Where is the Netflix for College Textbooks? — from medium.com by Dean Florez
A $14 Billion Dollar Textbook Industry Unscathed by Tech


Why not look at an ed-tech solution modeled and offered in trade books by Oyster, Scribd, and Entitle’s eBook subscription platforms which provide access to 100,000 books for as long as you keep a subscription, much like Netflix or Hulu. It seems that as long as you are a student at a university you should have similar access to an educational platform that let’s you access all the textbooks you need and refer back to them as you proceed through your education.

Or as an alternative path, textbooks could be offered to students, much like Entitle where you pay a subscription fee and can download a set amount of books a month, but also get to keep them after you cancel your subscription.



Also, see these other postings at the Carpe Diem blog


“Student’s need a Book-of-the-Semester Club.”


Addendum on 2/22/14:


The End of Higher Education’s Golden Age — from Clay Shirky


Interest in using the internet to slash the price of higher education is being driven in part by hope for new methods of teaching, but also by frustration with the existing system. The biggest threat those of us working in colleges and universities face isn’t video lectures or online tests. It’s the fact that we live in institutions perfectly adapted to an environment that no longer exists.

Our current difficulties are not the result of current problems. They are the bill coming due for 40 years of trying to preserve a set of practices that have outlived the economics that made them possible.

Of the twenty million or so students in the US, only about one in ten lives on a campus. The remaining eighteen million—the ones who don’t have the grades for Swarthmore, or tens of thousands of dollars in free cash flow, or four years free of adult responsibility—are relying on education after high school not as a voyage of self-discovery but as a way to acquire training and a certificate of hireability.

It will also require us to abandon any hope of restoring the Golden Age. It was a nice time, but it wasn’t stable, and it didn’t last, and it’s not coming back. It’s been gone ten years more than it lasted, in fact, and in the time since it ended, we’ve done more damage to our institutions, and our students, and our junior colleagues, by trying to preserve it than we would have by trying to adapt. Arguing that we need to keep the current system going just long enough to get the subsidy the world owes us is really just a way of preserving an arrangement that works well for elites—tenured professors, rich students, endowed institutions—but increasingly badly for everyone else.


4 platforms that will disrupt higher education — from hastac.org by Kevin Browne


  • Straighterline
  • Udemy
  • Mozilla’s Open Badges Project
  • Pearson
    The textbook publisher Pearson is now able to offer degrees of its own in the UK.  If their venture is a success it will certainly inspire others to petition to do this and it will certainly spread to other countries.




The rise of alternatives to university continuing education (part 1) — from higheredmanagement.net by Keith Hampson


Let’s be clear, we need these new learning providers. We are living through what appears to be a “jobless” economic recovery and people need a way range of options – at different price points – in order to quickly retrain themselves for a rapidly changing job market. A robust and diverse continuing education market is a priority for the 21st century and our government leaders and regulators should be crafting policy to make it happen.


Higher education technology predictions for 2014 — from masmithers.com by Mark Smithers


In summary, we’ll have another contentious year. We’ll see big growth in higher education services from outside of the university sector, a continued gnashing of teeth from established providers. Some new services and platforms will emerge to cater for different forms of learning, MOOCs will evolve and improve and open badges will be hot. Look out for rhizomatic learning.


The New Normal isn’t what you think — from nextberlin.eu by Adam Tinworth (the quote below, though targeting at the corporate world, applies to higher ed as well)

Their yearning is doomed. There will be no return to business as usual. We have begun a process of continuous change that will last decades – perhaps for much of the rest of our lifetimes.



Related items:

Watson is coming for your (professional) jobs — from IEEE.org by John Niman

Published on Jan 17, 2014 IEET Affiliate Scholar John Niman talks about IBM’s computer system, Watson and how AI may be able to take “Professional” Jobs.


Mass unemployment fears over Google artificial intelligence plans — from telegraph.co.uk by Miranda Prynne
The development of artificial intelligence – thrown into spotlight this week after Google spent hundreds of millions on new technology – could mean computers take over human jobs at a faster rate than new roles can be created, experts have warned





Higher education is in the midst of a process of transformational change. For the department chair, leadership today must include breadth of vision and the skill to bring the single individuals who make up a department into a group that can think collaboratively about the questions facing their discipline, department, and institution. Chair leadership now depends heavily on the ability to create collaborative habits of thought and dialogue among a group of individuals, none of whom may have had experience in effective teamwork. Skill in this area will derive in large part from the chair’s ability to structure the department’s dialogue to be conscious of the connections among its members and the links between the department’s work and the institution’s goals. Ultimately, the habits of dialogue must also include consciousness of the transformational
currents in higher education as an enterprise. Subsequent articles will examine these issues as they pertain to faculty, students, pedagogy, and other key topics being remodeled in the transformational process.

