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Time to add some TEC-VARIETY?: Free new E-book for the "masses" of online learners
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Ok, it has been several months since I last posted to this blog. In part, I have been traveling. And, in part, I have been finishing writing one book on online motivation and retention self-published by my new company, OpenWorldBooks as well as starting a new one (edited) on MOOCs and Open Education Around the World that will be published by Routledge next spring. This post concerns the former and not the latter.

The new book does concern MOOCs in a way since it can address the student retention and engagement issue that we are hearing about regarding MOOCs, but it addresses much more than that. There are chapters on curiosity (the top most downloaded chapter so far), tone or climate (the second most downloaded one), and relevance (which is holding steady in third place). You will also find chapters on student autonomy, engagement, encouragement or feedback, interactive and collaborative learning, competition or conflict, and so much more. The Web resources and references at the end and the two summary tables are what I refer to the most. And, I think, so will you. Others of you might just want to see Chapter 14 on how to support resistant, reluctant, and reticent instructors.

Free E-Book:
Are you wanting to download a FREE copy? If yes, then click on one the links below. More specifically, my online motivation and retention book is finally out (Title: “Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online”). I wrote the book with Dr. Elaine Khoo from the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Elaine is a marvelous person to work with on such a project. She really helped turn this into a theory to practice book with all of her work on the theory chapters of this book. A picture with Elaine that we used in the hardcover version is below. After speaking at an e-learning summit at the University of Waikato in April 2002, I gave Elaine advice on her dissertation for several years. I told her when she was done with it, I could use her help in writing this book since she had tons of references for the literature review that I needed related to online motivation and retention at her fingertips in her dissertation. I could then focus on the various "Activities" chapters as well as the opening and ending. And so we formed a collaboration here. It is fun to run ideas by someone else when writing a book.

Adding some TEC-VARIETY is available for FREE as an e-book in total and by chapter. I have sent out signed copies of the softcover version to dozens of people since early May. I also gave away dozens more when in Finland for Ed Media last month as well as in the UK a few weeks ago. This book has a novel framework for online motivation called TEC-VARIETY (each letter stands for a motivational principle). There are 100 activities in the book (10 for each principle of motivation). Online instructors can learn how to design a safe climate for learning, give feedback, foster interaction and collaboration, nurture student autonomy and creation of products, and much more. The intent is for higher online learning retention and the development of more self-directed online learners.
There have already been more than 14,000 downloads of this book alone on our book website and it has only been available for a few months. The entire book is also available on other sites such as the EdITLib from Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Sidenote: Do not try to do this at home. Self-publishing is not easy or inexpensive. And it takes much time and planning. Of course, a ton of patience too. You must be committed to the cause of openness (which I am). There are many costs related to book prepping and services, including the book editors, copyeditor, indexer, proofreaders, website designer, graphic artists, programmers, researchers, formatters, and so on. You can read about some of these people in the book Acknowledgments and Preface. Overall, it was not particularly cheap (let's just say that you do not want to know...but, if you must, just send me an email and I will let give you some details. Be careful...sit on a couch, recliner, or comfy chair so you can faint without hurting yourself).

At the same time, there is much satisfaction in having control. I can now share a digital version of this book with whoever I want and whenever I want. The e-book is free. And I can buy copies are reduced prices and give them away as well. In addition, no publisher was going to change my book title or delete tons of chapters this time. Chapter 14 on supporting and motivating less experienced or hesitant online instructors, for instance, was supposed to be in the R2D2 book back in 2008 but the publisher deleted it and several other chapters. However, many people have requested it during the past 6 years. In fact, it became the most popular chapter from the R2D2 book and was not even in the book. So we rewrote it and updated it and included it in the new book near the end.

Additional Sidenote: Elaine Khoo and I used Amazon CreateSpace for help with publishing this book (see my recent keynote talk at Ed Media for my insights and ideas on self-publishing a book (info; slidescolor PDF)). They were fantastic people to work with. They took time to answer my every question. I will blog in a few weeks on my quality control standards for this book using a review process that I call "PEERS." More later on this.

By the way, with the 100+ activities, this book follows the same format as my Empowering Online Learning book published by Jossey-Bass back in 2008 with my wonderful colleague and friend Dr. Ke Zhang from Wayne State University. That book had a model called Read, Reflect, Display, and Do or R2D2. See the "R2D2" model below. I blogged on that book back on July 5, 2008 ("The R2D2 book is out out!!!!!!!! May the force be with those who use it!"). That was 6 years ago. My, my, time flies!

This new TEC-VARIETY book has a brand new set of 100+ activities and a focus on learner motivation and retention. And TEC-VARIETY is more of a framework than a model like R2D2. Still, both will help instructors make sense of the possibilities of using the Web for online teaching and learning. They can reduce the frustrations, tensions, and overall dissonance with so many open educational resources and choices. They are pedagogical, technological, and psychological aids.

