Updating E-moderating

Gilly Salmon’s classic book, E-moderating: the key to teaching and learning online, is being revised for its third edition. As I had the pleasure of contributing to the first edition (2000), I’ve been quite fascinated by advising and working with Gilly on the updating.

What struck me when I re-opened my own copy of the 2000 edition was how immensely valuable the five-stage model has been, but also out-of-date some of the 1990s references looked and how obsolete the conferencing software (FirstClass) had become, to say nothing of the case studies and examples. That edition was reprinted three times. The second edition, which appeared in 2004 with new research and references, was reprinted four times, but today certainly needs updating. The research and practice have moved on again.

It was easy enough for me to compile two lists of the references, before and after 2000, for Gilly to go through. About half needed updating. Chasing updates proved difficult in a few cases, but most authors responded quickly and fully to my enquiries, sending relevant new material for possible inclusion. Inevitably, some authors had retired or moved on to other fields. A few had died.

I compiled another list of all the inserts and quotes, and we worked through those too. Again, about half must be changed, usually because there’s new software now, or the online course has been updated. Some will come from the same sources and institutions as before, others from new ones. Notably, most examples drawn from Gilly’s 1990s experience in training, online, hundreds of e-moderators for the Open University Business School will be replaced by ones from current training programmes elsewhere.

BDRA researchers have already provided several sections or paragraphs about their recent research, and there are more to come. E-moderating online when using asynchronous conferencing remains the focus of the book, but of course new technologies offer new opportunities. There will be more on synchronous conferencing, for example, using Elluminate instead of Lyceum. Second Life did not feature in the first and second editions, but will in the third. And so on.

The second half of the book consists of nearly 80 pages of research-based resources for practitioners, including e-moderators in training. Most of these need little revision, a reflection on how well Gilly chose them. A few could do with updating.

Needless to say, I am not re-writing the book, merely advising on its revision. Gilly is doing the re-writing, particularly for Chapter 6, which offers four scenarios of the future. She will be drawing on BDRA’s research on learning futures and probably incorporating her hindsight, insight and foresight model. Exciting stuff!

David Hawkridge

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