About the book

xEducation is a book that George Siemens, Bonnie Stewart, and Dave Cormier have agreed (and been contracted) to write for Johns Hopkins University Press. We expect the book will be published in mid-2013. Our focus is on sidestepping the rather substantial hype around educational reform, particularly from the technological angle, and present a solid discussion of the scope and nature of higher education (HE) change.

This site has been set up to chronicle our thinking and engage with others who are interested in the dramatic change being predicted for HE. Over the past decade, we have done most of our work in the open. We write, blog, and publish in open spaces where ever possible. We also started the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs), together with Stephen Downes, in 2008.

This book, however, is not open. We decided that the audience we wanted to reach about how the internet is restructuring knowledge was different than the one we interact with in our blogs. We’re confident we’ll be criticized for that choice. To partially apease our guilt, we are treating this site as our field notes for the book.

12 thoughts on “About the book

  1. Pingback: elearnspace › Writing a book: xEducation

  2. Congratulations on your contract and new writing adventure!

    Jane Bozarth wisely said in “Social Media for Trainers” that we have to reach people where they are. If your target audience is not out here in the open, it makes perfect sense to reach them where they are.

    Wishing each of you continued patience, courage and insight as you go forward.

  3. I’d love to read this book once published. Yet, I am not one of the 15% (or whatever salary I need to have the disposable income be able afford such a book). Given the target audience is different, could you have negotiated an open online digital release set for 2014? xEducation is about innovative new partnerships; challenge Johns Hopkins University Press to find a model that fits in the xEducation space by also finding a way to generate the revenue to cover the costs of publishing. This could also be a good promotional tool for the book…

  4. Your reasoning about why this book isn’t open doesn’t make sense to me. There’s a wide spectrum between “just blogging it” and going with a completeley closed enterprise.

    Why not find a publisher that will do a commercial paper version and support an open version? I don’t see how this wouldn’t also reach the (not completely) different target audience?

    I’m happy to see you write the book (it might be too late to have much effect on the co-option of the MOOC idea which I suspect will quickly relegate it to just another good idea that will never take hold in that positive form to any great degree, but that’s a different discussion and the fate of most innovative efforts in education) and glad you three are doing it.

    But your reasoning for the lack of going with an open publisher still seems non-sensical.

  5. Hi Chris – thanks for the comments. We made a tradeoff between openness/impact and reputable press. Based on who we are hoping to impact with this book, the reputable university press won out. It may well be a non-sensical decision. And you are likely correct that it will be too late to change the direction (co-option) of moocs. We don’t want to make this a book about moocs, however. We are hoping to make it about change drivers in education and how the system as a whole is responding.

  6. Pingback: MixedRealities | Sometimes, the reputable university press wins out

  7. Pingback: About the book | xED Book | Flexibility Enables Learning

  8. I think this discussion would make a good introduction to the book. I hope I see a moment when scholars recognize that a book produced by a community of scholars with an open license is just as reputable as a commercially manufactured book. It sounds like a false dilemma – open vs. “reputable.” The very fact that the old model is broken (high cost of edu, high cost of text books) is the very reason that the reputable presses and academic community are the one’s having to contend with openness and change.

  9. Congratulations on the contract!

    I like the mix of open and closed you are trying to achieve here. Opening up the process is just as important, if not more important, than the openness of the content itself. Aspiring researchers/writers are going to be able to learn from watching your actions, which is the best way to learn, is it not?

  10. I’m not angry just disappointed. Just kidding. Personally, I actually don’t care. I will not read that book partly because I probably won’t be able to afford it but partly because I’m not interested in reading these sorts of books any more. I’m interested in reading these sorts of blogs. Feeds and interactions on these feeds.

    But I care about the point of openness. Which is why I like the suggestion of relaying this discussion in the book to show the difficulties with the choice. And also to increase the credibility of your point – your impact will be undermined if the method of how the book is delivered is completely at odds with its main points.

    I’d also like to point out that there are authors who have been able to find reputable publishers and have them experiment with licensing. Cory Doctorow and Tor books being the poster child but also O’Reilly. Perhaps, you should have gone to them – I think with O’Reilly you’d have a much greater impact on the people who really matter. Look at Jono Bacon’s Art of the Community. Martin Weller’s book with Bloomsbury Academic is another example.

    But of course, the real coup would be to start your own open academic press and get lots of leading scholars publish through it. Maybe run a Kickstarter campaign for each new book. But that’s just me dreaming.

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