Wednesday, August 31, 2011

End of Day Links for August 31st

The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss says it's all about the (boring) content.

Richard Lee Colvin at The Quick and the Ed talks about the expenses incurred switching institutions and taking the longer road towards getting one's degree.

Inside Higher Ed notes that A Year After School, Most Say College Is Worth It.

The Chronicle (registration required) explains why financial literacy is the key to success for low income students.

And finally, Eric Sheninger talks about Advancing Mobile Phones as Learning Devices.

Want a constant stream of the most interesting education stories from around the web? Follow us @academicpub on Twitter.

AcademicPub and the Creation of Custom Course Textbooks

We always love to hear positive feedback, that's why we were absolutely thrilled to receive this testimonial outlining some of the benefits AcademicPub can provide to professors developing custom course books for their classes.

The following comes from Dr. Tom Gardner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Gustavus Adolphus:
I am a professor who, on more than one occasion in the past, has taught custom courses for which there was no clearly applicable text, and who has had to haggle with publishers over the use of copyrighted content. In the end, I had to make do with teaching the courses using assorted handouts and lecture only, which was a disservice both the to students and to the nature of the material I was trying to present. 

Having recently seen a demonstration of AcademicPub at a national American Chemical Society conference, I was impressed by its ability to clear copyrights in a matter of moments from its library of source material.  When combined with content provided by the author in PDF or MS Word format and content from the WWW, a suitable textbook can be constructed with relative ease compared to traditional publishing.  The system also provides live tracking of royalty costs during the compilation of material, making it easier to select materials that will keep the end product affordable to students.  Naturally, all of the advantages of a custom text apply as well, most notably the timeliness of the material, which has become an expectation of today's Internet Age students.

Friday, August 26, 2011

End of Day Links for August 26th

Some links that caught our eye this week:

Lora Helvie-Mason discusses some websites to consider using in your teaching.

States are pushing to teach personal finance in schools, reports US News.

A number of universities are looking to digitize works classified as free use.

Student loans now outpace credit card debt, reports the Democrat and Chronicle.

Dan Klamm at Mashable gives us three tips for teachers using social media in the classroom.

Be sure to follow @AcademicPub on Twitter for consistently updated and breaking news regarding trends in education from cost to technology.

AcademicPub Mentioned in Inside Higher Ed

 From an article about the rise of custom alternatives to traditional coursebooks:
AcademicPub, lets professors build "textbooks" by pulling content from the Web, clearing copyright in real time when necessary; from its own library, which includes pre-cleared content from a number of academic publishers; and from the professors' own files. As the professor builds the book, AcademicPub keeps a running tally of how much it will cost for students. If a professor thinks the price of the book is getting too high, she can ax certain parts or substitute in content from open sources.
 You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Publish Your Work in Our Library Via The Scholar Collection

Educators can use AcademicPub to create engaging, dynamic custom textbooks for their courses. Often, of course, part of the process of creating a successful custom book  involves creating your own content.

But did you know that you can easily add your own content,  to our content library so others can benefit from it too? And, even better, AcademicPub will collect and remit royalty payments directly to you when your writings are adopted for use.

You can read more about The Scholar Collection here and here. When you’re ready, simply fill out this form and fax it via the number provided. Feel free to contact our support team with any questions you might have.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Upcoming Conferences

We'll be attending the following conferences:

2011 APSA Annual
Meeting and Exhibition

Sept. 1-4
Booth #425
Washington State Convention Center
Seattle, WA
Debra Exum, National Accounts Manager

Fall 2011 ACS National
Meeting & Exposition

Aug. 29 - 31
Booth #1904
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO
Debra Exum, National Accounts Manager

So if you'll be in Seattle or Denver during those times be sure to come and say hi!

End of Day Links for August 22nd, 2011

As a new feature on the AcademicPub Blog we’ll be sharing a number of links that caught our eye a few times a week.

George Courous examines the battle between content and process and decides that, really, "there is no fight at all."

Wondering about image copyrights? Miguel Guhlin

Be sure to follow @academicpub on twitter for regularly updated links to stories and articles about the world of education.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Improving Student Engagement Through Social Media

With the beginning of a new semester almost here, it’s a great time to focus on creating meaningful learning experiences for new and returning students. The recent national spotlight on improving graduation and retention rates for college students makes it more important than ever that we find ways to support increased student success. Both the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) were designed to measure student engagement and discover best practices at colleges and universities across the country. According to CCSSE, “research shows that the more actively engaged students are — with college faculty and staff, with other students, and with the subject matter — the more likely they are to learn and to achieve their academic goals.” Professors and student affairs professionals must find ways to actively engage students both inside and outside the classroom, using a variety of approaches and tools, including technology.

With the ever-growing use of social media among students, many educators are looking for ways to utilize it to support student engagement efforts. There are as many ways to incorporate the technology as there are social media platforms available. Here are just a few examples:

Derek Bruff, a math lecturer and assistant director of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, discusses the use of a “backchannel” in class discussions on his blog and in a recent New York Times article. This use of social media takes a student’s tendency to get involved in social media discussions that distract from class and turns it to a focus on contributing to in-class conversation and learning. One example would be have students use their smartphones or laptops to post to a discussion board or Twitter at the same time you are conducting an in-class discussion or lecture. You would project the “backchannel” Twitter or discussion board feed on the screen and refer to it for questions and comments by your students.

Adding class blogs to the curriculum is another way to utilize social media in support of learning outcomes. Professor Alex Mueller utilizes them in his upper level English courses as a way to extend class discussion in completely new directions. A recent UMass-Boston EdTech Newsletter details some of the ways this allows students to produce writing and then participate in an on-going comment stream with feedback to refine their ideas and concepts.

Campus organizations and student clubs are using Facebook pages and groups to communicate, sharing ideas for events, sending out reminders of meeting times and offering a place where new students can find out more about them. Some clubs have even gone completely online – one example is detailed in a recent Braintrack article about supporting online students that shares information from Pennsylvania State University’s Online Psychology Club.

With new social media platforms and ways to connect within existing course software, this will be a growing area in the focus to improve student engagement. Please use the comment section to share successful examples for using social media on your campus to support student success and engagement. Do you have ideas you’d like to try but haven’t yet implemented? We look forward to continuing to explore this issue in future posts.