Crucial Thought Rss

Featured Posts

Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

Read more

Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

Read more

Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

Read more

Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

Read more

Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

Read more

Ethical Question about NECC Presentation

Category : General

So I guess I’m going to NECC. I’m still up in the air about it, although I was accepted to present in the Open Source Lab. I’ll have to go into debt to go, since there’s no funding help, so it’s a question of whether I should.

Either way, I got this email and I have a bit of an ethical problem with it. I recognize that the publishers want to get their books out there, but this seems sketchy. My inclination is to politely decline, but I wondered if you didn’t have an alternate viewpoint? Is there something I’m missing? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Here’s the email in its entirety, published with explicit permission from the publishing company and the author of the email.

Dear Chris,

I noticed that you are presenting on Moodle at the upcoming NECC in San Antonio.  I am with FTC Publishing and we publish the book Moodle Magic: Make it Happen, by Laurie Korte.  If you are not familiar with this book, it is a great resource for educators looking to begin using Moodle or educators who are looking for tips and tricks for using Moodle in the classroom.  I was wondering if you would be interested in receiving a few of these books to use as giveaways during your session.

We would supply you a copy of the book for your own personal use as well as the giveaways.  We would also include a few coupons and catalogs for attendees of your session that are interested in learning more about the books.

If you are interested in receiving these materials please email me back with the number of people you are expecting to attend your session as well as the address of the location you would like for us to ship the items.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

I think part of my issue is that I’ve not read the book. If I were a fan of the book to begin with, this would be easy, since it would be a genuine, voluntary endorsement. I haven’t read it, though, so it makes me feel like a bit of a puppet if I were to give these out.

Once before, PbWiki gave me some premium wikis to give out but I was ok with that since I was already a bit of a PbWiki evangelist. I use that software regularly and like it a bunch, so there’s my difference there.

Also, I approached PbWiki. They have a presenter pack (or did, it’s been a few years) that I emailed to get. They did not approach me.

The publisher probably searched for Moodle in the NECC planner and found me. Is that bad? Not necessarily.

I’m just not sure how to respond. What do you think?


Comments (12)

I would give it out as door prizes and announce that I had not read it and couldn’t endorse it. Maybe someone in the audience has read it and has a comment about it. I know I wouldn’t mind receiving this because who knows, it might be good.

I had a similar situation and concern when I presented at MICCA this year. In my case I tentatively agreed, until I read the book and found it to actually be a worthwhile publication.

Even so, I made a point of giving full disclosure before my presentation concerning how I had acquired the books and why I was giving them away.

If I had found the books to be below par, I would have mentioned that while I was handing them out. I think o long as you’re honest people will still respect you.

First of all, looking forward to seeing you at NECC.

Second, I think I’d echo what Pat said. You don’t have to endorse but you might be providing someone with a great resource. As long as there is full disclosure on your part and the publishing company, people can be free to make choices accordingly.

Hi Chris,

for the last two years, FTC offered up Podcasting and GarageBand books for sessions I presented at TCEA (Texas). I gladly accepted them and subsequently gave the books away as door prizes. Like the other comments stated, I gave full disclosure that I wasn’t in any way endorsing the book or had any financial ties to the publisher. They NEVER asked me to show any favoritism toward the books. To me it was a win-win…. I had some good door prizes that were related to the subject matter I was presenting and the publisher got some good exposure.

Best advice…come up with a fun and creative way to give them out.

Chris, FTP Publishing sent me some Podcasting books for SC EdTech. They sent the books early enough that I could look through it. I gave them away as door prizes. I told the participants where I got the books. All FTC asked was for me to give away the books no pushy advertising or anything. So they are safe. Keep a copy for yourself (they say to do that). The podcasting book I have actually has some great resources on how to inform parents, the processes, etc.

I have dealt with FTC many times, purchasing many of their products. I like the company and have never had problems with them. I have not been a part of their promotions though I do like their products.

My advice is similar to others – I’d suggest that you ask them to send you a review copy. No obligation. If you like what you see, then tell them you’d be happy to use their book as a door prize. If you don’t, then don’t use the book. I guess I feel a bit hinky distributing a resource that you know nothing about.
But I see nothing wrong with them asking you the question.

I know Mike from FTC publishing for years and i actually taught with the author of the Moodle Magic book, Laurie Korte. She is very passionate about moodle, has been planning moodle get togethers online. I”m sure if you contact FTC publsihing they will send you a review copy.

You’ve already received some good advice here. I would just echo the suggestions about transparency, and the potential benefit of folks coming to your session and being able to walk away with a book resource they didn’t have before. Reviewing the book in advance is certainly a good idea. And hey, if NECC funding is an issue, why not be entrepreneurial with this and ask FTC publishing to help fund your travel– in exchange for you giving away some of their books at your session and offering to work their booth for a few shifts? It’s certainly possible… With full disclosure on whatever you decide I’m sure you’ll come up roses on this from an ethical standpoint. And…. I look forward to seeing you at NECC too! 🙂

Wes has echoed my thoughts–ask for something in exchange.. Use the aproach that you’d be delighted to do it if an arrangement can be worked out, and then ask for the complimentary copy for what you are somewhat promoting. My friend Diane Cordell offset the cost of her trip by agreeing to work a booth. It is a common thing I gather.

See you in San Antonio!

I gather you need funds to offset your expenses. How about asking the publishers to sponsor you. Maybe after you read the book a spark might ignite and you might even like the book and so on and on !!!!!! And share and share and particiapte in the next book project. Oh if you are already there; have a great time of it.

I agree with the majority of the commenters, that you should give full disclosure that you are not endorsing the book. I’d like to have a free sample for my own use. If they want to give them away, I say go for it. Good luck at the conference. If you don’t want the book, send it to me! LOL I am wanting to learn how to use Moodle in my classroom.