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Is it a good idea to base an e-learning module on a book?

Fig. 1. The Digital Scholar

Martin Weller’s Digital Scholar becomes the basis for H818 – The Networked Practitioner

This new e-learning module from the Open University uses Martin Weller’s book The Digital Scholar is part of a range of open access material used for the module and Martin is one of the authors of the module content.

Chapter 1 – Read it here on the Bloomsbury website

Over the last couple of years I have said how much I would like to ‘return’ to the traditional approach to graduate and postgraduate learning – you read a book from cover to cover and share your thinking on this with fellow students and your tutor – perhaps also a subject related student society.

Why know it if it works?

Fig. 2. The backbone of H810 Accessible Online Learning is Jane Seale’s 2006 Book.

Where the author has a voice and authority, writes well and in a narrative form, it makes for an easier learning journey – having read the Digital Scholar participants will find this is the case.

As in the creation of a TV series or movie a successful publication has been tested and shows that there is an audience.

The research and aggregation has been done – though I wonder if online exploiting a curated resource would be a better model? That e-learning lends itself to drawing upon multiple nuggets rather than a single gold bar.

There are a couple of caveats related to this tactic:

  1. Keeping the content refreshed and up-to-date. Too often I find myself reading about redundant technologies – the solution is to Google the cited author and see if they have written something more current – often, not surprisingly from an academic, you find they have elaborated or drilled into a topic they have made their own in the last 18 months.
  2. Lack of variety. Variety is required in learning not simply to avoid the predictable – read this, comment on this, write an assignment based on this … but this single voice may not be to everyone’s liking. Can you get onto their wave length? If not, who and where are the alternative voices?


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