Speeding up on curves — from educause.com by Bradley Wheeler


Higher education faces a number of important curves, but I’ll focus first on just two:

1) The finance of higher education is increasingly moving from a public to a private good, leading to increasing cost and price pressures (particularly for state-supported institutions).
2) The increasing digitization of education and research favors greater scale while it also enables potential new substitutes for colleges and universities.


What’s the point of academic publishing? — from chroniclevitae.com by Sarah Kendzior

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In December 2013, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs made a startling announcement. “Today I wouldn’t get an academic job,” he told The Guardian. “It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I would be regarded as productive enough.”

Higgs noted that quantity, not quality, is the metric by which success in the sciences in measured.

In order to maintain her professional viability, Day stopped work that she and the public found meaningful—work that directly relates to her role as a teacher—in order to have time to produce work that “counts” to a small number of academics. To “count” is not to spread knowledge, as Day did, or develop new ideas, as Higgs did. To “count” is to preserve your professional viability by shoring up disciplinary norms. In most fields, it means to publish behind a paywall, removed from the public eye—and from broader influence and relevance. To “count” is to conform.

Making your work “count” on its own intellectual merit helps rescue you from the sense of personal failure that accompanies loss on the job market. When you orient your scholarship toward a future that never comes, it can start to feel like you have no future. When you orient your scholarship toward its obvious yet overlooked purpose—furthering human knowledge—its value does not need to be determined by others, because the value lies in the work itself. This is what counts.


Academic publishing is no guarantee of anything, except possibly the paywalled obsolescence of your work.




Also see:




This is why it makes sense to create a Twitter-only journal, which would publish original, peer-reviewed research, direct to the reader. And that is what I have done: introducing the world’s first Twitter journal of academic research, aka @TwournalOf. Part philosophical provocation, part genuine intervention, I want to explore the willingness of researchers to share their original findings in a new format.


From DSC:
This Twitter account is just getting started. So there’s not much to see there…yet.  I subscribed to it though, because it’s a potentially very useful idea; I like it because it takes education to where it belongs — to the public.

My thanks to Sidneyeve Matrix
(@sidneyeve) for the Tweet on this item.




Transmedia Storytelling: Trends for 2014 —  from Robert Pratten, CEO  at Transmedia Storyteller Ltd on Dec 06, 2013






From DSC:
Something here for education/learning? With the creativity, innovation, interactivity, participation, and opportunities for more choice/more control being offered here, I would say YES!



Also see:




HarperCollins, Google’s Niantic Labs, 20th Century Fox collaborate w/ bestselling author on next gen cross-media project, Endgame — from corporate.harpercollins.com, w/ thanks to @myweb2learn for the resource

Excerpt of Press Release (emphasis DSC):

ENDGAME is a fully integrated, multimedia experience that will combine a trilogy of young adult novels, fifteen original e-book novellas, YouTube videos, search and image results, mapping coordinates, social media, and interactive gaming in one revolutionary creative project. Each book in the ENDGAME trilogy will feature an interactive puzzle comprised of clues and riddles throughout the text.

“We are excited to work with James Frey and Full Fathom Five on this groundbreaking series,” said Brian Murray, President and CEO, HarperCollins Publishers. “This is a spectacular story that embodies the future of publishing—great content, interactivity and a multimedia experience.”  

Google’s Niantic Labs is developing a location-based augmented reality game that will bring ENDGAME to life in the real world.  The game builds on the success of “Ingress,” which defined a new category of entertainment that marries video games with the physical world.  The mobile experience will allow players around the world to join in the battle to unlock the mysteries and secrets of ENDGAME.  Google Niantic will also be publishing six ENDGAME novellas exclusively at the Google Play store.  The game is expected to launch on Android and iOS devices in late 2014.

“James has a great vision for telling stories in an integrated way across books, film, social media, and mobile games,” John Hanke, VP of Product, Niantic Labs at Google, said. “We are delighted to bring our technology and expertise to bear on a project that is helping to define the future of entertainment.”


