Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning". At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years. Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
George Siemens is an internationally known writer, speaker, and researcher on learning, networks, technology and organizational effectiveness in digital environments. He is the author of Knowing Knowledge, an exploration of how the context and characteristics of knowledge have changed and what it means to organizations today, and the recently released Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning. Siemens is currently a researcher and strategist with the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca University. Previously, he was the Associate Director, Research and Development, with the Learning Technologies Centre at University of Manitoba. His research interests include social software, learning networks, emerging technology, learning analytics and visualization, and the design of organizations in response to social and technological change pressures. Together with Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier, Siemens has pioneered open connectivist courses that have included thousands of educators and students as participants. He is a frequent keynote speakers at conference detailing the influence of technology and media on education, organizations, and society. Siemens has maintained the elearnspace blog (www.elearnspace.org/blog) for ten years and www.connectivism.ca for five years.. Additional background information is available at www.elearnspace.org/about.htm.