Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

Passing of a scholarly friend

I was saddened to hear this morning of the death of a good friend, fellow Canadian and colleague, Robin Mason. Robin was an influential and important figure in the development of computer conferencing for educational applications. She worked for many years at the British Open University and there she was the first to develop computer conferencing for large scale implementations. I first met Robin at the Guelph CMC conferences in the late 80’s. I was always impressed at the way she could handle grumpy academics in large groups or small, with knowledgeable responses, creative suggestions and much grace. Robin co-edited Mindweave, one of the very first books on Computer Mediated Communications and went on to author books and articles on globalisation, social networking, learning objects, e-portfolios and more. In 1993 Robin helped me organize and evaluate the first ‘virtual’ conference ever held online.

Her humor, strength and good nature lives on in the memories of those around the world fortunate enough to call her a friend. Her wisdom lives in the many articles and books she has published. Nonethelsss she is missed.

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  1. Annette Odell Annette Odell
    June 15, 2009    

    Strength, humour, good nature, grace, wisdom were all so much a core part of the Robin that we’ve lost. I’m grateful to you for articulating it so clearly and truthfully when we are all at a loss for words.

  2. Loretta Teng Loretta Teng
    June 15, 2009    

    I just think it is a big loss for the e-learning society. In memory, we will always remember her contributions.

  3. June 15, 2009    

    This is indeed sad news and devastating to lose such a beautiful colleague in the prime of her life. Robin’s contributions and participation in Australian education were generous and influential. We will miss her and will never forget her warmth and that great smile. Our sympathy goes out to her family and friends in this untimely loss.

  4. Alex Kuskis Alex Kuskis
    June 16, 2009    

    I am so sorry to hear about Robin’s too soon passing. I remember her as an early leader in online learning and I read her work with enthusiasm.

    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
    – Shakespeare, Cymbeline, IV, ii

  5. June 16, 2009    

    Robin was kind enough to arrange for a visit to Open University for me in 2005. What a gracious and welcoming colleague! I didn’t get to see her on that occasion, but enjoyed the other times when we met. Along with so many other colleagues and friends, I was saddened to hear about this. She has had an important influence on the direction of distance learning in the Commonwealth and elsewhere, but it was her warmth and humanity that comes to mind today.

  6. June 17, 2009    

    Just want to say sorry for this great loss.

    Her good works will remain for ever.

  7. June 23, 2009    

    Such very sad news. Robin was a dedicated researcher and contributed much to the field she loved. She will be missed by her many friends around the globe.

    As one of my advisors for my doctoral studies from the British Open University, Robin was challenging, always encouraging, and very supportive in so many ways. For example, she kindly agreed to an invitation to present at one of our earlier Manitoba Association of Distributed Learning and Training (MADLaT) conferences during this period. Later, when I was in England, she welcomed me into her lovely home, surrounded by a beautiful garden. Robin enjoyed gardening. She used the stipend from the MADLaT conference for a rose trallis in her garden – a lasting memory.

    Robin’s mother lived in Winnipeg for a time. One summer during my studies we met on our sailboat at Victoria Beach on Lake Winnipeg, where Robin was visiting. That evening, coloured northern lights danced and flashed across the lake. Ever since, when ever I see the northern lights I think of Robin.

    My sympathies go out to her family for their great loss.

  8. Cecilia Ignatieff Cecilia Ignatieff
    July 6, 2009    

    Dear Terry, I am Robin’s sister. I will be hosting a day of remembrance on July 23 from 2:00 pm. onwards. My tel.no. is 905-344-7452 , if any Canadians who wish to join us would please contact me. By the way, Robin died of secondary complications (pneumonia) following radiotherapy on a rare brain tumour that was non-malignant. The tumour was found several years ago, the gamma-knife surgery was last October. She was active until March 20, when the swelling in her brain caused many side-effects. A lovely tribute appeared in the Guardian today. Wonderful how beloved she was. Yours, Cecilia Ignatieff

    • July 8, 2009    

      Sorry for the inaccuracies on the cause of Robin’s death, and thanks for the detail Cecilia. I would love to join you, but imagine you are talking face-to-face in Ontario on the 23rd?. Unfortunately, I will be in home in Alberta on that date.

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  1. Remembering Robin Mason « Open Education News on June 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm

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