Minneapolis & New York, November 13, 2019 -- Macmillan Learning, a privately-held, family-owned education publishing company, announced today during the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Annual Conference that student final exam scores were more than half-letter grade higher when instructors assigned pre-class activities in Achieve, the company’s new digital learning platform. The company partnered with instructors at 38 two- and four-year institutions to research the efficacy of Achieve, evaluating 2,251 students during the spring 2019 semester. The results revealed today represent one finding from a multi-year efficacy study; other efficacy results are expected to be published later this year. The Achieve platform launches in January 2020 and will be widely available in Fall.
“Macmillan Learning is deeply committed to using evidence-based research to build products that help more students to succeed. To best accomplish this, the company took the unusual step of embedding efficacy research for Achieve into the process of designing, developing and improving the new platform,” said Adam Black, PhD, Macmillan Learning’s Chief Learning Officer.
Use of pre-class activities in Achieve positively influenced summative assessment scores in Achieve and also final exam scores—even when controlling for students’ prior academic performance, baseline level of motivation to succeed in the course, and instructor characteristics. Among the findings:
Students who completed pre-class activities earned, on average, 8.7 percentage points higher on assessments. There were statistically significant differences (p<0.001) in the average assessment scores for students using pre-class assignments in Achieve compared to those who did not.
Students who completed pre-class activities had final exam scores that were 6.8 percentage points higher than students who didn’t. These values were also statistically significant (p<0.001)
The more pre-class activities that a student engaged in, the higher their assessment scores and final exam scores were. These values were also statistically significant (correlation = 0.71, p<0.001)
The study found that instructors also had strong perceptions of how pre-class activities in Achieve supported their students. They reported that pre-class activities helped their students to stay on track with assigned reading, understand the concepts that would be covered in class, and gain a basic understanding of concepts. Students reported high perceptions of pre-class activities in Achieve as well. Like their instructors, students agreed that the pre-class work helped them keep up with their reading, come to class prepared to participate, and support their comprehension.
“We’re particularly excited to provide instructors with deeper insights into how particular student subgroups benefit from using it – for example, those less motivated or academically prepared to succeed. These kinds of insights are only possible because of our partnerships with instructors and students and the rigorous research practices we employ, which include two levels of Institutional Review Board approval for every study of Achieve,” said Kara McWilliams PhD., Macmillan Learning’s VP of Impact Research and the study’s Primary Investigator.
About The Research
Because the study was conducted with students, Macmillan Learning's processes, data handling, and researcher credentials were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) at each institution and a third party. IRB review ensures that the study is rigorous and ethical. Forty instructors elected to participate in the study and their students were offered the opportunity to opt-in, and 74% of students chose to participate.
Groups were compared on three dependent variables: scores on assessments in Achieve, scores on final exams given in the course where Achieve was used, and student’s likelihood to recommend a course using Achieve to a friend. The effect of using pre-class activities in Achieve on the dependent variables was also evaluated. Analyses indicated that students’ high school grade point average and that their baseline levels of motivation were related to the dependent variables, so they were controlled for as covariates. And, students were grouped within instructors so hierarchical linear regression was used to investigate the within and between group differences, where required.
This research has been reviewed by Macmillan Learning’s Impact Research Advisory Council (IRAC), which is comprised of experts in educational technology, methodology, and psychometrics.
“Having had the privilege of participating in Macmillan’s peer review process for The Flipped Effect, I have had a chance to see first-hand how seriously they are taking this critical part of their process. This company is collaborating with serious academics to make sure that the claims they make about their product are true. Their commitment is a model for the sector," said Michael Feldstein, IRAC member and Executive Director, Empirical Educator Project.
The research presented today is part of a larger body of research conducted by Macmillan Learning’s Learning Science team that began in 2017 and helped guide development of the Achieve platform. The team has been studying its efficacy overall, and among subgroups of students to evaluate whether the tool supports all students - like those more and less academically prepared to succeed, more and less motivated to succeed, first generation students, and those with competing demands like jobs and families, among other important cohorts.
Macmillan Learning also presented during the conference “The formative evaluation of Achieve: a novel approach to rapid-cycle evaluation of digital learning tools early in development.” They shared an entirely new research process to test and improve learning products outside of live courses during early development. These methods can be used by other organizations to improve products, to begin to understand chosen implementation patterns, and to glean exploratory evidence of learner effectiveness.
Achieve is an evolutionary digital learning platform that includes learning materials with a comprehensive set of interconnected teaching and assessment tools. It offers the best features of each of Macmillan Learning’s digital solutions in one platform that is intuitive to use, accessible for students of all abilities, and is flexible for students and instructors. Achieve was developed in partnership with students and instructors with the goal of supporting students of all levels motivation and preparedness and helping to engage students in and out of class so that they have better outcomes. To that end, instructors facilitate can learn in the way that best suits their class, whether it’s traditional, online, blended, or fully “flipped” classrooms.
