Summer Conference

The purpose of Summer Conference is to bring together the people and information that the doctoral student will use to complete the thesis.  Held in Orlando in July (I attended in 2011), the Summer Conference is an opportunity to also meet other online colleagues.

Links to pieces of the Concept paper

Summary of the Work so far
For details, go to Methods of Inquiry and see the individual papers

Random Learning

I returned a rental car during lunch on Wednesday.  I rode back with Mr. Hidalgo who was listening to Dennis Prager and we got to talking.

"I tell my son, 'Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.'  I ask

"I tell my son to watch Hard Core Pawn.  Anyone who watches that for at least two weeks will become better at business.  If a young person could work there for a month, he would be set for life.   I don't know why any teenager stands on a corner with a sign, waving it around.  What does he learn doing that?  It woudl be better to work in a store like Hard Core Pawn and really learn about how to run a business."

Two of his children are college graduates, one from Columbia, and 

I'm at a conference to learn how to become a better teacher, how to find better learning materials.  I got my best tip from the guy who drives shuttle bus.   Bravo, Mr. Hidalgo.   CHidalgo69z
Calendar of Events
(and some notes)



Keynote 8 am

I found this description of SYNAPTIC LEARNING particularly interesting.   I'm going through this conference next week.

Nishikant (Nish) Sonwalkar, Sc.D., Director of Research, United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), Boston, Massachusetts

Wednesday, July 20 8:00–9:30 a.m. Fantasia Ballroom G–J

Synaptic Learning for the Enhancement of Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is often considered a realm of poets, singers, artists, designers, and mathematicians, such as, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, and Gandhi. Recent neurological research shows that creativity is an acquired skill that can be developed by a systematic divergent learning approach. Creative thinking is an essential and often necessary aspect of successful graduate research.

The investigations conducted by brain and cognitive science using the advanced neurological mapping methods, such as Electroencephalogram (EEG), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) provide a wealth of new information to shed light on the process that helps us learn about creative thinking. Recent studies indicate that creativity is not confined to right brain regions but is dispersed on both the left and right side of the brain and is strongly connected with the emotional centers of the human brain.

Nish Sonwalkar will provide an overview of the theory of synaptic learning and its application in providing creative learning environments. Synaptic learning, by providing multiple perspectives for learning new concepts, encourages creative thinking. It has been observed that creative learning environments can lead to much better learning gains than conventional one-size-fits-all learning.

This presentation will point at the recent neuron-feedback research on brain-waves patterns that encourages creative thinking and future directions in the emerging innovations in the field of Brain-Machine Interface (BMI).


United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

Nishikant (Nish) Sonwalkar, Sc.D., (

Nish Sonwalkar is the director of research for the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) in Boston, Massachusetts, and the founder and managing director of Synaptic Global Learning, LLC. In his former role as the director of Hypermedia Teaching Facility and principal educational architect at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he developed several distance-learning technologies and programs. He is the recipient of the 2007 USDLA Platinum Award for Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning. Sonwalkar holds a Doctor of Science degree from MIT.

Data Mining
Mining Scholarly Information   Alys Jordan
Find some of your reesearch quesitons... 
Chapt 1  Research questions

Chapter 2  Liter
Future reserach questions

Chapter 5   future research questions


Joe Pace   The Pacific Institute  "How to Persist"

NIsh  (case studies)  What is the completion rate in online courses?
one-size fits all technologies