From DSC:
If successful, I’d love to see some applications of this sort of experiment applied towards education/learning — i.e. towards K-12, higher ed, and the corporate training/L&D departments.  The experiment emphasizes where I think successful learning is also going — towards the use of TEAM-based content creation and delivery.




Recent trends in storytelling and new business models for publishers — from smashingmagazine.com by Jose Martinez Salmeron; with thanks to Gary Hayes for the Scoop on this

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

It is clear that the ongoing dramatic transformation of the media industry in all its formats (audio, video and text) leaves the door open for a complete reinvention of the publishing business. This transition has opened up opportunities for experimentation, and many players are trying to define the future of media in general, and journalism in particular.

In this article, we will discuss several recent such experiments, with special focus on new forms of storytelling, as well as new business models for publishers — a fascinating recent trend called “subcompact publishing” will be our main reference.

The Media Industry As We Knew It Is Gone

“The publishing ecosystem is now primed for complete disruption.” – Craig Mod


Content as a Service (CaaS) — from knowledgestarblog.wordpress.com by David Grebow


The etextbook in 2018 will be dramatically different than the etextbook of today. It will be coupled to an app that will provide you with Content as a Service (CaaS). CaaS will include many of the following features (and more that have yet to be imagined):

  • Multimedia
  • Simulations
  • Educational Games
  • Animations
  • Pre- and post-tests
  • Formative and Summative Quizzes
  • Adaptive testing
  • Networked Social Learning
  • Study groups
  • Analytic Datasets
  • Virtual and Flipped classes
  • Communities of Learning and Practice
  • Virtual classes.


Also see:






The Amazon
By Marcos Antonio de Lima Filho | Master in Design | Federal University of Pernambuco – Brazil

This is a free book which is available in iBooks 3.0+ on the iPad and/or using iTunes on your computer.  Marcos designed this book to take advantage of all the interaction enabled by iPads.

156 images, 14 infographics, 18 galleries, 11 maps and 8 videos join with the text, which here is not the primary. Why? Because the nature is much too rich to be described only by words.  The Amazon seeks to take advantage of all the technology advancements enabled by the tablet.

Great work Marcos! Nice interactivity, use of digital audio and video, graphics, and more. Check it out!





Why I won’t try to publish as I move towards tenure — by Brad King

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A growing number of faculty, including myself, have begun to reject that road to tenure.

The reason: the academic publishing system is built around a 1-2 year publishing process that requires the best and brightest minds to turn over all of their intellectual property without any compensation for that work.

For years, academics had no other option. If they wanted to distribute their research, they had to go through the academic journal system. Thanks to the Internet, the Web, and the mobile Web, there are now have alternate ways to distribute their work.

The California Universities are encouraging faculty members to only publish in open-access journals, which make the dissemination of information the priority over the construction of lucrative business models.

Getting published in a prestigious scholarly journal is a big deal in academia because it’s one of the ways that universities decide who will be promoted and receive tenure.

But in this traditional publishing process, authors usually sign away exclusive first publishing rights to the journal. The journal makes its money by charging subscription fees to university libraries and others, and doesn’t allow the research to spread outside of its publication for a year or two.

The reason for this switch: faculty are tired of being held hostage by these journals that use the system of tenure as a way to hold academic hostage. Harvard University faculty have said that “major publishers had created an ‘untenable situation’ at the university by making scholarly interaction ‘fiscally unsustainable’ and ‘academically restrictive’, while drawing profits of 35% or more.”




E-books could be the future of social media — from fastcolabs.com by Michael Grothaus

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Both Apple and Amazon were designing e-book readers by copying the 2,500-year-old idea of books as self-contained collections of words, completely missing how readers share and discuss content online today. While most e-readers allow you to share passages or links to the book you are reading, and sites like Goodreads let you share what you’ve read, their implementations treat the book and the discussions around them as separate collections. Worse, these apps force users to venture into the distracting world of the open Internet when they want to share, making it hard to stay focused on reading.

This didn’t sit well with Berggren, so he came up with an ingenious solution: Make each and every book its own self-contained social network.


From DSC:
When people urge us to do things differently due to the technologies at our disposal, this is a great example of that.  It rethinks what can be done now vs. how it has been done in the past.  I like the increased opportunities this type of big-thinking, innovative solution offers for increased participation, collaboration, and discussion.