About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community.
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New York, June 22, 2020 -- Bedford/St. Martin’s, a Macmillan Learning imprint, today announced its 2020 Bedford New Scholars Advisory Board. The board of 10 graduate students is meeting virtually this week to offer the company’s editorial team counsel regarding how course materials are being used and trends that will influence how composition courses are taught. Many Scholars have gone on to take leadership roles in writing programs in colleges and universities across the country.
During the week’s meetings and throughout the year, the Bedford New Scholars will offer their perspectives on topics ranging from challenges in the classroom, to diversity and inclusion to pedagogy. The Advisory Board began in 2008 as an additional way for Bedford/St. Martin’s to understand teaching challenges and new research and practice in the field from promising graduate students. The Scholars do this in a variety of ways, including participating in market research and focus groups that inform product development.
“The Scholars offer the Bedford team tremendous insight into how our resources can best support student writers in their composition courses, which have long been acknowledged as a stepping stone to overall student success both in college and after graduation,” said Leasa Burton, Vice President of Humanities at Macmillan Learning. “They are thoughtful, creative problem-solvers, and often we’re able to incorporate their suggestions into future product development and new editions.”
Throughout the program, the Scholars also gain insight into the publishing process and provide feedback on the direction of new materials and projects (both print and digital) in Bedford/St. Martin’s pipeline. They also foster lasting professional connections with other rising scholars and teachers in writing studies, including guest scholars who lead workshops during this week’s board meetings. The many former Bedford New Scholars continue to contribute to the discipline through research, and to the teaching community by creating assignments that engage students in writing and address teaching challenges for Composition instructors.
Bedford/St. Martin’s has long been connected to the Composition community with its widely used A Writer's Reference and The Bedford Reader. The company continues to invest in composition materials and will launch its new digital learning platform with writing tools, Achieve , this fall. Bedford/St. Martin’s also recently published several new titles including The Writer’s Loop and The Hub in addition to maintaining support for instructor and student favorites like The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing and Everything's an Argument .
This year’s Bedford New Scholars:
Sidney Blaylock is pursuing his PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at Middle Tennessee State University. He teaches Expository Writing and Research and Argumentation. His research interests include multimodality, rhetorical analysis, new media, cultural rhetorics, digital rhetorics, film, and afrofuturism.
Allison Dziuba is a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Irvine. She teaches courses in the lower-division writing sequence and the Summer Bridge writing lab, a pre-college course for incoming UCI first-years. She is currently the Campus Writing & Communication Fellow at UCI and has served as the editorial assistant for College Composition and Communication and Rhetoric Society Quarterly . Allison's research interests include college students' self-sponsored literacy practices and extracurricular rhetorical education, and intersectional feminist approaches to rhetorical studies.
Michael S. Garcia is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Florida International University. At FIU, he has taught Writing and Rhetoric, Writing in Action, Essay Writing, and Creative Writing: Forms and Practices. He has also taught 11th and 12th grade English at a Title I high school. Michael has published short stories, essays, web articles, and poetry.
Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno is pursuing her PhD in English, with a concentration in literature and social justice pedagogies, at Lehigh University. She teaches a range of composition and rhetoric courses in addition to interdisciplinary courses in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies. She previously taught online courses in English and WGSS, with a focus on pop culture themes, including modern relationships. Her research interests include restorative justice practices, women's literature of the 1960s-present, feminist theory and praxis, and writing center tutors' instruction.
Corinne Jones is completing her PhD in Texts and Technology with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Central Florida. She currently teaches Composition II (Writing about Writing and Research Writing); in Fall 2020, she anticipates teaching Business and Technical Communication. She also works as a legal writing adjunct at Barry University (Law School). Her research interests include digital rhetoric; circulation studies; digital, qualitative, mixed methods and methodologies; and feminist and queer studies.
Sierra Mendez is pursuing her PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently teaches a custom course entitled "Rhetoric of Texas" and serves as Assistant Director for the D.R.W.'s Digital Writing and Research Lab. Her research interests concern border, material, visual, and memory rhetorics: specifically, the historical and ongoing constitution of Mexicanx bodies via narratives held both tenuously and powerfully across San Antonio’s urban space.
Christopher Peace is pursuing a PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Kansas. He currently teaches Composition 102 and plans to teach a 203 course on Digital Storytelling in Fall 2020. His research interests include rhetorical genre studies, (African-derived) religious rhetorics, writing ecologies, spatial rhetorics, digital storytelling / mythmaking, and ecocomposition. He also serves as a professional tutor for the KU Gear Up program and is an affiliate of the Project on the History of Black Writing.
Kalyn Prince is pursuing her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She serves as the Senior Assistant Director of First-Year Composition, teaches first-year writing, and has also co-taught a composition theory survey course for graduate students in the OU English Department. Her research interests include public argumentation, nostalgia as ethos, and rhetorical analysis.
