We have a new commercial presentation on the tools available from our XYZ family of companies: XYZ Textbooks, XYZ Homework, MathTV, and MathTV Courses. If you are teaching online for the first time, we have many ways to help. Our companies are all very video intensive, setting us apart from other publishers. These videos make online teaching more effective: Students always have someone to watch work problems, discuss study skills, or present enrichment topics. These videos are built into all of our products, and that cuts down on the work you need to do when creating a course online. In fact, we already have courses set up for you, if you would like an all-in-one package. If not, there are easy ways to integrate our eBooks and videos into the courses you are currently teaching. So look for our commercial presentations schedule on this site, or request a presentation for your school. I know you will be happy you did. I can always be reached at email@example.com.
I am working from home like most of you. All the conferences where I was scheduled to speak have been cancelled, so I am doing the presentations anyway - live, online. They are the same presentations I do at conferences, but now they will be Zoom meetings. If you want to take a break from the news and get back to some fun mathematics, sign up for one of the presentations. Or if you are teaching online for the first time, I can share what I have learned about teaching online under a tight schedule. Click on any date below to see a description of the topic and/or to register for that meeting. Wishing everyone health and patience during this difficult time.
Because many colleges are having their students work from home, we are making our Bootcamp Courses free through the end of the summer. If you are needing a corequisite course for your students, you can send them to us and we will get them up to speed. You can enroll in any of our courses as well, so you can see how your students are doing. All courses are at courses.mathtv.com.
Our new MathTV eBookPlus books are just about here. Check back in a couple of days and we should have more to look at. Our new product is unique because it integrates online homework into our eBook. Most online homework systems do the opposite; they integrate the eBook into the homework system.
We know many instructors are scrambling to take their classes online for the rest of this term. What are the biggest problems with moving a person-to-person, on-campus class to an online class? Here is one study: In February of 2020, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the two biggest impediments to implementing online learning for both instructors and administrators were
Time it takes to adopt and implement
Faculty time and effort required
Source: Time for Class Toolkit, 2019, Tyton Partners/Babson Survey Research Group
Our MathTV CourseBooks solve both problems: They give instructors the quickest transition from a classroom on campus to an online course, anywhere. Here is why:
So, if you are just getting started with online learning, start with us; you will be glad you did! If you want to simplify your online homework system, take a look at our new system.
I think our Stat Prep book is the best book on the market to get students ready for statistics. But instructors are having a hard time finding a place for it in their curriculum; they don't have a course with Stat Prep in the title. The book is really a Quantitative Literacy book, but when instructors look at it from that perspective the topic list doesn't match the topic list they are familiar with. But the book teaches quantitative literacy, number sense, and critical thinking better than any book I have seen.
Here is my question: How do we find that group of instructors that can adjust their curriculum to fit this book into it? We know this is the best book for teaching quantitative literacy while getting students ready for statistics. How do we get instructors to take a chance on it when they don't have a Stat Prep course and their topic list for Quantitative Literacy doesn't match the list of topics in the book?
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT I was scheduled to speak this weekend in Sacramento at a regional mathematics conference. The conference was cancelled because of the Coronavirus. So I am doing the same presentation I was scheduled to do, but I'm doing it live, online, on the dates and times below. This conference cancellation has actually opened up new possibilities. Because I have been using the Zoom app for some business meetings this year, I realized it can be used for presentations as well. As more conferences are cancelled, this will be a good way to keep our professional development going. So, click on the links below to sign up for one of these presentations, and we will see what happens! If this goes well, I will do my other presentations online as well.
It is fun to think where we would be if we had the millions of dollars in funding that the free, and low cost, educational publishers have received. We are self-funded, and the investment doesn't come close to the funding given to OpenStax, Lumen Learning, and the other OER publishers. I am actually glad that we didn't have more money in the beginning because we would have wasted it. But now we are very efficient and the $5M or $10M the other publishers have received would go a long way with us; we probably have the highest return on investment of any of the small publishers And who would benefit the most if we had more funding? Students. Remember, we are the only publisher owned and operated by someone with over 30 years of experience in the higher education classrooms, who enjoys teaching developmental mathematics. We know our students, we are on their side; we want them to be successful. You can support us by using one of our textbooks in one of your classes.
I like OER, especially the Open part. I think some good things will come from the continued editing and refining of the products. Lumen learning has a good model for doing this. But the free part of OER is a myth. OER textbooks are not free; someone is paying for them. If the Gates Foundation donates money to OpenStax, that money didn't just appear in Bill Gates' saving account; lots of people bought computers and software, and Microsoft made money from it. On a smaller scale, if an instructor puts a book online for free, someone is paying for the computer the book was created on, and the server that displays the book. None of these Open Source, OER, or free textbooks are actually free.
Some people who support OER do so because they don't like the idea of publishers and authors benefitting financially from the educational materials they create. Do you think the employees at OpenStax are donating their time? Imagine how your travel budget compares to the person running OpenStax, or the OpenStax employees that attend the conferences you attend. Don't get me wrong, OpenStax is a good company, with an admirable mission, no one there is working for free.
When we started XYZ Textbooks our goal was to offer students a choice between reasonably priced eBooks and reasonably priced print books. (My inspiration was from my publisher at the time; they raised the price of my trigonometry book to over $300.) When we first started, our prices were lower than all the big publishers. If one of our books made it into the final three or four books for an open adoption, the other publishers in the group immediately lowered their prices. (We know this because the instructors at those schools told us.) So we had a effect on the price of textbooks, but we could not make our book free, or we would not be in business.
There is one downside to OER and the financing from big donors that is rarely talked about: If the small, independent publishers, like XYZ Textbooks, are eliminated because of OER, we may lose the innovation, drive, and mission that caused me to start XYZ Textbooks in the first place. Do you want the Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, Barnes and Noble, and the other institutions that give money to OER, to decide what educational materials we will use in the future? They have their place in higher education, and they are making materials available to us that we would not otherwise have, but I don't think we want lose the small, independent publishers in the meantime.
How can you help? You can help support us, and the other small publishers, by using our materials in one section of one of your courses. Its that simple.
I just installed the Canvas App on my iPhone and now I can access the courses I am teaching in the Canvas Free for Teachers LMS. The trick is to input the school as canvas.instructure.com. I installed both the Canvas Teacher app and the Canvas Student app. That way I can see what my students see when they install the app. I think the courses look great on the phone.
Here is a link to a file explaining the process of getting the app and then logging in to your courses:
Installing and Using the Canvas App
Publishers are pushing students away from print and moving them to digital. But the research mentioned in the article below shows that students overwhelmingly say they learn better with print. I have said this before: My experience is that this difference is even more pronounced in mathematics, especially college developmental mathematics. Students never said they did not want print textbooks; they just didn't want to pay the high prices publishers were asking. Let's give our students a chance to buy print books at reasonable prices, and not force them into digital only. Here is the article:
2 reasons beyond prices that this merger of textbook publishers should worry every college student
All the posts you see here have been, or will be, posted on my LinkedIn account. If you want to see them as they are released, follow me on LinkedIn: