I recently had the chance to participate in an online meeting with regard to a textbook we are considering adopting in one of our courses. For me, it was a way to see how the textbook integrates the online options with the physical book. These books are very expensive and it is incumbent on the faculty to make sure our students are getting the most for their money. We also need to make sure that a textbook will hold up over the test of time. In other words, a book should cover both levels of the same course, and be able to be re-sold as some students want to recover their costs. The book also needs to provide material that meets the Ontario standards for the course. With our Document Production course, we continually supplement with additional exercises, and quite frankly, we are tired of developing our own materials when the book should suffice. This online meeting gave me the chance to see what the book offers for the student and the faculty.
I find that there are always options with integrated texts that I miss because I didn’t know they existed. As one of the books reps said, “sometimes you don’t know what you didn’t until you realized you didn’t know it”. It seems like a silly quote but it makes perfect sense – these new on line systems have amazing grading options and amazing help features that if nobody showed you they existed, you would never find them. Some information is not necessarily intuitive. Meeting with book reps and the textbook’s IT experts gave me the opportunity to see some things that I would have missed otherwise. It was also the opportunity to meet some people I think I will be working with for the next couple of years. It is always a bonus when you can put a name to a face.
I was lucky in that the meeting manager set up the meeting so that I could chair. This was perfect. I sometimes find that people show me things that I already know, so being able chair gave me the wonderful chance to ask my questions and the things I need to know rather than what the textbook people think I needed to know. I find it is a better use of my time. I am a visual learner so showing me how to do something is much better than telling me how to do something. The chance to ask my questions was also appreciated – I actually asked a couple that stumped them and they had get back to me with the answers. I think they made the IT reps think about changing a couple of features – we shall see.
Here is a screen capture showing I attended.
I am sure that more questions will arise as the semester continues. We will be doing something similar as net meetings seems to be an efficient way to learn new material and interact with the people who do the design work.
Here is my link: https://mheducation.webex.com/join/greg.nosal.