I have long struggled to imagine myself writing a book. Even as an “academic” for over 15 years, writing a book never appealed to me for a lot of reasons, ranging from priorities to impostor syndrome. Many of those reasons remain as potential roadblocks to my current plan, and I still struggle to imagine myself writing a book. But I am now “officially” undertaking a book project.
I do not yet have a prospectus let alone a publisher; it’s early days. But, I do have an idea and an outline. And I am pretty excited by the idea, so I will be spending most of my time over the next few weeks working on a book prospectus.
I am probably not supposed to give away too much at this point, but I am framing the book as a critical policy analysis of distance education in higher education. The general argument is that distance education policy in higher education is as much a function of neoliberalism, technological solutionism, and credentialism as anything else. In addition to my professional experience over the last decade, I will be drawing on some original research I have done and will continue to do while working on the book. There will be a good deal of synthesizing of research as well. And, I intend to draw on content from many books, including, but not limited to Giroux on neoliberalism in higher education, Morozov on technological solutionism, and Cottom on credentialism.
In their study of the intellectual landscape of critical policy analysis in education, Diem et. al (2014) interviewed 19 education scholars who were involved in critical policy analysis. As to the reasons these scholars chose this critical policy analysis path, the authors concluded that:
For the scholars who participated in this study, these included making a difference in the lives of students and communities that have been historically marginalized by the educational system, positively influencing education and social policies, critiquing traditional approaches to policy analysis, exposing power and rhetoric, facilitating empowerment and emancipation, and connecting their research to practice and activism.
So, that’s the mighty challenge I present to myself. While their work and books were not explicitly framed as critical policy analysis, much of my inspiration comes from folks like Cottom and Goldrick-Rab whose books have shaped important policy conversations in higher education, and who have connected their work to practice and activism.
I’ll take whatever luck and support you can offer in the coming days, weeks, months, and (hopefully not) year(s).