Tag Archives: The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook

A textbook ain’t what it used to be

4 Feb

Moi has posted about textbooks, but the posts dealt primarily with cost. In The changing world of textbooks:

As the cost of a college education rises, everyone is looking at ways to reduce cost so that more students are not priced out of a college education. Allen Grove has a good article at About.Com which gives some reasons for Why College Books Cost So Much?There are ways to cut down the cost associated with college text books. If possible, one can buy used texts. Another way to cut costs is to rent texts. Rhiana Jones’ article Top Three Online Sites to Rent College Texts At a Discount compares three text rental sites. Paul Michael has some tips for going online to find discounted texts at How to Find the Cheapest College Textbooks https://drwilda.com/2011/11/24/the-changing-world-of-textbooks/

Jeffrey R. Davis writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education article, The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook:

Textbook publishers argue that their newest digital products shouldn’t even be called “textbooks.” They’re really software programs built to deliver a mix of text, videos, and homework assignments. But delivering them is just the beginning. No old-school textbook was able to be customized for each student in the classroom. The books never graded the homework. And while they contain sample exam questions, they couldn’t administer the test themselves.

One publisher calls its products “personalized learning experiences,” another “courseware,” and one insists on using its own brand name, “MindTap.” For now, this new product could be called “the object formerly known as the textbook….”

Major publishers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years buying up software companies and building new digital divisions, betting that the future will bring an expanded role for publishers in higher education.

So far publishers produce only a limited number of titles in these born-digital formats, and the number of professors assigning them is relatively small. Only about 2 percent of textbooks sold at college bookstores are fully digital titles, according to a survey of 940 bookstores run by Follett Higher Education Group.

But if these new kinds of textbooks catch on, they raise questions about how much control publishers have over curriculum and the teaching process, as online education expands.

“It’s not a textbook, it is an entire course,” says Jean Wisuri, director of distance education at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, describing a product called Course360, from Cengage Learning. “It has activities built right into the textbook itself.”

A professor could essentially rely on a Course360 title as the full curriculum in an online course, letting students loose in the system and having them teach themselves. The Course360 titles connect to the university’s learning-management system, linking them directly into an institution’s existing virtual classroom.

Amid all this change, the lines separating publisher, professor, university, and software company are blurring: The blockbuster textbooks of tomorrow could be produced not by publishers but directly by universities, maybe with the help of MOOC companies like Coursera or Udacity. http://chronicle.com/article/Dont-Call-Them-Textbooks/136835/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en


Students Get Savvier About Textbook Buying                http://chronicle.com/article/Students-Get-Savvier-About/136827/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

For Many Students, Print Is Still King                              http://chronicle.com/article/For-Many-Students-Print-Is/136829/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Pay Nothing? Easier Said Than Done                               http://chronicle.com/article/Can-Textbooks-Ever-Really-Be/136833/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Paula J. Hane wrote about one of the products in the Online Video.net article, Cengage Learning Introduces New ‘MindTap’ Personal Learning Experience:

The customizable, cloud-based system is a web portal students log into to navigate via a dashboard. MindTap assembles all of students’ course materials in one spot for easy access—their etextbook, homework solutions, quizzes, multimedia content, assets from Gale’s research tools and library databases, and more. And, it is device agnostic—it can be accessed from their desktops, laptops, tablets, or mobile phones. It also works with any LMS, such as Blackboard.

Instructors can track students’ use, activities, and comprehension in real-time, which provides opportunities for early intervention. Grades are visible and archived so students and instructors always have access to current standings in the class. Instructors can also customize the curriculum —with modifiable learning paths, their own content elements, configurable assignment activities, and MindTap apps to drive other activities….

At the core of MindTap is MindTap Reader, which is a new interactive browser-based platform that adds significant reading and learning functionality embedded within the context of text and other elements including video/audio, annotations, activities, applications, and instructor source materials. http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/Cengage-Learning-Introduces-New-MindTap-Personal-Learning-Experience-74352.asp

College textbooks are pricey. See, Average Cost of College Textbooks [Infographic]. Yikes. http://blog.flatworldknowledge.com/2012/09/14/average-cost-of-college-textbooks-yikes-infographic/

All one can say is that the question is not what will happen to the textbook, but where is information delivery to students going and what will be the format or formats.


Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts?                                                                   https://drwilda.com/2012/08/12/are-open-source-textbooks-becoming-a-viable-alternative-to-traditional-texts/

Could ‘open source’ textbooks be cheaper than traditional textbooks?                                                           https://drwilda.com/2012/01/17/could-open-source-textbooks-be-cheaper-than-traditional-textbooks/

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