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Stephen Downes (born April 6, 1959) is a designer and commentator in the fields of online learning and new media. Downes has explored and promoted the educational use of computer and online technologies since 1995. In 2008, Downes and George Siemens designed and taught an online, open course reported as a "landmark in the small but growing push toward 'open teaching.'".
Born in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) Downes lived and worked across Canada before joining the National Research Council of Canada as a senior researcher in November 2001. Currently based in Moncton, New Brunswick, Downes is a researcher at the NRC's Institute for Information Technology's e-Learning Research Group.
Downes was the winner of the Edublog Award for Best Individual Blog in 2005 for his blog OLDaily. Downes is Editor at Large of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning. Downes was a presenter at the February 2007 Online Connectivism Conference. He was an instructor for the first Connectivism Massive open online course (MOOC) in 2008.
Downes ran for Mayor of Brandon in 1995, when he was working at the Assiniboine Community College. A member of the New Democratic Party, he ran