Joshua Scheidler is pursuing his MA in English with an emphasis on Medieval Language and Literature at Western Michigan University. He teaches WMU's first-year writing course, Thought and Writing, as a graduate teaching assistant. His research interests include ethics and politics in medieval literature, first-year writing pedagogy, rhetorical analysis, and new materialist environmental rhetoric.
Benesemon Simmons is pursuing a PhD in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric at Syracuse University. She teaches WRT 105 and WRT 205 and serves as a writing consultant. Her research interests include Black Feminist Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, and Activist Rhetoric.
About Macmillan Learning Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or join our Macmillan Community .
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Springfield, MO. February 18, 2020 -- Skyfactor Benchworks, a Macmillan Learning Company that provides research-based program benchmarking and assessments to help colleges identify areas of improvement, announced today it is accepting applications for its annual Assessment and Impact Awards for Residence Life. The award was created in 2019 to highlight colleges and universities that are successfully using data to deliver high quality housing experiences.
A 2013-14 study of more than 330,000 undergraduate students revealed that the housing experience can have a significant impact on student outcomes. Macmillan Learning partnered with The Association of College and University Housing Officers ( ACUHO -I) to better understand student experience, satisfaction and learning in the residence halls - and recognize housing programs that effectively use data to improve the residential experience.
College and university housing departments can self-nominate by completing an online submission form by March 31, 2020. All submissions will be reviewed by the Skyfactor Benchworks Analytics and Research Team who will also analyze multiple years of data from the ACUHO-I/Benchworks Resident Assessment to identify best results or significant improvements in areas like student staff and diverse interactions. Following the quantitative analysis and review of applications, finalists will be interviewed. Winners will be notified in late May and publicly announced at a special luncheon during the June 2020 ACUHO-I Conference in Portland, Oregon.
“Residence life is such an integral part of the college experience so we are excited to continue recognizing housing and residence life programs that are leading the way in using insights from assessments to improve students’ on-campus experiences,” said Craig Bleyer, General Manager of Skyfactor.
Benchworks assessments are the most widely used programs in higher education housing, and have been available for nearly 20 years. The ACUHO-I/Benchworks Residents Assessment is used by nearly 300 institutions each year, and is one of more than 50 different assessments from Benchworks on topics important to college success, including housing, orientation, and student affairs and service. The survey includes questions about student satisfaction with facilities, programs, dining, safety, room assignment, and roommates, as well as learning related to personal interactions, diversity, sense of community, academic success, transferable skills, sustainability, and healthy habits. The inaugural winners of the Housing and Residence Life were John Carroll University in Ohio, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Southwest Oregon Community College.
Formerly known as EBI, Skyfactor Benchworks is a Macmillan Learning company that provides research-based program assessments and benchmarking for a variety of Student Affairs programs, as well as Business Education, Engineering, Nursing, and Teacher Education. The robust analytics Benchworks provides empowers programs to identify areas of improvement for maximum impact on program success. Benchworks assessments are rooted in research and mapped to accreditation and professional standards.
About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community .
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New York, January 13, 2020 -- Macmillan Learning, a privately-held, family-owned education publishing company, published research today that demonstrated a positive relationship between use of Achieve , the company’s new digital learning platform, and final exam scores. Research from the ACT , College Board and others have found that a student’s performance on college entrance exams and highschool GPA can predict their future success in two- and four-year institutions. Using these predictors of post-secondary success, the findings from this efficacy study suggest that use of Achieve can help bridge the performance gap often seen among students entering college. That is, the more that less academically prepared students use Achieve, the closer they can come to meeting the performance of their more academically prepared peers.
Less academically prepared students (as determined by ACT or SAT scores and high school grade point average) who engaged in at least 80% of assigned activities in Achieve elevated their final exam grade nearly a full letter grade and closed the gap in their average performance and the performance of their more academically prepared peers by about half. The findings build on recently announced data presented at the Academic Evaluation Association (AEA) annual meeting in November demonstrating that students performed better on final exams when they used Achieve’s pre-class activities, regardless of their motivation or academic preparedness levels coming into the class.
“The benefits of a post-secondary certificate or degree are well known, yet we still see students entering college less prepared to succeed. The instructors we partner with are always exploring new ways to fill the skills gaps of less academically prepared students while keeping their more prepared students challenged. While there’s no silver bullet, we believe in providing instructors with insights into the differential efficacy of our solutions, and are pleased that we can offer them evidence that Achieve will support their efforts to help all their students succeed,” said Kara McWilliams PhD., VP of Impact Research, Macmillan Learning, and the study’s Primary Investigator.
The company partnered with instructors at 38 two- and four-year institutions to research the efficacy of Achieve, evaluating 2,251 students during the spring 2019 semester. The results revealed today represent one finding from a multi-year efficacy study, with other results being published following data collection and peer-review. Macmillan Learning’s Achieve platform launches this month and will be widely available in Fall.
