Following the theme of free online samples, a "book in progress" SurfingThroughNoise: Riding the Online Knowledge Wave by George Lorenzo has chapter one up online, "What is this World Wide Web". It is a sort of spinoff from work he was involved in for Educause (see next post!), and it draws quite heavily on interviews with US academics and commentators. It's under a creative commons licence, and touches on a number of familiar themes: insofar as it draws some of these together and has some nice quotes it could form the basis of a class discussion. However I must warn you that the chapter finishes "At the risk of sounding corny –“Surf’s Up, Dude,” – let’s ride the online knowledge wave, stay balanced, learn how to avoid nasty undertows, know where we are at all times and reach the shoreline safely so we can hop on the next wave." The chapter is at http://www.edpath.com/stn.htm
Photo by Sheila Webber: Wild roses, Sheffield, April 2007.