The goal of all our publishing has always been quality without compromise. To achieve this objective, I am personally involved in all aspects of developing our texts. Beyond doing all the writing, I work on design and production, which includes the selection of all images.
In addition, unlike other text authors, I personally write the supplements, including the test bank and instructor’s manual.
I have never permitted the publisher to “outsource” any of this work to grad students or people who are not sociologists. To me, doing the work myself is a matter of earning your trust and setting my own integrity—I will not just talk about quality, I need to walk the walk. You and I choose to do things ourselves because that way we know it gets done right.
As you know, we have entered a “digital age” that is changing the way students learn and transforming some of the ways we teach. Pearson still provides all of our familiar textbooks in conventional print format. But my primary creative focus is now on what we call the digital “learning experience.” In place of printed books, students use an electronic learning program called REVEL, which includes the same content and adds interactive features, streaming video, powerful assessment tools, and online reporting of performance to instructors.
At some level, I will always be a “book person” who shudders to think of academic offices or college libraries without bookcases full of old, dusty volumes. But I am so excited about digital learning because the transition from print books to digital content involves more than just a change in format. Instructors will see many really exciting advantages to the new digital format.
Here are some of the significant advantages of the new REVEL learning programs for all our titles.
- E-learning is dynamic. Print books are fixed and, therefore, flat and motionless. The new REVEL program is active, and REVEL will become ever more dynamic over time. Images such as photos can become videos; graphs can move and be manipulated. Our students have grown up in a digital world of on-screen action; now learning sociology will provide this dynamic experience.
- E-learning is interactive. Print books call out student passivity—students read and absorb. By contrast. digital learning our students them to make choices, to select pathways, to respond to questions, and to alter outcomes. Many analysts claim that digital learning raises student involvement and encourages a higher level of cognitive reasoning.
- E-learning is more current. With the new REVEL programs, I will be able to update critical material (such as ongoing changes in same-sex marriage laws, the latest unemployment rate, and the outcome of the 2014 midterm elections) easily and often.
- E-learning supports sharing information. Because they are online, students using e-learning can express their attitudes and report their behavior. Going forward, this information allows us to develop survey data drawn from students in our own classes. You can look forward to comparing these “local” patterns to national data drawn from classrooms across the country. Perhaps we can even involve students in classrooms around the world. The idea of such global connectivity is especially exciting.
- E-learning integrates video and primary readings. For each chapter of the e-text, I have personally selected a short, engaging and instructive video and also a primary reading by a well-respected classic or contemporary sociologist. These videos and readings can be integrated into classroom discussion and student assignments.
- E-learning makes learning assessment easy. For each major section of every chapter, I have written five multiple-choice questions that are instantly graded with feedback to students and performance reported to you as the instructor. Students will know what they have learned and will readily identify parts of the chapter that require further engagement.
- E-learning saves students a lot of money. Digital learning is the long-awaited response to the past trend of higher textbook prices. All REVEL learning packages, which include full and interactive e-books, will have a student price of about $65, which is half of the student price for a bound print book.
As you might expect, publishers are “outsourcing” the full development of e-learning material to various vendors, in and out of the United States, who are not trained sociologists. But this is not the case with any Macionis titles. As the “fully-involved text author,” I am the key person developing content for the REVEL learning experience. This work includes selecting readings and videos, writing “Social Explorer” learning exercises, and developing all interactive learning material.
Here, again, I proudly carry the banner opposing all “outsourcing” in support of the highest quality of learning materials. I do this digital development myself because, if I don’t, the result will be much less than the level of excellence we worked so hard for decades to maintain. I am the only author doing this.
There is a difference.