Use of Achieve is positively related to student’s final exam scores , regardless of their level of academic preparedness coming into college p<.0001. For every ten percent increase in a student’s engagement in assigned activities, they can expect a 5.7 percentage point increase on their final exam score
The magnitude of Achieve’s influence on final exam scores was greater for students less academically prepared to succeed r(657) = .58, p<.0001 but was significantly positive for their more academically prepared peers also r(961) = .42, p<.0001.
Among students taking STEM courses, the magnitude of the relationship was greatest among less academically prepared females (r(205) = .57, p<.0001, but was also significant among their male counterparts r(237) = .41, p<.0001 and more academically prepared female r(416) = .33, p<.0001 and male r(281) = .39, p<.0001 STEM students.
Students who complete at least 80% of their assigned activities in Achieve, earn nearly a letter grade higher , on average, than students who complete less than 80%.
The gap in performance on final exams closes by about half between less and more academically prepared students, when students less prepared to succeed complete at least 80% of their assigned activities in Achieve.
About The Research
This study investigated the differential efficacy of Achieve among students less and more academically prepared to succeed. Macmillan Learning collected students’ self-reported highschool GPA as well as ACT or SAT scores, if one or both had been taken. Using those scores, students were then categorized as less or more academically prepared, and outcomes were evaluated among each group. Achieve efficacy research began while the tool was in beta testing so that feedback from instructors and students as well as student outcomes could be used to evolve the product, and to provide instructors with a transparent body of timely evidence of effectiveness.
This study complied with the American Psychological Association ethical standards for research. It was approved by a third-party Institutional Review Board (IRB) and then approved at individual institutions where required. IRB approval enabled researchers to compare course results with detailed information about each student, including their academic background. It also enabled the collection of student records including final exam scores and course grades. Forty instructors elected to participate in the study and their students were offered the opportunity to opt-in, and 74% of students chose to participate.
This research has been reviewed by Macmillan Learning’s Impact Research Advisory Council (IRAC), which is comprised of experts in educational technology, methodology, and psychometrics.
The findings released today are part of a larger body of research conducted by Macmillan Learning’s Learning Science team that began in 2017 and helped guide development of the Achieve platform. The team has been studying its efficacy overall, and among subgroups of students to evaluate whether the tool supports all students - like those more and less academically prepared to succeed, more and less motivated to succeed, first generation students, and those with competing demands like jobs and families, among other important cohorts.
Academic preparedness was measured by both college readiness status as determined by performance on the ACT or SAT, and high school grade point average. Find the full “Achieving Student Success” research report here.
Achieve is an evolutionary digital learning platform that includes learning materials with a comprehensive set of interconnected teaching and assessment tools. It offers the best features of each of Macmillan Learning’s digital solutions in one platform that is intuitive to use and is flexible for students and instructors. Achieve was developed using published foundations of learning science and in partnership with students and instructors with the goal of supporting students of all levels motivation and preparedness and helping to engage students in and out of class so that they have better outcomes. To that end, instructors facilitate can learn in the way that best suits their class, whether it’s traditional, online, blended, or fully “flipped” classrooms.
About Macmillan Learning Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community .
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New York, January 21, 2020 -- Macmillan Learning, a privately-held, family-owned education publishing company, announced today that it earned 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI ). The Human Rights Campaign is the nation's largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality. The Index is part of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and is the nation’s premier benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. Macmillan Learning joins the ranks of more than 680 major U.S. businesses that also earned top marks this year.
“Macmillan Learning is proud to be a ‘best place to work for LGBTQ equality’. We know that it is simply the right thing to do. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is central to who we are and we know that it’s critical that students see themselves in their learning materials,” said Kristin Peikert, Vice President of Human Resources, Macmillan Learning.
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Macmillan Learning. The company states clearly that they aim to have a broad representation of backgrounds, genders, races, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and backgrounds in the content they produce, the authors they work with, and the employees they hire and develop. To accomplish this, the company’s Human Resource team works with their Diversity and Inclusion council to raise awareness, plan events, and recruit in support of a workforce where employees feel they belong and are treated with respect and fairness.
Employees from across the company actively seek out new ways to cultivate a culture that welcomes differences. Some of the many highlights from this past year include adding transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, partnering with a new stock photography vendor to have access to more diverse photos, implementing gender neutral pronouns in the employee handbook., and offering several “fireside chats”, talks at each of their offices across the US meant to highlight diverse authors including LGBTQ expert Jessica Soukup.
The CEI rates companies on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories: non-discrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBTQ diversity and inclusion, public commitment to LGBTQ equality, and responsible citizenship. Macmillan Learning successfully satisfied all of CEI’s criteria, providing them with this award.
