March 23, 2012
I had a chance this morning to try out McGraw-Hill’s eBook offering. Quite interesting and way beyond just downloading a PDF. McGraw-Hill’s Connect offers a multitude of interactive features drawing on content from McGraw-Hill books, even though the instructor may not be using a McGraw-Hill text in the course.
Connect integrates with Blackboard Learn, providing easy access to the McGraw-Hill materials. Instructors can go in and search for materials related to their course, including videos, quizzes, images, tutorials and other objects. They can compile materials into an eBook for course use (which students can purchase). McGraw-Hill also provides access to tegrity video capture so instructors can provide video access to class lectures (which students can also purchase).
Within the eBook itself, students and instructors can use highlighters of different colors, attach sticky notes and share notes with others in the class.
The system also offers analytic reports for faculty so they can see what work students have done, issues or concepts that students have difficulty with, specific questions missed on quizzes and other information that can help them help students to learn better.
The online tutorials offer an interesting feature designed to help students get better at knowing what they know and don’t know. Before each question, the student is asked whether they know the answer—yes, probably, or I’m just guessing. If the student repeatedly says she knows the answer but gets the question wrong, the program points this out to the student. According to McGraw-Hill, research suggests that students eventually get that they should read the material before answering the questions. A very basic lesson, perhaps, but worth learning.
Our faculty at UMass Boston will be testing out Connect over the next few months. I’ll be interested to see how they evaluate it.
For more information, see