In part one of this series of blog posts I addressed how platform, device, and integration affect the eBook experience. In part two, I addressed the functionality that is internal to the platform. Today I will address interactive content that is publisher and author dependent. The main type of interactive content that can be added to books, especially books that are not being developed with interactivity in mind (i.e., books that have already been published), is embedded content. This includes things like embedded links to audio or video and hyperlinks.
Links to audio are already an existing feature of many of our popular textbooks. For example eBooks for Latin for the New Millennium, Levels 1 and 2, have audio links for every chapter reading. Our Caesar and Vergil titles also have audio links embedded. Adding these links is easy and depends only on the content being available to the publisher.
Video links are tougher only because creating the content, at a high enough production level for publisher standards, is difficult. One option we are exploring here is to use videos created from images and slides.
Hyperlinks are exactly what they sound like—links to a page on the internet. The main problems here are the fact that links can break and that publishers cannot control changes to the content on outside webpages. One thing that you get from a book published by a known company is the assurance of peer review and editing. A link to a webpage removes this assurance. We are experimenting with some links to Wikipedia in a few books to see how they are received by teachers and students. We would love your feedback.
One thing many teachers ask for is interactive exercises. What they mean by this varies, but it mostly boils down to some way to track student interaction with homework or even to have that homework be self-grading. Is this possible? The short answer is, yes. Is this possible for your textbook, from your platform, with your (school’s) gradebook? The answer is, maybe. If you’d like to learn more about this, particularly as it pertains to Bolchazy-Carducci texts, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to discuss current options and future plans with you.
–Bridget Dean, Managing Editor