!two!main!questions!posed!were:! ! ! What!have!you!learned!from/with!Alec!Couros?! ! In!what!ways!have!you!shared!what!you!have!learned!from/with!Alec!Couros?! ! Over!just!three!days,!55!individuals!responded!to!these!questions.!!Those!responses! came!from!places!across!the!globe,!including!Canada,!the!United!States,!South!Africa! and!Kazakhstan.!Figure!1!is!a!word!cloud!of!the!responses!to!the!first!question.! !

Figure!1.!What!have!you!learned!from/with!Alec!Couros?!

! It!is!quite!evident!that!Dr.!Couros!is!a!thought!leader!in!the!area!of!open!learning!and! open!education!given!the!affordances!of!educational!technology.!!To!complement!the! summary!word!cloud,!I!have!cited!some!notable!responses!below:! ! From!Dr.!Martin!Weller,!Professor!of!Educational!Technology,!The!Open!University! (Cardiff,!UK):!! “I!would!categorise!what!I!have!learned!from!Alec!as!threefold:! ! Resources:!There!are!many!resources!I!have!discovered!as!Alec!is!an!excellent! source!of!these,!ranging!from!videos!to!papers.!Most!people!in!your!network! share!resources,!but!Alec!is!particularly!active!in!this!and!would!count!in!my!top! five!of!useful!resource!gatherers.! ! Process:!Alec!has!been!a!useful!peer!in!rethinking!many!of!the!processes! associated!with!scholarship.!I!am!leading!a!research!project!on!'digital!scholarship'! which!is!examining!the!ways!in!which!new!technologies!are!impacting!upon!all! areas!of!scholarly!practice.!The!manner!in!which!Alec!runs!his!open!course,!gives! presentations!and!even!this!process!of!seeking!tenure!are!all!relevant!to!this!work. ! Dialogue:!Alec!forms!part!of!the!network!I!have!established!(with!people!I!have! never!actually!met),!who!are!engaged!in!a!loosely"coupled,!distributed! conversation!about!new!technologies,!scholarship!and!changes!in!the!education! and!other!business!models.!As!such!he!is!both!a!useful!resource!and!also!a!person! with!whom!one!develops!ideas.”

From!Ira!Socol,!doctoral!student!in!Special!Education!Technology!at!the!College!of! Education!at!Michigan!State!University!

“Dr.!Couros!has!been!a!strong!supporter!of!my!teaching!and!research!during!the! past!year!as!I!pursue!my!Ph.D.!in!Special!Education!Technology!at!the!College!of! Education!at!Michigan!State!University.!His!sharing!of!teaching!strategies!and! research!in!educational!technology!has!added!significantly!to!my!knowledge! base!and!my!practice,!impacting!both!my!dissertation!(on!the!subject!of!the! intersection!of!human!communications!technology,!education,!and!concepts!of! ability!and!disability)!and!the!ways!in!which!I!teach!CEP!452!at!MSU.”! ! ! Figure!2!is!a!word!cloud!of!the!responses!to!the!second!question.! !
Figure!2.!In!what!ways!have!you!shared!what!you!have!learned!from/with!Alec!Couros?!

Clearly,!those!individuals!who!have!chosen!to!learn!with!Dr.!Couros!are!using!Twitter! and!their!blogs!to!pass!along!what!Dr.!Couros!has!shared.!!It!is!also!apparent!that!Dr.! Couros’!work!is!being!disseminated!to!colleagues!and!students!across!the!globe.!!! !

Dave!Childers!is!a!principal!in!a!school!in!Fresno,!CA!(USA).!!He!wrote:!! ! ! ! “I!regularly!share!Dr.!Couros's!work!with!my!own!staff,!as!well!as!my!colleagues! ! on!Twitter.!!I!have!referred!individuals!to!his!blog,!recommended!that!staff! ! members!visit!and!utilize!resources!that!he!has!shared,!and!soon!I!will!include!all! ! of!his!work!as!reference!links!on!my!own!educational!technology!blog.”! ! ! Jeannine!St.!Amand,!a!mother!and!school!board!chairperson!in!Hanwell,!New!Brunswick! (CA)!wrote:! ! ! “I!have!shared!what!I!have!learned!by!encouraging!those!I!interact!with!to! ! demonstrate!their!own!learning!journey!to!others,!by!pushing!for!open!source! ! products!when!possible,!by!spreading!open!education!ideas!in!social!networks!I! ! participate!in,!by!encouraging!people!to!learn!more!by!attending!the!session!he! ! will!give!in!Saint!John,!NB!next!spring!” ! ! As!a!fellow!professor,!I!firmly!believe!that!Dr.!Alec!Couros!is!blazing!important!trails!in! academia!by!modeling!what!it!means!to!be!a!public!intellectual!in!the!21st!Century.!!He! frequently!speaks!and!writes!about!open,!social!learning!and!he!models!those!processes! as!well.!!That!is!evident!from!the!data!I!have!summarily!presented!above.!I!would!be! happy!to!share!the!complete!dataset!with!you!should!you!be!interested!in!knowing! more.! ! The!Faculty!of!Education!at!the!University!of!Regina!would!do!well!to!hold!on!to!Dr.!Alec! Couros.!He!is!a!pioneer,!a!visionary,!and,!more!than!anything,!a!co"learner!with! educators!across!the!globe.! ! Thank!you!for!taking!the!time!to!consider!this!letter!in!support!of!Dr.!Couros’!tenure! application.! ! ! Sincerely,! ! ! ! Jonathan!D.!Becker,!J.D.,!Ph.D.! Assistant!Professor! Department!of!Educational!Leadership!

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