We update the list of Zoom meetings each week.
I started XYZ Textbooks when the publisher I was with at the time, priced my trigonometry book at $320. I asked them repeatedly to lower the price. The would not do it, so I started my own company to offer quality textbooks at reasonable prices. This year we are publishing a version of trigonometry and the price for the print book is $50. The eBook is $45. It is the best deal for trigonometry anywhere.
Because many colleges are having their students work from home, we are making our Bootcamp Courses free through the end of June. 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.
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?
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.
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 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 of our Fall 2019 courses are FREE. The state of California has eliminated almost all of our traditional developmental math courses, but our students are still underprepared for the transfer level math and statistics courses. Making our courses free gives our underprepared students a pathway to success; send them to us and we will get them up to speed and ready to pass a college level math or statistics course. Here are the links to the bootcamps website and to a flyer you can put up in your classroom if you want to share this information with your students:
I just noticed a LinkedIn post from Macmillan Learning, that they are hiring students for Summer 2019 to test and evaluate some Macmillan products. I did something similar with students in a college algebra course I was teaching and the experience completely changed my career. Here is what happened: On the last day of class, I passed around a sigh-up sheet for anyone in the class that was looking for a summer job. I was writing a college algebra text and I wanted the students to give me their opinions on some of the features in the book and to proofread and edit the book. Six students signed up. The first thing we did was have them take 45 minutes and read one section of the book - approximately six pages. Then we met and discussed what they liked about the section, and where they thought it could be improved. Their comments and insight about what I had written were impressive. But more than that, their conscientiousness for what they were doing surprised me. I knew them fairly well after spending a whole semester with them. But I had never seen them this enthusiastic about anything we had done in class. After working with them for a week, I was curious to see what would happen if I put them in the TV studio to record them working problems. I was surprised by how easily they took direction, and how they improved their presentations with very little coaching. They were much easier to teach in the studio, than they were in the classroom. (I believe this was because they knew their videos would end up public for other students to watch on YouTube.) So we changed direction and spent the rest of the summer doing videos. The result was MathTV.com.
Four of the students in the photo above were from that original group of six students. We used the photo for the banner across to top of the first MathTV home page. A couple of years later we started XYZ Textbooks. The creation of these companies completely changed my career, and it started with those original six students from my college algebra class.
Macmillan Learning is on the right track. If they give their summer students a little room to be creative, and if they listen to what the students are saying, it could be a very exciting summer at Macmillan.
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: