Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Education for a Digital World

The long awaited book, Education for a Digital World, is now in print and also available for download in sections or in full from Commonwealth of Learning (COL). The 500-page volume is divided into 5 sections:
* Part 1: The Impact of Instructional Technologies
* Part 2: Preparing Online Courses
* Part 3: Implementing Technology
* Part 4: E-learning in Action
* Part 5: Engagement and Communication
The official launch of the book will take place at COL's Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in London from 13 - 17 July 2008. Several participants in the book project will be attending the conference, including colleagues from BCcampus, a co-publisher for the book.

I co-authored chapter 13 Planning Your Online Course with June Kaminski. (June designed the cover, and our chapter map.) I was also a contributing editor for the book, and wrote the SCoPE case study for chapter 30, Supporting E-learning through Communities of Practice. The case studies were pruned considerably. Originally they followed Etienne Wenger's 7 principles for cultivating communities of practice. The SCoPE version (which I still need to format properly!) can be found under the Snapshot of Evolution section on this wiki:

The publication grew from an idea for a "collaborative" book by Sandy Hirtz, Online Community Producer for BCcampus at the time, and David Harper, a Kinesiology faculty member at University College of the Fraser Valley. I remember the first mention of the project during a SCoPE-CPSquare Vancouver Rendezvous of online community practitioners in October, 2005. So from conception to publication it has been quite a long haul, but it's probably proportionate to the size of the beast*!

A BC-grown concept soon spread into an international project through community networking. I actively promoted the project through SCoPE and offered the platform as a public face for the project, attempting to mirror the evolution of book chapter titles and authors, and to relay important information about deadlines and meetings. My efforts were to drum up some interest and also to offer a something that was missing in the equation -- a way for the public to learn about the project and see the structure and chapters taking shape, and to declare interest in collaborating on chapters that had been assigned to "chapter mayors". Sandy held a number of live sessions in Elluminate to coordinate activities and and many interested participants migrated to BCcampus eLearning Marketplace and Expo, a password-protected community which became the central location for communication about the project. In addition, email was used a great deal.

The project grew, and grew, and grew. New chapters were added, bigger chapters were dissected, new authors came on board... and somehow Sandy kept up with managing all the details. She deserves a major award for her role in this project!

There are many lessons learned from the process of publishing this book. It deserves some attention, so I'll need to do some reflecting and later write some more about about the experience itself. Hopefully others will do the same!

* Sandy referred to the project as "the beast"... the final phase being "taming the beast". :-)


  1. Wow. This looks like a massive project with some great stuff. Congratulations. Can't wait to dig in.

  2. Wonderful blog post, Sylvia!
    It is so great to finally see the "beast" as a bona fide entity!!

    All the best,

  3. Sylvia, The link to the book appears to be out-of-date. It's now:

  4. Thanks for posting the new link for the book, Rick! I've edited the blog post.