Posts Tagged ‘ Customized Textbooks ’

Who’s Screwing Whom? – The Great Textbook / Bookstore Debate

As we’re in the midst of back-to-school rush, I’m reading some interesting industry-related articles and posts. While many are the standard “how to save on college, dorm decor, food, textbooks, etc.,” types of writings, a few more-detailed (and more honest and daring) posts have caught my attention. I wanted to take a moment to share them with you.

 

The New Republic, “How College Bookstores Are Killing College Bookstores”
In this post, Mark Athitakis explores how the college bookstore has gone from being dependent on selling textbooks to a vendor of anything but — namely a services outpost selling everything but textbooks.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/106376/decline-of-college-bookstores-textbooks-online-print

Luke Thomas, “The Textbook Industry & Greed: My Story”
This is a firsthand account of a student trying to purchase books and the hassles and hurdles and confrontations he and his wife faced trying to do so without breaking the bank. It’s a real-life account of the cruel world of academic book-buying, and it isn’t pretty.

http://lukethomas.com/the-textbook-industry-greed-its-getting-worse/

And of course, something from the vault . . .
The Textbook Guru, “Why Can’t I Buy My Books Anywhere But The Bookstore?”
My take on the bookstore’s attempt to move to custom publications and the negative impact on students.
Part 1: http://thetextbookguru.com/2012/08/07/i-cant-find-my-textbook/
Part 2: http://thetextbookguru.com/2012/08/09/i-cant-find-my-textbookpart-2/
Reactions: http://thetextbookguru.com/2012/08/10/why-cant-i-buy-my-book-any-where-but-the-bookstore-reaction/

eBook Review: Flatworld Knowledge MIYO

Today is a very special edition of our eBook review series. Today we get to take a look at the unique publishing tools offered by Flatworld Knowledge. If you missed our review of the student side of Flatworld, you can check it out here.

As I mentioned in the student side review, all Flatworld Knowledge books are under a creative commons license as opposed to an all rights reserved license that most publisher use. For students this may not mean much but for educators it makes all the difference. Essential this ‘open license’ allows teachers to pick up a standard textbook for their course and customize it to fit their needs.

Flatworld calls this feature MIYO (pronounced Meeyo) which stands for Make It Your Own. When a teacher chooses to use Flatworld, they first sign up with an educator account and then find a book for their course. While not every course will have an appropriate textbook, Flatworld boasts a diverse catalog that covers many of the general credit courses most liberal arts college students are required to take.

After locating the appropriate book, teachers can choose to ‘Adopt This Book’ which puts it into the ‘Your Adoptions’ menu. Adopting a book prompts the teacher to enter a variety of data about their course which allows students to easily find their professors specific book later.

The next step is where MIYO comes in. From the ‘My Adoptions’ menu, teachers can pull up their book in a view almost identical to the student view except they have a variety of editing options. Editing is simple and easy and works a lot like editing a word document. Professors can easily delete any chapter or subsection that isn’t relevant with a single click.

Adding chapters or sections is just as easy, even if writing them is not. Professors can use this feature for anything from simply copy/pasting their lecture notes for each chapter in as a sub section, or they can add an entire chapter to cover something the book leaves out.

Maybe adding an entire chapter is  a bit much, but you’d like to adjust the existing chapters. In the editing view, professors can pull up any section as if to read it, then double click the text to begin editing at the sentence level. Say a professor has been teaching an economics course for a few years and has noticed students have a very hard time with a certain concept. Rather than add a new section, they can simply insert their own additional explanation into the text as supplemental material.

After making adjustments to the text, publishing it takes just a couple clicks and it is ready to be viewed by students. A custom link to your text is provided after making an update which can easily be emailed out to a class list. Even making changes mid semester is easy, and students will see the new material instantly in their online versions.

Of course the best part for students and educators is that the online version of ANY book on Flatworld Knowledge is completely free to read. With basically no barrier to entry, Flatworld Knowledge has changed the game for students and faculty alike. Greater customization and versatility for teachers and free books for students make so much sense it’s hard to believe this platform isn’t the norm already, but it will take time to wrestle a foothold in the industry away from traditional textbook publishers that have had a hold on the market for decades.

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