Now that I have had a chance to see how many students vs. licensed technologists view my blog, I feel like it's pretty evident that I can post a lot of things here that students will appreciate. I also know that those of you who are into technology will appreciate this:
Yesterday at a faculty meeting, a sales representative from Elsevier publishing marketed a service to us called "Evolve." Basically, the service focuses on healthcare related textbooks and offers resources for students and instructors. There are some resources that are free, which I am currently researching for the instructor portion, and there are some that are free for students that you can register online to take possession of.
The thing that caught my eye most was the ability to load your textbooks onto your personal computer or laptop. I hate carrying books, and if your institution allows you to have a laptop in class, then all of your books can be contained in them. The sales rep provided a demonstration for all of us, showing us some of the available tools. The PC version has correlating page numbers synonymous with the hard copy of the book that you receive, and it has all of the same images in digital format that you find in the pages of your textbook as well. You can highlight sections of the textbook with a click-and-drag of the mouse, and there is a "notes" column that automatically saves everything you highlight for reference at any time. I also liked that you can pull up more than one textbook at a time in multiple windows. There are some more advanced features that we did not have a chance to discuss due to time constraints, but overall, this seemed like a handy dandy tool to have.
For instructors reading, there is a way to link the test banks with blackboard (they currently use the angel platform, but the rep stated he would assist in transferring between platforms). There are nice features for online/hybrid courses from resources all the way up to pre-designed powerpoints and lesson plans. Upon registration in the "instructor site" they do a strict screening process including verification of instructor status to ensure that students are not attempting to obtain instructor material.
Currently, the publisher is requiring a minimum purchase of three books in order to make this feature available. In addition to the price of the books, there is an additional charge. If you're not interested in an example of the cost/numbers, then please scroll down to the next paragraph. Say you have three textbooks that cost $100 each. All 3 must be purchased and a 20% charge is added, then 10% is taken off the whole thing. So, $300 + 20% = $360...... -10% = $324. Of course, this example is without tax included. The sales rep did say that you could buy one high-priced item (Merrill's for instance), and two low-priced items to still receive the deal.
Once the three (or more) books are ordered, they will custom-create a dvd disc for you that includes the books on your order. You go online to https://evolve.elsevier.com and register as student or instructor to receive your access.
I tried to ask how much memory each book would approximately take, and the rep did not know if the files were compressed on the dvd copy. Also, the digital version is good for updates once you download it onto your computer, but if a new edition of the book comes out (like Bushong in a few months), then you have to purchase the new book (along with 2 other books) in order to receive the digital version from the publisher.
Another con is that you can only download the digital resources twice. Let's say your computer crashes, or your child spills orange juice all over it and it short-circuits, then you've only got one more shot at a download before it will not let you retrieve the product you purchased.
All in all, there are some very heavy pros and for me, some fairly heavy cons, but at least we know that it is available. Until yesterday, I hadn't even heard of this resource. If you can afford it, and if you are a tech-geek like me, then it might be worth looking into. If anything, you can check out the free resources on the website before you make a purchase in order to help you decide yay or nay.