Starting a Book Club


In the laundry room in my house we have a big bookshelf full of all kind of different books. The system is easy – Sometimes you bring a book, sometimes you take a book. It’s a book box. I think the book box idea is great and sometimes I take a book and start reading while waiting for those last 3 minutes on the washing program… Which by the way always takes 10 minutes!

The system works. Everybody who wants shares a book. I like the system and see the same system growing on Internet. I get amazed how many book boxes there are on the Internet. It’s just full of open boxes packed with Open Educational Resources.

Still. I’m not satisfied.

Yes open systems are good, but there is something essential missing – Collaboration!

I think it’s important to differentiate between passive and active sharing. Just putting out material that everyone can use is good, yes, but is not going to create collaboration. It’s not going to develop or create something new.

So what is needed to create active sharing? Well, the answer is easy – Book clubs!

I have two ingredients for creating a good book club.

  1. Agree on what book you should read before you start reading.

I had a interesting experience from a research project in psychology. What we did was that we started the collaboration process early on. Not just sharing data after we collected it. Rather we shared the experimental setup and the research method. This created an interest to understand the reflections and interpretations of others. To collaborate. Hear what others have found, what are their thoughts? What was the same, what was different?

We should not just share Educational Resources. Its more important to build the resources together.

  1. You must tell others about the book.

In this weeks webinar we had the usual discussion regarding MOOCs.

I think somebody (me) said…

“The thing that is really unique with MOOCs is that they are really unsocial!”

We have to create courses and OER where collaboration is built in. As discussed by Weller and Anderson (2013) I think it´s important to build big support systems when creating open courses and OER. Otherwise the system will be very fragile. And not just support, but stable scaffolding systems that are connects users and of the material.

Open resources shouldn’t just be book boxes – it should be a book clubs!




Weller, M., & Anderson, T. (2013). Digital resilience in higher education.European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 16(1), 53.


3 reaktioner till “Starting a Book Club

  1. Thanks Marcus for your interesting input. I like the way you present your thoughts. It inspires me to also think laterally. Collaboration seems to be the pre-requisite to open learning and sharing. Consumerism, materialism and the profit motive has been rising over the decades. It would be interesting to see the effect of these on OER and sharing.


  2. I think ”the book club” that is a nice metaphor, and as an educational developer I have had some ideas of starting such a club. I have not decided on the format yet, but your post inspires me to implement it in some way! Perhaps we should have one for the intire KTH? (My initial thoughts was to have one at my department but there might be too few persons interested.)


  3. Thank you for this post! I like the idea of book clubs online. Collaborating all the way is something I hadn’t thought about before. Perhaps that’s something that will come with time. Collaboration will be so obvious that we do it all the time without thinking much about it.



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