Questions that come to my mind:

  • How might this affect what’s possible with digital storytelling? With transmedia?
  • Could each MOOC/course/stream of content be its own social network?
  • “The app itself is free, so the company makes money by selling anonymized data it collects about its users’ consumption habits to publishers.”  Will we see more of this type of business model?


Also see:




Also see:


Addendum on 9/10/13:

Content as a Service (CaaS) — from knowledgestarblog.wordpress.com by David Grebow


The etextbook in 2018 will be dramatically different than the etextbook of today. It will be coupled to an app that will provide you with Content as a Service (CaaS). CaaS will include many of the following features (and more that have yet to be imagined):

Educational Games
Pre- and post-tests
Formative and Summative Quizzes
Adaptive testing
Networked Social Learning
Study groups
Analytic Datasets
Virtual and Flipped classes
Communities of Learning and Practice
Virtual classes.


iPad still dominates in latest tablet web usage numbers — from ipadinsight.com by Patrick Jordan

From DSC:
This is especially important data given the ever increasing trend towards mobility as well as when you are considering which ecosystem(s) to build up and around (i.e. consider things such as BYOD, what apps and platforms your students are going to develop for, digital textbooks, smartphone/tablet-based “clickers,” etc.)





Self Publishing Using iBooks Author is aimed towards introducing you to using to Apple’s powerful eBook authoring software, the new possibilities it provides, and help start you on the path to creating your very own books to share and distribute.

Being an eBook about iBooks Author, created using iBooks Author, we will take advantage of this and  explore every facet of this software while demonstrating on the pages how we went about creating the layouts and designs you see using iBooks Author’s many features.

Available on iPad.

Netflix CEO: ‘TV in the future will be like a giant iPad’ [Ligaya ]

Netflix CEO: ‘TV in the future will be like a giant iPad — from business.financialpost.com by Armina Ligaya

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Q: What do you think is going to happen over the next five or 10 years in internet video?

A: Well, you know, the fundamental thing is the internet has been getting faster. And now it’s video capable, which is really a last-five-years phenomenon. And, internet video will be very transformative across all societies for telemedicine, for online learning, for education. For communication of various sorts. And it brings, whether it’s person to person, or a recorded video like a movie or a TV show, to a person it will be very transformative.

And, TV in the future will be like a giant iPad. It will have a bunch of apps on it, each app will have a unique experience.

So we’re getting beyond just a stream of video, which is all broadcast technology can do, to really try to be innovative about the interaction.


The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV


From DSC: re: Adobe’s Project Context:
This is the type of hardware/software combination that I’ve been hoping for and envisioning! Excellent!

It appears to be the type of setup whereby students could quickly and easily collaborate with one another — in a face-to-face setting (and ideally in remote locations as well) — by not just displaying files but also being able to share files with one another.  Files can be sent up to the interactive, multi-touch displays as well as to an interactive table. So it’s not just displaying files, but actually sharing files and being able to collaboratively work on a project.

Eventually, I see this being able to be done in your living room.  What if MOOCs could integrate this type of web-based collaboration into their projects?

But for now, this is a HUGE step forward in this vision. Great work Adobe! This is innovative! Very helpful!

Example screenshots:














Also see:

  • Adobe’s hardware experiments are more than just hobbies: Hands-on with Project Context – from techcrunch.com by Frederic Lardinois
    Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
    At its MAX conference in Los Angeles [on 5/6/13], Adobe showed  quite a few products that will soon be available to its customers, but it also highlighted a number of hardware experiments, including Project Context, a totally re-imagined way for creating magazine layouts, as well as an advanced stylus and a ruler for touchscreens.



How to publish an e-book: Resources for authors by Jane Friedman

E-Book Publishing 101




TOC 2013, Matt MacInnis, “Unbound”

McGraw-Hill to Debut Adaptive E-Book for Students

The object formerly known as the textbook — from The Chronicle by Jeff Young

The Professor as Digital Author and Publisher: Creating and Delivering E-Textbooks with iBooks Author and iTunes U – Room design and furniture provided by Herman Miller

McGraw-Hill & Kno offer a peek into the future of textbooks: They’re dynamic, vocal, adaptive & bring stats to studying – from techcrunch.com by Rip Empson

© 2022 | Daniel Christian