The Encyclopedia Britannica Goes Out of Print

Three news stories caught my eye last week that may signal that change is coming to textbook publishing faster than expected.

First The Atlantic reports that only 8,000 copies of  the 2010 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica sold in the U.S., compared to 120,000 of the 1990 edition.  After 244 years, Britannica is ending the print edition.  Read more at:  A Sign of the Times: Encyclopedia Britannica to End Its Print Run

Next was the Wired Campus report on the Pearson Foundation survey that found —

One-fourth of the college students surveyed said they owned a tablet, compared with just 7 percent last year. Sixty-three percent of college students believe tablets will replace textbooks in the next five years—a 15 percent increase over last year’s survey.

Read more at:  Tablet Ownership Triples Among C0llege Students

Final one was the Washington Post item on the iPad app for the Khan Academy.  The Khan Academy is  known for its educational videos teaching math and other topics.   Read more at: Khan Academy launches on iPad: Is this education’s future?

These news items  made me wonder if speed is picking up for changes in textbook publishing and seem to support the prediction by Rob Reynolds, Director of Product Design and Research at Xplana,  that “25% of textbook market in Higher Education will be digital by 2015”  in  “What Trends Really Matter?”  presentation.

ePubs by chapter

User Interface Design for Virtual Environments: Challenges and Advances

Here’s an example of an ePub that are available on a chapter-by-chapter basis.  Could profs use such chapters to configure their own customized ePubs?  Are there copyright restrictions for doing this, eg, like course pack?

Adobe Fundamentally Changes Economics of Publishing on iPad For Single Edition Content

Adobe Fundamentally Changes Economics of Publishing on iPad For Single Edition Content

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) announced Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition allowing freelance designers and small design firms to publish interactive content created with Adobe InDesign® CS5.5 software on Apple iPad. With a breakthrough fee of just US$395 per application, Single Edition offers an affordable and flexible end-to-end workflow for designers to publish a single-issue application for sale or distribution through the Apple App Store. Without writing a single line of code, designers can now use their existing skills and workflows to create an application for the iPad, saving on development costs while allowing them to maintain complete creative control.

Rafter Discover for Faculty to Evaluate Textbook Selections

Audrey Watters reports at at Inside Higher Ed that textbook rental company BookRenter has spinned off some services it offered to form a new company called Rafter.  Part of the new services is a tool for faculty called Rafter Discovery. Rafter Discovery enables faculty “to compare prices and content in textbooks, publication dates, examine lifecycle dates, read reviews by other educators, and tap into historic Bookrenter data to see textbook adoption patterns. The site is free and open to any educator.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

New Alternatives to iBook Author

Wired Campus  reports on new textbook authoring tools — Booktype, “a free, open source platform that produces beautiful, engaging books formatted for print, Amazon, iBooks and almost any ereader,” and Inkling Habitat, a tool for publishing interactive content.  To read the full Wired Campus post  —

2 Platforms Offer Alternative to Apple’s Textbook Authoring Software

As GoodEReader reports,  Booktype is built for collaborative book writing, which “allows for simultaneous editing, live chat and internal messaging that allows notes, citations, urls, text and pictures to be easily exchanged between contributors….”  The following one-minute video offers an overview of this new authoring tool —

Woe is me!

I was born with a small mind that now shrinks noticeably on an hourly basis.  To help me stay organized, and provide a tool for conveying my “findings” to my colleagues, I am using  a “Google Doc” table.

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JMU e-text search -Social Work

I was pleasantly surprised when searching for social work texts.  Word on the academic streets was that there were very few e-text resources for social work.  Much to my surprise, the word was incorrect.  There are many generalist texts for social work.  Most of the classes in our curriculum are covered in the e-text database.  The two courses I am interested in are forensic social work and contemporary families.  While I didn’t find a specific text, in its entirety, that I liked for either course, I did find many resources that could be put together to comprehensively cover either course.  I’m excited to learn more about how to put these together to create a text!

Previously, I had used online video clips (youtube, netflix, hulu), and had created my own blog for a class based on online materials.  However, I had not, prior to this e-text search, found much information central to social work.

Open source eBooks for Ed Tech

Open source eBooks for Ed Tech

The main text for one of my courses – Intro to Instructional Technology – is available without charge via the National Research Council.  The book – How People Learn – is a very readable account of the convergence of learning theories and key topics in educational psychology/cognitive psychology.

Two of the three texts for another course – Information in Contemporary Society – are also available as free eBooks.  The first – Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out – is offered by MIT Press and describes the digital upbringing of the current generation of college students.  The second – Blown to Bits – provides a look at the various technologies that undergird our current digital life.

Interestingly, the free Hanging Out book is offered through Follett CafeScribe for $5.00.  The other two are not offered by Follett.

Computer Science – let me count the ways

In my discipline we really rely on many electronic resources as a matter of course. For example: are tutorials for the programming language that we use in CS 139/239. While it may be a bit daunting to introductory students, but the end of the first semester, these are wonderful.

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Free Textbooks

When it comes to free textbooks, it appears that  introductory college courses are receiving lots of attention.

On February 1, 2012, Connexions, the open an educational content repository, announced OpenStax College™.  OpenStax College “offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers.”   The initial textbook  offerings focus on  introductory courses including College Physics, Introduction to Sociology, and Concepts of Biology. For more information, see:

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