Monday, August 18, 2008

Wiki Textbook: Two's Company Three's a Crowdsource

Gordon Snyder and I have been toying with an idea like this for a few years. We even have an unpublished book that we were going to convert to a wiki and open up to collaborators. Unfortunately, that project has been put on the back burner. Our idea wasn't nearly as ambitious - 11 chapters and 11 authors. Nine-hundred twenty-six authors - WOW - how do you calculate the royalties? What's 1/926-th of 10%? I love that Wankel has used tools like LinkedIn and Facebook to build his community of authors. Read more about crowdsourcing here and consider picking up a copy of James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. Really great idea- I wish I had thought of it ;) I also really love the phrase "...dinosaur books..." Wired Campus: Management Professor Uses 'Crowdsourcing' to Write Textbook
Management Professor Uses 'Crowdsourcing' to Write Textbook

Charles Wankel is gathering hundreds of co-authors from around the world to write his latest textbook — 926 of them in 90 countries, to be exact.

Mr. Wankel is an associate professor of management at St. John’s University, in New York. Each of his co-authors, most of whom are also management professors, will write or edit a small portion of the final text, which is slated to be published by Routledge. They’re organizing the vast effort using a wiki that lets participants see and edit each other’s contributions.

Mr. Wankel is essentially asking the expected audience for the book to be part of its production, since he hopes that management professors around the world will end up using the text in their courses. He found his co-authors by searching social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn for members who were management professors — and of course he invited colleagues he had met over the years. The practice has been called “crowdsourcing,” a term coined by a Wired magazine writer to describe outsourcing a project to a large group using collaborative Internet technologies.

The authors are practicing what they teach, too: The book’s title is Management Through Collaboration: Teaming in a Networked World.
Chapter editors and others who devote significant amounts of time to the project will get a cut of the royalties, says Mr. Wankel. And the hope is that authors will do more than just write — they’ll be asked to submit test questions, case studies, and even supplementary video clips. “If each of us does a YouTube video interview with a manager where we live in the language where we are, we’ll have a 1,000 of them in 90 countries,” says Mr. Wankel. “It’s this kind of thing that the dinosaur books can’t compete with.”
Here's more from the wiki:
The idea is that this book will be produced using an immense network of coauthors. The chapters will present text, examples, and exercises using networking in a globalized world as a prism through which the key management functions are refracted in telling, useful and important ways. This introductory management textbook is using a new authoring structure to create a high quality, cutting-edge, and well-researched book. The coauthors of this breakthrough endeavor number almost a thousand management educators and researchers in about ninety nations. The twenty-first century global virtual community creating this work is itself an interesting constellation of management phenomena that provides a wide range of exciting management experiences for its members to use as examples in their teaching and writing. More importantly, being part of such a diverse, constantly self-creating, mob of innovators is immense fun! It is our hope that our contributions from Tonga to Peru, from Iceland to Botswana, from Hawaii to Tunisia, from China to Grenada, will reflect our diversity and yet our communality in this increasingly connected world in ways that will engage and excite learners in all the nations of the world.
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