Linda Harasim, a professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Communication, is a pioneer and one of the inventors of online education. She has been building knowledge and design in online collaborative learning (OCL) since 1983. Linda invented the pedagogy of online collaborative learning at the University of Toronto (1983 – 1989). In 1990 she moved to Vancouver, BC to continue teaching, research and design of online collaborative learning at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Canada. Currently she teaches, publishes and researches in the areas of “Social Media and the Knowledge Society” and “New Social Media Research Methods”, as well as continuing her work in OCL.
In 1985, she taught the first online university course in the world (University of Toronto) and in 1987-1989, Linda developed the online pedagogy and design that launched the University of Phoenix Online. In 1993, she developed Virtual-U, an online educational environment designed to support collaborative learning, which she continues to use in her courses and to prototype new educational social media environments and tools.
In 1995 she founded and served as CEO of the TeleLearning Network of Centre of Excellence (TL*NCE) in Canada, receiving $25 million from the Canadian government and another $25 million from the public and private sector for an eight-year project to study and design new online collaborative knowledge-building tools, environments and pedagogies for education and training worldwide. Between 1995 and 2003, Dr. Harasim ran TL*NCE, funding hundreds of researchers from 32 universities in Canada as well as participants from 225 various organizations, both public and private. TL*NCE also included International partnerships with organizations such as the United Nations, European Union and National Universities.
Dr. Harasim has written 5 books on the field including: Learning Theory and Online Technologies, (2012, Routledge Press); Learning Networks: A Field Guide to Teaching and Learning Online (1995, MIT Press); Global Networks (1993, MIT Press) and Online Education: Perspectives on a New Environment (1990). She has given over 100 keynotes and presentations in 30 countries and has published hundreds of articles related to OCL. Dr. Harasim has been a member of several prestigious boards and committees, and consults around the world, in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.