The results of this year’s CEI showcase how over 1000 U.S.-based companies are promoting LGBTQ-friendly workplace policies in the U.S. and advancing the cause of LGBTQ inclusion in workplaces abroad. The full report is available at www.hrc.org/ce i.
To learn more about diversity, belonging and inclusion at Macmillan Learning, click here . For more information about working at Macmillan Learning, visit the careers page on our website.
About The Human Rights Campaign Foundation
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community .
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New York, May 5, 2020 -- Macmillan Learning announced that digital learning platform Achieve is the first product exclusively designed for higher education to earn the “Research-Based Design” product certification by Digital Promise. Achieve includes learning materials with a comprehensive set of interconnected teaching and assessment tools, and it will be available in the U.S. and Canada in Fall 2020.
In an effort to provide educators with evidence they can use to make informed decisions and support the success of students, Digital Promise established a rigorous program to evaluate edtech tools and determine, based on expert review, whether the tool can be certified as designed and developed based on educational research. The product certifications help ensure instructors and institutions that the products they select were designed using research-based learning science principles and developed using best practices before using them with their students.
“Understanding how people learn most effectively and allowing those principles to form the foundation of edtech development is key to student success. I’m proud that Achieve is the first higher education learning tool to earn this rigorous certification, and that we can provide another strong piece of evidence that educators can use when making decisions about what tools will benefit the students in their class,” said Susan Winslow, General Manager, Macmillan Learning.
“Digital Promise’s product certifications are designed to help schools and families in choosing research-based products, while recognizing product developers who incorporate valid research into their designs,” said Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise. “We hope product certifications send a strong signal for both product developers and consumers in the marketplace.”
Achieve was developed using published foundations of learning science and in partnership with students and instructors to support students of all levels of motivation and preparedness. It offers the best features of each of Macmillan Learning’s digital solutions in one platform, and engages students both in and out of class so that they have better outcomes. Achieve enables the facilitation of learning in the way that most enhances an instructor’s class, whether it’s traditional, online, blended, or a fully “flipped” classroom.
About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or join our Macmillan Community.
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New York, October 17, 2019 -- Macmillan Learning, a privately-held, family-owned educational publisher, announced textbooks written by acclaimed economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers will be available for the Fall 2020 semester. The Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics titles treat every decision a person makes as an economic decision, replacing hypothetical “widgets” in economics textbooks with true-to-life examples of decisions students make so that every student can recognize situations they themselves have been in (like why they can’t find parking or how to negotiate for a better raise) and situations they will encounter (like how economic forces impact their wages and rent.)
“Economics doesn’t have to be as complicated as many textbooks make it out to be, and many of us are making economic decisions every day whether we know it or not. In writing Principles of Economics , we focused on honing students intuition so that they see themselves as economic actors, and can apply the lessons they’re learning throughout their lives,” said Betsey Setevson. “Our goal is to reach every student.”
“If you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading one of those popular economics books that takes readers on a joyous romp through our field, you quickly understand why millions of people spend their weekends reading them. Podcast rankings and best-seller lists reveal a latent demand for an approach that supplies some of the same magic. We aim to bring that sense of delight and discovery to your introductory economics class,” said Justin Wolfers.
Beginning with the first chapter, students will use four economic principles (cost-benefit, opportunity cost, marginal and interdependence principles) to frame how they make decisions. The tangible, practical examples span from household dynamics to local or national policy to demonstrate how economic concepts play out in real life. Some examples of economic decisions they will explore are:
Should you stream one more episode?
How can a nonprofit use market forces to better feed America’s hungry?
What city should you move to after graduation?
How can the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to raise interest rates lead a mother in China to feed her children chicken instead of pork?
“This is one of the most important titles that Macmillan Learning has published. The fundamentals and practical examples that Stevenson & Wolfers deliver make economics more accessible to a wider range of students, whether or not they’re majoring in Economics. We’re also very proud to support Betsey Stevenson’s voice in what’s historically been a male-dominated field,” said Susan Winslow, General Manager of Macmillan Learning.
Economists in recent years have transformed the field so that it has greater relevance and a closer relationship to actual human behavior, with a focus on practical problems. The new Principles of Economics titles by Stevenson & Wolfers reflect that changing landscape and were created to highlight for students how economics can be useful in the ordinary business of life.
The books also offer a deeper and more intuitive treatment of traditional topics (demand, supply, and equilibrium) that provide a solid foundation for economic thinking that students can apply right away as they learn to analyze markets, examine policies, strategize about pricing and other decisions, and interpret economic indicators. Students will also learn how businesses, workers, and ideas compete across a range of market structures, how microfoundations underpin macroeconomic theory, how modern economists use models to understand the business cycle, and the implications for macroeconomic policy decisions.
About the Authors
Betsey Stevenson advised President Obama on social policy, labor market, and trade issues as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2015. She is currently a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan and she serves on the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association and other boards. She is an expert on the impact of the economy on happiness, on public policies impact on the labor market, and the economic forces shaping the modern family, among other topics.
