Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Concept for Digital Textbooks

Concept maps, which represent topics that are connected in a circle or square, are normally used as a study or review tool. An assistant professor of engineering at Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto, decided to put the map to use as a primary course resource.

Jacob Moore created the Adaptive Map Digital Textbook, which shows the topics covered as points on map. Each topic is connected with related themes and when students click on the point, they are taken to a content page that includes video lectures, example problems, and diagrams.

“A lot of people focus on students making concept maps at the end of semesters to review what they know,” Moore said in an article on Penn State News. “But another way you can use them is as a guide to help students fit smaller topics into the big picture of the course.”

The digital textbook is available on all devices and it’s free. Moore uses a Creative Commons noncommercial license to keep all code and content open-source.

“It’s not uncommon to see students skip buying textbooks just because they don’t have the money, or they split the cost with a roommate and they have to pass it back and forth all the time,” he said. “If you remove those cost barriers, everyone will have better access to these tools. With the Adaptive Map Digital Textbook, as long as students have access to a computer, they have their textbook.”

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