Connections: Virtual Learning Communities is an eBook that explores how online communities form, who joins them, and how they operate in learning environments. This book is available as an .epub document, suitable for viewing on most mobile devices and desktops. If you aren’t sure how to handle .epub files, check out this excellent review of software for desktop and mobile devices: http://www.jedisaber.com/ebooks/Readers.asp
In the Virtual Learning Communities (VLC) Research Laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan we have been investigating the shape of online learning networks for more than a decade. We’ve conducted research and written a bunch of papers, chapters, articles and reports on the topic.
This ebook pulls together the big ideas from our work for educators who might actually be able to put what we have learned to good use. That’s what this book is about—making sense of online learning communities. In a sense it isn’t original; it is rewritten out of material the VLC Research Lab already created along with a healthy dose of my own speculations. So it is selective rather than comprehensive. It doesn’t attempt to pull together all of the excellent work and writing about online learning.
This is also an experiment with this digital form of a book. The ebook format offers a number of fresh affordances and imposes some really difficult layout restrictions. The book includes a number of links to resources and examples. Every chapter has a video introduction that you can jump to if you want to get the big idea without combing through an entire chapter to dig it out. And by the time I release the next edition, I hope to discover a reasonable way to embed videos into the document, instead of having to link to external files.
And I hope to make this an evergreen book that changes as we learn more about how groups of people gather online to learn together. I invite you to add your own ideas to the next edition of the book at http://vlcbook.wikispaces.com/
So download a copy of Connections for yourself, and tell your friends (or enemies, if you don’t like the book). This is the first time I have been able to guarantee that a book of mine will be worth every penny