Justin Wolfers is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. He is an expert in unemployment and inflation, the power of prediction markets, the economic forces shaping the modern family, discrimination, and happiness. He has been an editor of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a board member on the Committee on the Status of Women in Economics, a member of the Panel of Advisors of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, among many other board and advisory positions. About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best authors researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. Visit macmillanlearning.com , see us on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , or join our Macmillan Community .
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2018 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author James Forman Jr. will open the summit with a special presentation Atlanta, September 23, 2019— The Third HBCU Rhetoric & Composition Symposium, a national summit focusing on excellence in English composition and rhetoric, will be held at Morehouse College from September 26-28. This year’s symposium “Re-imagining the African American Canon for Teaching Composition at HBCUs” is sponsored by Bedford/St. Martin’s, an imprint of Macmillan Learning, and Morehouse College. The annual summit is a think tank for English professors and other educators that attracts some of the greatest minds in literature and composition from historically black colleges nationwide and other universities that serves large populations of students of color. “We are honored to host the third annual HBCU Composition Summit on the campus of Morehouse College,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “Some of the world’s most eloquent and profound writers were educated at HBCUs, from Toni Morrison and Alice Walker to Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr. Focusing on excellence in writing is a campus-wide priority at Morehouse across all academic divisions. This conference aligns with that important goal.” “Bedford/St. Martin’s is proud to support what we know will be a vibrant exchange among scholars and writers from HBCUs and predominantly Black colleges,” said Leasa Burton, Vice President of Humanities for Macmillan Learning. “We recognize the need for diverse voices and have long partnered with educators to support connections across campuses and communities. We hope that this year’s program will inspire the next generation of African American teachers and writers.” Highlights of the 2019 symposia include: Presentation and book signing by 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winning Author James Forman Jr .(Locking Up Our Own, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan) will open the symposium with a special presentation A private tour and overview of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, along with a discussion on how to use it to teach composition A full day of panels on topics that vary from strategies of teaching writing to “Reimagining the Role of Black Fiction, to “Writing in the Discipline and Teaching Black Excellence,” among others Leah Creque, Ph.D., Professor of English and Honors Program Director, issued the invitation for the symposium to be hosted at Morehouse College during her tenure as chair of the Department of English. Dr. Nathaniel Norment, Director of the Writing Center and The Black Ink Project serves as the conference co-chair. Programming was chosen following a call for papers, roundtables, and workshops by a collaborative group of external reviewers led by Dr. Jason DePolo, North Carolina A&T and Dr. David Green, Howard University. *Sessions include: Sept 26: Presentation: James Forman Jr., Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Locking Up Our Own Welcome remarks: Loretta Parham, Director of the AUC Robert Woodruff Library Panel: Using the King Collection to Teach Composition Tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, Morehouse College Keynote Address: Black Writers: Why We Write, Dr. Daniel Black Sept. 27: Panel: Role of the Writing Center at North Carolina A&T State University. Panel: Baldwin, Giovanni, and Hughes: Teaching Writing at HBCUs Panel: Then and Now: Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum at HBCU Panel: Writing for Success Panel: Hurston in the Contemporary Writing Classroom: Reimagining the Role of Black Fiction at HBCUs Panel: Culturally Relevant Content and Assessing African American Students’ Writing Panel: Where da Ladiez At?!: Rethinking Labor, Love, and Language Through Traditional and Contemporary Texts in the HBCU Composition Classroom. Panel: When Harlem was in Vogue: Harlem’s Icons at HBCUs Panel: Interrogating “The New Writing Center” at HBCUs Panel: #NotYaClassicCompCourse: Reciprocal Learning Possibilities for Redefining the HBCU Composition Classroom. Panel: Constructivist Paradigms and Digital Writing in a Socially Mediated World Panel: Writing in the Discipline and Teaching Black Excellence Strategies and Best Practices for Teaching Writing to African American Students Panel: Creating and Providing Agency and Identity through the Teaching of Writing Panel: Perspectives on Teaching in First Year Writing Programs at HBCUs Keynote Address: Dr. Jackie Royster, “What is the Concept? Teaching Writing at HBCUs” Sept. 28, 2019: Curriculum Working Group Session Publication Working Group Session Follow #HBCUComp19 on Twitter. *Speakers and sessions are as of September 19, 2019 and are subject to change. About Morehouse College Morehouse College is the nation’s largest liberal arts institution for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 2,200 students and is the nation’s top producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. Morehouse is also the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs, with five Morehouse Men receiving the honor. Historically, Morehouse has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution in the world. Prominent alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Morehouse currently has more than 17,000 alumni in 40 states and 14 countries. For more information visit www.morehouse.edu .
