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This book has grown out of a number of converging projects and interests, some of these related to my institution, the Open University (OU), some from research and others from my online network.

In my workplace at the Institute of Educational Technology at the OU, there are a number of colleagues who I have worked with on various projects and talked through many of the issues in this book. These include Patrick McAndrew, Grainne Conole, Eileen Scanlon, Doug Clow, Nick Pearce, Josie Taylor, Will Woods, Sam Kinsley and Karen Cropper amongst many others. Elsewhere in the OU, Tony Hirst has acted as my archetype for a digital scholar, and John Naughton showed me the power of blogging before they were even called blogs. I'd also like to express my gratitude to all the colleagues who have patiently attended workshops where I have worked through these ideas and the various senior managers who have indulged half-baked project plans and supported the writing of this book.

My online network features far too many people to list, and I fear I will offend people by not including them, but it would be remiss of me not to highlight the influence of early bloggers and online contributors, including Alan Cann, George Siemens, Josie Fraser, Scott Leslie, Brian Lamb, Brian Kelly, Alan Levine and Jim Groom.

I am aware that evenings when I should have been giving my family my full attention were occupied with writing, or ‘playing with stuff’, so thank you to my wife and daughter for allowing me to get on with it.

But most of all, my thanks go to all those who constitute my network, who, on a daily basis, share resources, thoughts, links, insights and poor jokes and thus enrich my professional and personal life.

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