Etale Top 20 Articles of 2013

As 2013 comes to an end, I am grateful for the many connections and conversations through  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Etale is first a learning journal, a way to document and reflect about life, learning and leadership in the digital age.  During 2013, that reflection included game-based learning, self-directed learning, MOOCs and open courses, blended learning, online learning, classroom design, academic honesty and integrity a wealth of research on current and emerging forms of assessment, along with dozens of other topic based upon news and research in education. Looking back at the year, I see that I’ve written over 300 unique articles.  It has been a wonderful and rewarding learning journey, and I am honored that many of you joined in parts of it.

In reverse order, here are the 20 most visited articles of the year.

20. 8 Simple Ideas for Helping Students Become Self-directed Learners This Year – While I’ve been interested in self-directed learning for years, it became a central part of my educational philosophy in 2013.  This article represents one of many that documents my growing convictions about it, increasingly stemming from a conviction in the role of education to empower human agency.

19. Why do we have letter grades? – One of my earlier articles on the subject, this represents a second strong theme in my research and writing in 2013 as I became increasingly public about my criticism of letter grades as an unnecessary and increasingly outdated educational technology. Of course, the highlight of this work was represented in the hosting of my second MOOC, Learning Beyond Letter Grades that ran during the fall of 2013.

18. A Flipped Classroom Primer – While it was not the most read article of the year, I received more requested to present based upon this article than any other in 2013.  This article expanded into keynotes, webinars, and workshops to audiences ranging from middle school teachers to graduate faculty on the University level.  The visual created for this article also gets more requests for reuse than any other on the site.

17. 8 Signs that Your University is Selling Out With Online Learning – I’m not sure why this captured the attention of readers.  Perhaps it resonates with many who continue to have suspicions about aggressive marketing and recruiting strategies among some Universities offering online learning.  I continue to stand by what I wrote in this article. Education is a social good, and those of us in this field are called to uphold high ethical standards for one another.

16. Put Away the Straw Man: Understanding the Arguments Against Common Core – There is little question why this one gained attention.  2013 could be seen as the year of the Common Core as K-12 schools around the United States retooled curricula and immersed teachers in professional development related to the Common Core. As I’ve noted before, this article is not a personal attack of the Common Core, but rather a call for more substantive and multi-faceted discussions about it.

15. Emerging Models for Monetizing MOOCs – MOOCs gained more media attention in 2013 than any other topic related to online learning.  One persistent question related to them has to do with how Universities can afford to offer them.  How do the finances work when you are offering something for free? This article represented my survey of the emerging answers to that question.

14. 5 Examples of Self-Blended Learning – If self-directed learning was the center of my scholarship in 2013, then blended learning took a close second.  Out of that came new work related to a combination of the two: self-directed learning + blended learning = self-blended learning. This topic captured my interest enough that it is the focus of a book that I am writing and intend to have finished in the early part of 2014.

13. 10 Future of Higher Education Discussion Starters, Quotes, & Predictions – This is not an article. As suggested in the title, it is simply a list of quotes to help spark thought and conversation about the future of higher education.

12. Hacking Game-based Learning: More Than Just Passive Players – Game-based learning was also a heavy theme for my scholarship for the last several years, preparing in part for an online graduate course that I am scheduled to teach on it in early 2014. This article represented an emerging shift in my thinking, recognizing that the role of the learner as more than that of player, but of a creator and critic.

11. Should Tablets Replace Textbooks? – With many schools moving to 1:1 programs in 2013, this article captured significant interest, simply proving some critical reflection on the affordances and limitations of both tablets and textbooks.

10. 15 online resources to challenge our thinking about grading and assessment – Yet another article that represents my scholarship on grading and assessment, this includes a number of web resources plus an substantive bibliography to lookup in the local library.

9. 10 Challenges / Problems in the Digital World – There is not much to this article.  It simply lists 10 issues that are amplified in digital culture, with a relevant link for each. Nonetheless, it made it in the top ten most read articles of 2013.

8. A Primer on Three “gogies” – Everyone has heard of pedagogy, but what about andragogy, heutagogy, and paragogy? This articles helps increase your knowledge of the “gogies.”

7. Ten Provocative Quotes, Questions, and Comments About E-learning and Instructional Design – Another quote list, this one also garnered heavy attention.

6. 10 Ideas for Designing an Engaging Classroom Space – This is one of my older areas of interest, but it was re-sparked by reading Make Space, an amazing book that shares about the excellent work done on space design at the Stanford D-School. That led me to write this article about rethinking how we design classroom spaces. This turned into a extended version that I am putting together for a forthcoming conference presentation.

5. 10 Educational Buzz Words that Challenged my Work and Thinking in 2013 – It turns out that “Educational Buzz Word” is a buzz word.  I suppose that many people ended up at this article by doing a Google search for “educational buzz words.”

4. Good Teachers Become Less Important – Without question, this article conjured the most controversy out of all my writing in 2013.  There were several extended and lively debates about it on LinkedIn and elsewhere. I still wonder how many read beyond the title. Regardless, I’m delighted that it contributed to an important and much-needed conversation about the roles of learners, the roles of teachers, and the ultimate goals of education.

3. Five Types of Educational Technology Experts – An Autobiography – I wrote this article years ago, but every year it makes it near the top of the list for most visited pages.  This also comes back to what must be a common random search for different types of educational technology.

2. 5 Common Reasons for the Importance of Letter Grades – I am delighted that this article made it to the top of the list.  It lists common arguments for letter grades and provides a few gentle challenges to those reasons.

1. 10 Educational Buzz Words that Challenged my Work and Thinking in 2012 – As with #5, this one likely made it to the top of the list because people like to search for buzz words.  Interestingly, this was the most visited page in nine out of the last ten months.




















Posted in blog, education

About Bernard Bull

Dr. Bernard Bull is an author, professor of education, Vice Provost of Curriculum and Academic Innovation, podcast host, and blogger. Some of his books include Missional Moonshots: Insights and Inspiration for Educational Innovation, What Really Matters: Ten Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, The Pedagogy of Faith (editor), Adventures in Self-Directed Learning, and Digitized: Spiritual Implications of Technology. He is passionate about futures in education; educational innovation; and social entrepreneurship.