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This week Macmillan Learning announced the availability of their new, first-edition textbooks and courseware for the 2019 - 2020 academic year. As part of the company’s ongoing investment in authors and engaging content, Macmillan Learning launched new course materials and software for humanities, social sciences and STEM courses. The new course materials add new perspective and diversity to the hundreds of already published digital and print works from the company.
"Because we’re a family-owned company we’re able to focus our attention and investments on the classroom, not the boardroom, and giving instructors the new voices and perspectives they’re asking for,” said Susan Winslow, General Manager of Macmillan Learning. “We take a holistic approach to creating learning materials, meaning we’re working closely with authors, faculty and students to offer affordable learning materials that meet students exactly where they are and, importantly, inspire them to keep learning.”
The new titles are available in digital formats (LaunchPad, SaplingPlus, e-books) as well as various forms of print (hardback, paperback and loose-leaf) and can be either rented or purchased. The first edition projects include:
Peter Adams authored The Hub: A Place for Reading and Writing, which is the first and only hybrid digital and print course materials developed specifically for corequisite and Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) first-year writing courses.
David Anderson authored Survey of Economics , which answers the question “why should I care about economics.”
Susan Burns authored Psychology of Sex and Gender , which provides a the foundational understandings of the topics of sex and gender alongside cutting-edge research to encourage students to question perceptions of gender in the world around them.
Robert Crosnoe authored Families Now Diversity, Demography, and Development, which offers a modern, integrative approach to understanding families, reflecting the dynamic changes occurring in family life and institutions in the U.S.
Lauren Ingraham and Jeanne Law Bohannon authored The Writers Loop , a practical approach to writing, based on the habits of strong writers, who pause often, reflect, and loop backwards and forwards as they revise on their way to a final draft.
Stephen Rubb and Scott Sumner authored Economic Principles: A Business Perspective , which covers the fundamentals of economics in the context of today’s globalized business world. It can be purchased with a focus on Microeconomic Principles, Macroeconomic Principles, or both together.
Interactive General Chemistry was built from the ground up as a digital learning program to help effectively and efficiently tackle chemistry concepts and problem solving, using multimedia-rich learning resources.
Todd Taylor authored Becoming a College Writer , a unique multimedia text that offers brief, modular chapters derived from 100 interviews with students who recently finished first-year writing.
Judy Yung authored Chinese Exclusion Act and Angel Island , which offers original documents and provides context that together offers a broader and more inclusive vision of U.S. immigration history.
All of these course materials can be paired with iClicker to facilitate classroom attendance, active learning activities, or to compl et e in-class quizzes and surveys with mobile devices. Prices begin at $9.99 and all of these eBook titles are born-accessible , designed for users of all abilities.
Prior to developing these new titles, Macmillan Learning editors and authors worked closely with college instructors and students throughout the US through research councils and other outreach efforts. Additional titles for college students in STEM, Humanities and Social Sciences for the 2020-2021 academic year are currently in development. In addition to these new titles in higher education, first edition textbooks for Advanced Placement (AP) High School programs in Government and Physics are also newly available for the coming academic year.
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Macmillan Learning released under a creative commons license four new research reports that provide guidelines for designing next-generation learning experiences. These “Learning Science Foundations” build on the company’s previously published core principles for learning design and learning models ( active , problem , and project ) and together make up the blueprints of experiences that drive better student outcomes. While these foundations underpin the design of Macmillan Learning’s next-generation of products, they are shared freely with the education community that’s helped create them and provide educators and instructional designers with guidelines on how to apply the best of learning science to build research-based educational experiences that benefit students anywhere. The four new papers provide a glimpse of the “learning engineering” behind Macmillan Learning’s emerging technologies, and cover Learning Objectives , Assessmen t Strategies, and Analytics for Instructors and Students . The collection is being released together because of their deeply interrelated nature -- the learning objectives drive assessment, and analytics enable insight into performance on those assessments and against those objectives. Although concise, they are based on a rigorous, expert-reviewed synthesis of “what works” from educational research and cognitive science and provide references to all the supporting primary literature. “The next generation of learning technology has the ability to provide highly personalized learning experiences and powerful insights, but both are only as good as the underlying content, data, and pedagogical models they support,” said Dr. Adam Black, Chief Strategy & Learning Officer at Macmillan Learning. “We’ve been fortunate to work with a remarkable panel of leading researchers, practitioners, and students to develop these principles.” By releasing the research to the education community, Macmillan Learning hopes to advance the scholarship on how learning works and open our own research up to constructive critique and ongoing improvement. The four foundations released today are based on Macmillan Learning’s Six Key Principles for Learning Experience Design , previously released research which shared the company’s approach to learning and the principles that inform how the company’s dig@ital products are designed. Building upon these learning experience design insights, the blueprints released today provide best practices for: Devising Effective Learning Objectives and the wealth of benefits for instructors and students Impactful Assessment Practice and how to assess student progress and when to intervene Empowering Analytics for Instructors and combining behavioral insights with academic performance to give powerful insights for efficient and personalized teaching Empowering Analytics for Students and how insights can be empathetically shared students to motivate them and indeed help them to become more effective learners The Learning Science Foundations are developed through a comprehensive and rigorous research and refinement process, including critiques by Macmillan Learning’s Learning Research Advisory Council and our Student Codesign Group .
