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Stephen Downes

  • MA (Philosophy)
  • National Research Council Canada
  • 6h-indexImpact measure calculated using publication and citation counts. Updated daily.
  • 304CitationsNumber of citations received by Stephen's publications. Updated daily.


Stephen Downes is a specialist in online learning technology and new media. He is a leading voice in online and networked learning. He speaks from practical experience both as a college and university teacher and the author of learning management and content syndication software. Through a 25-year career in the field, Downes has developed and deployed a series of progressively more innovative technologies, beginning with multi-user domains (MUDs) in the 1990s, open online communities in the 2000s, and personal learning environments in the 2010s. Downes is perhaps best known for his daily newsletter, OLDaily, which is distributed by web, email, and RSS to thousands of subscribers around the world. As a teacher and designer, he is also known as the originator of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). As a theorist, he is known as a leading proponent of connectivism, a theory describing how people know and learn using network processes. Downes is also a leading advocate of open educational resources and free learning. Downes is widely recognized for his deep, passionate and articulate exposition of a range of insights melding theories of education and philosophy, new media and computer technology. He has published hundreds of articles online and in print and has presented around the world to academic conferences in dozens of countries on five continents.

Recent publications

  • New models of open and distributed learning

    • Downes S
  • Conditional Variability


Professional experience

National Research Council of Canada



University of Calgary

September 1986 - August 1987(a year)


University of Calgary

September 1981 - April 1986(5 years)

Co-authors (5)