Digital Textbooks

            Professors can now customize textbooks by editing, rewriting, or deleting various sections of them through new online software.

            Macmillan, one of the largest publishers of textbooks, is creating a new digital textbook program called DynamicBooks. This program will be like a Wikipedia version of textbooks, according to The New York Times.

            Many professors use generic textbooks and assign various outside-of-the-book readings and assignments. Also, professors typically ignore certain chapters or sections of the textbook and correct other sections in their lectures.

            However, this process can be facilitated with Macmillan’s DynamicBooks because professors can make all of these changes before a class starts. Professors can use DynamicBooks to upload syllabi, pictures, videos, class notes and assignments.

            Professors can now use textbooks as starting points, rewriting them to teach what is most relevant. This will increase and personalize the learning experiences for students because they won’t be learning material from a book written 10 years ago.

             Class information will be presented in a more organized fashion, and students will be able to digitally access all of the course’s relevant information in one area. Also, books purchased through DynamicBooks are likely to be much cheaper compared to more traditional formats.

            The New York Times used the textbook “Psychology” by Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert and Daniel M. Wegner as an example. The book’s list price is $134.29, Barnes & Noble’s price is $122.73, and the book will sell for $48.76 at DynamicBooks.

            Essentially, DynamicBooks will give professors more teaching freedom, and they won’t be trapped in the confines of teaching a book from an unfamiliar author. It will be easier for them to personalize every class, changing the textbook’s content as needed.

            DynamicBooks is expected to launch in August with around 100 popular textbooks. The digital program is likely to grow into the future.