December 14, 2007
Are publishing/editing standards slipping? Ar erors adn typos sliping throuhg that woudl haf bin unherd off in timez passt?
A couple of new books have hit my desk recently, each from an old friend of ODLAA (no, not the same old friend and, I know, enough of the ‘old’). Liz Burge‘s Flexible Higher Education: Reflections from Expert Experience (or is it Flexible Higher Education: International Pioneers Reflect ? I’m not sure which, as one is on the cover and the other on the title page!) warms my heart, as it enables me to catch up with and/or learn from many of the leading distance educators of the past few decades. And alright, yes, I was given the opportunity to join in the fun and contribute a chapter as one of the commentators, providing ‘meta-reflection’ on the discussions. If you’re new to distance education it will give you insight into the history and innovative origins of the field, and if you’re an oldie, it will bring a wistful tear to your eye.
But I’m betting that Liz was mortified when she eagerly opened her copy and there, at the start of Chapter 1, in a quote above the Introduction, the word ‘twntieth’ leaps out. How could anyone miss it? It’s one of the very first words of the book! I haven’t carefully checked the rest, but there’s more … Or am I just becoming a GOB (Grumpy Old Blogger)?
The other book is David Kember’s Reconsidering Open & Distance Learning in the Developing World. David and I enjoyed some collaborative ventures at the Hong Kong Polytechnic (University) some years ago (in fact, starting two decades ago!), and while I’ve drifted back to Oz, David stayed in Hong Kong doing some great work to eventually become Professor of Learning Enhancement at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. So what’s the publishing problem with this one? Well, I haven’t checked it too closely for typos yet, but I did mention the arrival of the book to Fred Lockwood while he was visiting, noting that his usual Series Editor’s section was missing. His rapid response was that there was meant to be one, but the publisher was shifting operations from London to New York at the time, and somehow it was lost in transit!
But don’t let that put you off! This is a fascinating book, delving into the much-discussed issue of why the UKOU model has not in general been successfully applied in other countries, particularly developing nations. Not surprisingly, the arguments that David musters draw heavily on the myth-busting research that he and others have done in recent years concerning Asian students, particularly Chinese learners. And there’s a bonus, with guest contributions from Alan Woodley (on the UKOU) and Carmel McNaught (on e-learning).