So, the R2D2 book from 2008 and the TEC-VARIETY from 2014 each have 100+ activities in them. In addition, they both have one or more variations for each activity. In effect, across the 2 books there is information, advice, and ideas for more than 400 different ideas. These books are for those in the trenches of blended and fully online learning. Administrators, politicians, educators, parents, those in the media, and others who want big picture of all this, might want to browse through my book, "The World Is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education," which came out in 2009 in hardcover as well as for the Kindle and was revised in 2011 in paperback (Amazon). The new opening (Prequel) and ending (Postscript) of that book are free at the book homepage. It is also available in Chinese (Foreword) and Arabic.

This book has been incubating for a long, long time. After planning this book for nearly 15 years, presenting on the ideas in it for about a decade, collecting research papers for 7 years, and writing it for the past three years (as mentioned, with Dr. Elaine Khoo at the University of Waikato in New Zealand), it is free as an e-book. People can now download the entire book as a PDF document or individually by chapter. As noted above, over 14,000 people have already downloaded the entire thing and thousands more the individual chapters. In addition, scholars at Beijing Normal University in China started translating it to Chinese so it can be free there too. Anyone can use, share, download, and, with permission, translate this puppy. By the way, my son Alex produced the book cover.

Ok, then, what motivates? See below for a list from the book. This list spells TEC-VARIETY. A handy mnemonic, eh?
  1. Tone/Climate: Psych Safety, Comfort, Sense of Belonging
  2. Encouragement: Feedback, Responsive, Praise, Supports
  3. Curiosity: Surprise, Intrigue, Unknowns
4.      Variety: Novelty, Fun, Fantasy
5.      Autonomy: Choice, Control, Flexibility, Opportunities
6.      Relevance: Meaningful, Authentic, Interesting
7.      Interactivity: Collaborative, Team-Based, Community
8.      Engagement: Effort, Involvement, Investment
9.      Tension: Challenge, Dissonance, Controversy
10.  Yielding Products: Goal Driven, Purposeful Vision, Ownership
In this book, you will discover:
  • A wellspring of Web resources
  • 10 fully documented successful motivational principles
  • Hundreds of activities to motivate and engage online learners
  • Proven ideas on how to design interactive and collaborative courses
  • A realistic path toward meaningful and relevant online learning
  • Detailed risk, cost, and time guidelines for each activity
  • A thoroughly researched basis for each idea and activity
You will also discover hope. HOPE (yes, real hope!) for engaging online learners.
This is a reminder that the book is FREE in total and by chapter (entire 367 page book; chapters). As noted above, the new book is also available from Amazon in paperback for under $15.00 and the Kindle version is $9.99. Note that similar books from the publisher list at 2 or 3 times those prices, if not more. A special hardcover edition is obtainable from me upon request for about $15/book.

Hope you enjoy and can use the book. Let me know what you think. Welcome to OpenWorldBooks!

By the way, some pictures are below from my travels to Tampere, Finland for the Ed Media conference on June 23rd and the 26th as well as University College London June 27th (ALT MOOC SIG conference), the University of Cambridge (flier) on June 30th, King's College on July 1st (flier), and Oxford July 3rd, and the University of South Wales on July 4th (flier). People seem to be enjoying the new book....well, when I give away they do.)

Tampere, Finland (June 2014, the University of Tampere):



The UK (June and July 2014)
(Cambridge, June 30, 2014)

What a lovely place Cambridge is! My first time to present there. I spoke on how learning is changing in the main library. As noted, all my  presentations in the UK and Finland (including the one at Cambridge) are posted. I had a lovely day hanging out with my friends Jim Hensman of Serious Gaming Center in Coventry and Cambridge Professor Brian J. Ford.











(King's College, July 1, 2014)

(Lunch in South Kensington, London with Alice Oven and Victoria Pavry from Epigeum, which is "Transforming Higher Education Through Exceptional Online Learning." Epigeum is developing some highly interesting and interactive faculty training programs. Alice is soon stepping back into a role at Imperial College Press.)

(Lunch at the University of Oxford, July 3, 2014 with my friends Dr. Dongping Zheng from the University of Hawaii (who was a research fellow at Oxford that week) and Dr. Chris Davies from the University of Oxford, Department of Education. Chris arranged for me to speak at Oxford a couple of times in the past. This time I had a Q&A session with his students. Dongping just got promotion and tenure and is now an associate professor.) 

Chris has some extremely bright students who asked me many difficult questions about my research.









(University of South Wales (formerly the University of Glamorgan) July 4, 2014)
Is it time for you to add some TEC-VARIETY? Perhaps. Please let Elaine Khoo or I know if you do. You might give me a Reader Reaction or perhaps you will read them or the various book endorsements received so far. Not convinced yet? Perhaps you should read this overview article for Education Magazine or the short blog post that I did for Cengage last year before my presentation at SXSWedu explaining the evolution of this book. It has been a long and quite interesting process.
Enjoy. And do share the free e-book! Oh, I should note that the University of Waikato will have a book launching event on their campus on July 31st. They have already fashioned a book homepage.

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

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