Stephen Downes

Senior Researcher of National Research Council of Canada


Stephen Downes works for the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada where he has served as a Senior Researcher, based in Moncton, New Brunswick, since 2001. Affiliated with the Learning and Collaborative Technologies Group, Institute for Information Technology, Downes specializes in the fields of online learning, new media, pedagogy and philosophy.

He is perhaps best known for his daily newsletter, OLDaily, which is distributed by web, email and RSS to thousands of subscribers around the world, and as the originator of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). He is a popular speaker, appearing at hundreds of events around the world over the last 15 years. He has published hundreds of articles both online and in print through two decades of research and development into learning networks and related technologies. Prior to joining the NRC, Downes worked for the University of Alberta as an information architect and,before that, as a distance education and new media design specialist for Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. This followed a decade of teaching experience both in person and by distance with Athabasca University, the University of Alberta, and Grande Prairie regional college. Downes obtained a B.A. and an philosophy from the University of Calgary, specializing in epistemology and the philosophy of science. He also studied at Ph.D. level at the University of Alberta, completing all but his dissertation.