Posted by: Mary Simone | March 26, 2012

EBooks and E-Resources

EBooks and E-Resources

On Friday March 23, many faculty attended an IT, Healey Library and McGraw-Hill sponsored event, “Enhancing Teaching and Learning with eBooks.” to learn about two McGraw-Hill teaching and learning resources, Connect and Create, that will soon be available to faculty through Blackboard.

Apurva Mehta, Director of Education Technology and Client Services, announced to attending faculty that UMass Boston has signed an agreement with McGraw-Hill to activate the MH Campus building block in Blackboard 9.1 later this year.  (The full migration to Blackboard 9.1 will be completed in 2014).  MH Campus will allow faculty, with one simple sign on in Blackboard, to search McGraw Hill Connect resources that are relevant to a course, whether or not they are using a textbook from McGraw Hill.   After the MH Campus power link is activated within Blackboard, faculty will be able to choose to use it, remove it, or hide it from their Blackboard course.

Joy Golden, Digital Learning Consultant for McGraw Hill explained in her presentation that while instructors can freely access everything from MH Campus, there are limitations on how they can then use the content. Content that normally needs to be purchased by the students (e.g. eBooks) cannot be distributed to the students; however, content that is typically provided free of charge (e.g. PowerPoint slides, learning objects such as animations and multi-media modules, and test bank questions) can be freely used in the classroom and re-distributed to the students. As always, instructors can seek permission to utilize portions of copyrighted material that fall outside of fair use.  More details can be found in the MH Campus Content Usage Guide.

Connect, Learn Smart, and Create

During the morning and afternoon presentation overview, faculty learned about many student and faculty resources and services available through Connect, a web based assignment and assessment platform.    Connect resources include an instructor library, simple assignment management, and smart grading, and lecture captures, an s well as student diagnostic and learning plan, student study center, and student progress and tracking.

The adaptive learning system and platform available to students in Connect is called Learn Smart.  After students review concepts through a recursive process of trial and error, LearnSmart provides them with interactive assessments that measure their knowledge levels  based on strengths and weaknesses and provides them personalized study plans that adapt to their performance.  Professors also receive reports that document student progress and areas needing reinforcement.

Create is a customized publishing system that enables faculty to create and print a customized eBook for students that can be made available in print or electronically to students.

Break Out Sessions

Breakout sessions which  followed each of the morning and afternoon presentations gave faculty an opportunity to try out Connect and Create services online. Gene Shwalb and Linda Sudlesky of the IT, LMS group created course site accounts for participants to access Connect.  During the session faculty learned how they could upload their own content, edit McGraw-Hill content, add their own learning objectives, and tag for UMass Boston learning objectives, and get performance evaluations of students.    Jessica Watts from McGraw-Hill provided faculty with a breakout session on Create where faculty could learn how to create customized eBooks.

McGraw Hill is a leading partner in Apple’s e-textbook initiatives.  McGraw Hill already and over 50 iPad textbooks  for higher education through iBook 2 and an app from its partner Inkling.         

Contact Janet Stewart, Healey Library, and Mary Simone of IT/ Education Technology to learn more about this event and other UMass Boston eBook initiatives for faculty.

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