Richard Schwier has just released a new e-book, Connections: Virtual Learning Communities. He writes that this "is an eBook that explores how online communities form, who joins them, and how they operate in learning environments." Just to make life interesting, the book is in .epub format, which means you can't just read it in your browser; you need an e-book reader such as Calibre (here's more information on e-book readers). But do make the effort. It's an extensive work, 283 pages of goodness, drawn from a team of researchers, and imbued with Schwier's rich sense of perspective. I've only been able to skim it in the hour or so since it was released, but I will spend some warm time with it this week, drinking it in. Schweir advises us, "Be present. Purposefully present. Whether you are in a formal online learning environment, or you are building your own informal learning environment, it is important to deliberately and explicitly express your presence." The book, I think, exemplifies this advice. Via Alec Couros.