Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

About Terry Anderson

Thanks for visiting the ‘Virtual Canuck’Terry color casual image

When I began the setup for this blog in 2005, I had forgotten that I needed to give it a name, and, on the spot, jumped onto the phrase “Virtual Canuck”.  A Canuck is a term that Canadians call each other – often affectionately as in “I met an another Canuck in Copenhagen and we hung out together”. The virtual, of course, comes with many meanings related to the online world. So, I am a “Canuck” but I’m real! – Terry Anderson.

I spent 15 years as a back-to-the land farmer and woodworker in the Lesser Slave Lake region of  Northern Alberta, Canada from 1971.  Well there I learned to work with my hands, bungled through many learning curves and am proud to say was the founder and coordinator for 5 years of the North Country Fair – An annual solstice Folk Festival that still runs annually on a large chunk of land purchased for the community in the Driftpile Valley.

I have been online for over 35 years, and 10 years with this blog. My one (and only) Net claim to fame is that I think I organized the first ever ‘virtual conference‘. This ran on UseNet, Bit Net and various listservs for the International Council for Distance Education in 1993. I also taught the first Internet course at the University of Calgary. Ironically when students completed the course in 1992, there was no way that a personal could purchase Internet access. Thus, my course was pretty popular, as it came with six month access to the net!

Currently, I am a Professor Emeritus and former Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University – Canada’s Open University. I used to teach educational technology courses in the Masters of Education and Research Methods courses in the Doctor of Education program. I was also the founding director of the Canadian Institute for Distance Education Research CIDER.

My current research interests relate to social software use in distance education. You can find more about me including a long and somewhat boring CV and some of my recent published articles and presentations at my profile on the Athabasca Landing (Athabasca’s boutique social network).You can check out my Google Scholar Research Profile.

I was also the Editor for 10 years and am currently Editor Emeritus of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL). IRRODL is the most widely read and most highly cited journal in our field. It has always been an open access journal and we welcome contributions, reviewers and subscribers- all free of charge.

I continue on the “keynote” circuit – having done over 50 keynotes in the last 12 years – on every continent except Antarctic!. You can check out some of the slides from these presentations on Slideshare

Since retiring from Athabasca in August 2015, I have been working on a number of part-time contracts notably with the School of Business, at the University of Alberta and Contact North/Contact Nord. I also regularly examine graduate student theses and do guest talks at distance education courses globally. I’ve open a Little Free Library in our front yard, playing more music and am spending time in my wood-working shop.

I live in Edmonton Alberta Canada  in the community of Riverdale with my wife Susan.

You can contact me at Terrya@athabascau.ca.


  1. August 21, 2007    

    Dear Terry,

    What a coincidence on names, eh? I came across Athabasca University as I was searching for a distance learning program (I am wanting to pursue doctoral studies in education). As a longtime educator, I have always known that education as we know it is going to be revolutionized and transformed with technology and virtual learning. The discussions I have had with my colleagues here in California have dealt with the reality of conforming to students who live in a digital world, and sadly, their teachers by and large, do not. We are forward thinking, however, and are looking to change that.

    I have been reading some of your postings, and I find the discussions interesting. I will explore the discussions further.

  2. September 26, 2008    

    Hi Terry,

    I’m a IT student from the Philippines and i’ve been doing my research about the education in second life.. i’ve gone through your blog and your post about second life helps me in doing my study.
    now, i am searching for residents/users who i can interview with about their experience in second life for me to go further with this study. i would like to ask you a favor if you can be one of my respondents. i would be very greatful to hear from you. (you can send me an email into miabernaldo@yahoo.com, this is my email address)

    thank you so much. God Bless

  3. October 22, 2008    

    Always happy to find fellow Canucks involved in thinking about online teaching, open education and other exciting issues. (I am not formally a Canuck, but have been here enough years to feel some sort of attachment). I am currently doing my MA in Higher Ed at OISE/Uni of Toronto. I believe I met a colleague of yours at the Open Ed conference in Utah this fall.

  4. March 17, 2009    

    I’ll have to keep up with your blog. Getting some good use out of your textbook, “The Theory and Practice of Online Learning.”

    You’ll be happy to know Royal Roads uses it. I would have probably read it anyway. I’ve been a web project manager and UX/IX/IA guy for years. Just broadening myself with an MA in Learning and Technology.

  5. January 4, 2010    

    Hi Terry

    I’m working on a project for the UN FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) IMARK project and doing a bit on communities and networks – a topic we both seem to enjoy. I was wondering if I can ask permission to use the material (fully referenced of course) on this blog post: http://terrya.edublogs.org/2007/04/30/on-groups-networks-and-collectives/ and if the paper you were writing is online some place. I can’t seem to find it (though I find lots of references TO it in your slide decks!)

    Thanks and Happy New Year


    • January 4, 2010    

      Yes, I’m pleased to have this work quoted.
      The most complete ‘article’ is probably the Chapter we did “how the crowd can teach” by Dron and Anderson at http://www.igi-global.com/downloads/excerpts/33011.pdf

      This is from the book
      Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies
      Edited By: Stylianos Hatzipanagos, King’s College London, UK; Steven Warburton , King’s College London, UK

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