Welcome back, readers. I hope you had a great holiday break.
Perhaps like you, I’ve been thinking about my plans for 2019. I was determined to retire when I was 75, so I could have time to write my swan song book, ‘Teaching in a Digital Age’, which I did, but it was so successful that it has resulted in more rather than less work. Also the chance came up to do a national survey of online learning in Canada, and that was so interesting and valuable that I could not resist (the public report for 2018 will be out next week).
Well, I will be 80 years old in April, I’m no nearer retiring, and my book is now almost four years old, which is a long time in online learning. It needs at least a little attention.
There are several options open, and I really would like some advice on what to do, especially from those of you that have read or are using the book as part of your teaching or learning.
Option 1: Do Nothing
Hell, it’s an open textbook. Why do I need to change anything? If you want to change it, just do it. Leave out the parts you don’t want, revise the bits that you think are unsatisfactory, and use what you think is useful. Leave me alone to play more golf (but what about those long, wet winters in Vancouver? Could go south, I suppose, but not until there’s a new President).
Option 2: Fiddle with it
Come on, there are bits that really do need revision, there are urls that have died and gone to url heaven or hell, maybe a few more podcasts could be added, but basically, the book has worked for most people so don’t mess with it too much.
Major changes could really throw a wrench in the works for those who have built their teaching around it. Just tidy it up a bit.
But if there are going to be a few changes, a phrase springs to mind: QUALITY CONTROL! Better do it myself – unless I get a better offer.
Option 3: Major revision
Well, a lot really has happened since I wrote the book. Here’s a list of topics that I didn’t cover in the first edition:
- virtual reality
- serious games
- artificial intelligence
- learning analytics
- open pedagogy
- rhizomatic learning
- SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition)
- ethical and security issues in using digital media.
You can probably add to this list of essential topics.
The other thing is that the book is already over 500 pages long! For God’s sake, who’s going to read all that? If I’m going to add anything more, I’d better replace something. That is going to mean serious work on my part. (It is always harder to cut than to add material).
Option 4: Rethink the whole thing
If the ‘open’ movement really does mean something, why not treat the book as just a collection of open educational resources that could be remixed and rematched with contributions from many others in this field? That would mean not treating it as a coherent ‘book’ with a sequence to be followed in terms of topics, but a more random collection of thoughts or resources on different topics.
This might mean inviting other possible contributors such as Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, David Wiley and many others, to create an online digital learning space or library where people could go to browse on different topics.
But again, I don’t need to do this myself. If it is such a good idea, then others could and should take it up and use my book as needed – or not at all.
Over to you
Especially if you are using or have used the book, what would you suggest I do? I have my preference, but I’ll wait until I hear from you.