My name is Mike O’Connor.
I’m a teacher and book publisher and online course developer.
I’ve worked for small and large publishing companies. More than 25 years ago, I started Insomniac Press, a book publishing company. Since that time, I’ve published more than 300 books by 200 writers. Many of those books have won awards in France, the U.K., the U.S., and Canada.
This was a period of the greatest of upheaval in the history of the book publishing industry. New technology and cultural changes have radically altered the industry. I have seen how technological disruption has destroyed business models that have worked for hundreds of years. I have seen awarding-winning, internationally lauded writers scramble to find a place in the emerging digital milieu. At the same time, I have seen young writers carve out thriving businesses in this new environment that would not have been possible just a few years ago.
Over the past 20 years, my research, lecturing, and consulting have addressed how technology has fundamentally changed publishing and writing.
I have also pursued another passion: teaching. I’ve been teaching and developing online courses at the University of Western Ontario, York University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto. I specialize in teaching publishing and English-related courses. I have also specialized in designing and instructing online courses. I have designed more than 200 courses and taught more than a thousand students online since 1999.
My teaching philosophy is based on my experiences as a learner and a teacher. An instructor must understand students’ varied goals to effectively motivate their learning. In each class, students come from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines, and subdisciplines, and they all have different goals; all of these factors play a role in students’ motivation and efforts. I believe that students need to see how the course material is relevant to a problem or subject that they care about, or it will be difficult to sustain their interest.
This means that I must provide active, rich, and meaningful learning experiences related to the past and likely future experiences of my students. I assume a constructivist stance, which asserts that individuals actively construct knowledge via personal interactions with the environment.
My goal as a teacher is to provide strong support for student-driven learning. I believe that instructors should support student learning by understanding and meeting students’ varied goals, teaching with clarity and structure, and creating opportunities for student participation and interaction.
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I founded InsomniacPress in 1992, and since that time Insomniac has evolved from a small press that publishes poetry chapbooks to a medium-sized independent press that publishes eye-catching non-fiction titles as well as the great fiction and poetry for which it has become known. Insomniac’s books are sold in 40 countries around the world. Some things remain the same: Insomniac always strives to publish the most exciting new writers it can find.
In 2005, I started another company called Ardith Publishing. Ardith is dedicated to helping self-publishers get their books produced in a professional and cost-effective manner. The company provides everything a writer needs to produce a book, including editing, design, marketing, and distribution.