Our process starts where it ends, with the instructor. We begin every course by building partnerships with faculty who will be using the resource with their own students.
In 18 years of developing content to support college coursework, we’ve found there is no better way to build a strong resource than by working directly with those who will be using it. We work with faculty members to gauge student needs, implement best practices, and create inspiring ways to engage students.
We review the existing knowledge base for every course to ensure that we’re using the most up-to-date and effective practices. We explore standards of study, review scholarly articles on instruction, comb through syllabi from a variety of types of schools, participate in conferences, interview leading voices in teaching as well as front-line instructors at a variety of institutions.
Before anything is written or any artifacts are gathered, we work with our partners to deﬁne key learning objectives for each chapter based on our research efforts. This ensures that our courses teach important concepts deeply and avoid the kitchen-sink approach that can result in thin coverage. Learning objectives align our content from diagnostic assessment through content presentation to review questions.
While we believe that texts are great places to start a course, they aren’t the only resources out there. We identify a series of additional readings and overlay them with the text inside our learning environment. We find that these resources provide students with diverse points of view, intriguing data, and a break from the academic voice. The additional readings also serve as a bridge for the students between academia and the real world.
Multimedia is a powerful learning tool that we incorporate into every chapter of our courses. We search high and low to find the best artifacts to support every chapter’s learning objectives. Videos, interviews, case studies, infographics, images, and interactive charts are all examples of the type of content we’re crazy about. If we can’t find exactly what we’re looking for, we create it. Our commitment to the best content possible knows no bounds.
With our partnerships, learning objectives, text, readings, and multimedia in place, we dig into the fun part. Our instructional design experts work through the text to build at least one formative interaction into the course for every five minutes of study. These interactions are learning tools for the students. While they measure understanding and comprehension, they are not assessments. Examples include:
The optimal time for instruction is at the moment the student feels a need for it. Such as when encountering a new term or right after missing a question. By placing instruction at these points, we take advantage of inherent salience to enable efficient learning.
These questions are reading comprehension questions on page of content. By answering these questions, students are encouraged to check their basic understanding of what they’re reading and watching.
In polls and discussion boards students see how their choices compare to the choices of others. Both serve the role of being rhetorically engaging, much like a class discussion, and encourage students to reﬂect, synthesize, evaluate, and apply.
Assignments include primary artifacts such as videos, case studies, or ﬁrst-hand accounts. These artifacts are combined with questions to foster application of key concepts. These assignments encourage exploration and inductive learning.
When the ﬁrst edition ships, we’re just getting started. Student responses and interactions show us every day where the content is working and where it could use improvement. We update texts multiple times a year to ensure that ineffective content is removed and replaced with the most current information as soon as possible. We work with schools on an individual basis to time the release of new editions. Our courses are data-driven, learning objective by learning objective. No other publisher can be as conﬁdent as we are that their content works.