Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Interview with Zip Publishing

We recently sat down with our friends at Zip Publishing to talk about AcademicPub as an e-book solution, the future of digital textbooks, and more:


AP: Tell us about your company and your history.

CoursePackets.net was created as a national brand for our parent company Zip Publishing, which has been servicing the Ohio State University since 1969. As our clientele grew from OSU to other local schools, and then to other schools in Ohio, we decided that it was time to go national and offer our services to colleges and universities across the country. Today CoursePackets.net serves over 150 schools across the nation, offering custom course materials, Out-of-Print book reprints, copyright clearance, print services, and book publishing for all genres.

AP: Why did you choose to partner with AcademicPub?

For many years, we have known that the state of course materials would move from print to digital. Even though this migration has not happened as quickly as some had predicted, it is happening none the-less. After efforts to create and offer a service which offered digital downloads, we were approached by a representative of AcademicPub. Although the service that we had created offered robust course management tools, the AcademicPub service offered what we considered to be the most important feature, the ability for instructors to assemble their materials through a web-based system that allowed for real time creation and pricing. A system that also let the instructor offer both print and digital materials to their students. The fit between the resources and experience of CoursePackets.net, and the AcademicPub system seems perfect.

AP: Do you have a view on the future of course materials you'd like to share?

The progression from printed course materials to electronic materials has been slow but steady. Recently it has gained momentum, mainly due to the sharp rise in the costs of textbooks and copyright fees. The ability to use digital files and cut out the production costs of textbooks is a great advantage in the war on education costs.

As the move to digital materials progresses, and technology becomes more integrated into the classroom, the entire teaching paradigm will change. Instructors have already begun using internet teaching tools that allow them to teach students anywhere in the world, another tool that can lower education costs as schools depend less on buildings and campuses to educate their students. Instructors also have started using new tools within the classroom that help them communicate and demonstrate their subjects more easily and dynamically.

The future of course materials, and the classroom appear to be taking shape right now. A vision of the future classroom will most likely involve students that "attend" classes in the comfort of their own homes via downloads of readings & multimedia presentations, testing and more. They will visit a course management system that allows them to learn at their own pace and offers the assistance of not only the instructor, but an online community of experts and fellow students. And from the instructor's side, they will be able to create and upload their own course materials, choose complete textbooks or portions of textbooks from publishers in digital format, create and administer testing, teach video classes and offer help to students in need, all via the internet.
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You can learn more about the partnership between Zip Publishing and AcademicPub here.