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Bedford/St. Martin’s, an imprint of Macmillan Learning, today announced the 10 new graduate students chosen to become part of the 2019 Bedford New Scholarsprogram, an advisory board of graduate students for English Composition. The Bedford New Scholars are a critical part of the broader education community that teaches Composition courses to students, helping them develop the skills and abilities that will lay the foundation for every other course they take. A recent study by the Association of American Colleges & Universities found that many of the skills taught in Composition, including written communication, decision making, and analytical reasoning, were cited by more than three quarters of hiring managers and company executives as a top skill for college graduates. While Bedford/St. Martin’s has long been connected to the Composition community, the Advisory Board began in 2008 as an additional way for Bedford/St. Martin’s to understand teaching challenges and new research and practice in the field from promising graduate students. The dozens of previous Bedford New Scholars have given the editorial team feedback on the direction of new projects, ultimately contributing to the creation of some of the company’s new course and teaching materials for composition courses. They also contribute to the teaching community at large by creating assignments that engage students in writing and address teaching challenges for Composition instructors. “Bedford/St. Martin’s has long understood that Composition is a critical part of the holistic development of students’ writing skills and workplace success,” said Edwin Hill, Vice President of Humanities, Macmillan Learning. “Our continued investment in this space and partnership with this community underscores the importance of this coursework to a student’s future and we look forward to learning from the Scholars.” The Bedford New Scholars meet throughout the year at the company’s offices, at conferences, and at focus groups and are included in market research that informs product development. Throughout the program, the Scholars also gain insight into the publishing process, provide feedback on the direction of new books and projects in Bedford/St. Martin’s pipeline and foster lasting professional connections with other rising scholars and teachers in writing studies. The 2019 Bedford New Scholars are: Shannon Butts, a PhD candidate in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing Studies at The University of Florida. Butts teaches courses on digital rhetoric, remix writing, augmented reality, multimodal composition, public writing, professional communication, technofeminism, and first-year writing. Joshua Chase, a PhD candidate in the Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture program at Michigan Technological University. Chase serves as the composition program coordinator and teaches courses in composition, literature, and technical writing. Nina Feng, a PhD candidate in English with an emphasis in Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah. Feng teaches Intermediate Writing, Writing in the Social Sciences, and Write4U, a course for transfer students. Misty Fuller, a PhD candidate in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at Louisiana State University. Fuller currently teaches first-year composition courses and was previously nominated for the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and served as a member of reader and assignment committees for first-year writing courses at the University of North Florida. Leah Beth Johnston, a PhD candidate in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Arkansas. Johnston’s research focuses on first-year composition administration and marginal rhetorics, and her dissertation is a book that explores the intersection of the two. Caitlin Martin, a PhD candidate studying composition and rhetoric at Miami University, where she also serves as a graduate assistant director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence. Martin has taught courses in composition theory and business writing in addition to face-to-face and online first-year composition and advanced writing courses. Marissa McKinley, an Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Quinnipiac University who earned her PhD in English with a concentration in Composition and TESOL at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). McKinley will teach classes in First-Year Writing and Research Writing and will assist with the revision of the writing program. Salena Parker, a PhD candidate in Rhetoric with a concentration in World Literature at Texas Woman's University. Parker teaches Composition I and II and serves as an English professor at Collin College. She previously taught College Readiness Writing, Introduction to Humanities, and ESL abroad. Karen Tellez-Trujillo, a PhD candidate in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Professional Communication at New Mexico State University. Tellez-Trujillo teaches Rhetoric and Composition, Business and Professional Communication, Technical and Scientific Communication, and the Rhetoric of the Horror Story and also serves as a Writing Program Coordinator and Writing Program Mentor. Carrie Wilson, an MA candidate in English at Appalachian State University. Wilson has taught Introduction to Writing Across the Curriculum and Expository Writing. Find more information about the Bedford New Scholars here. About Macmillan Learning Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that is empathetic, highly effective, and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook, Twitter, [LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community.
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Skyfactor Benchworks announced the winners of its first, annual Assessment and Impact Awards. The award was created to highlight colleges that are successfully using data to improve their housing programs, helping to retain students Today Skyfactor Benchworks announced the winners of its first, annual Assessment and Impact Awards. The award was created to highlight colleges that are successfully using data to improve their housing programs, helping to retain students. Housing is an important part of the overall college experience, with national housing data over the last decade revealing that 52% of students living on-campus felt that their housing experience significantly contributed to their academic performance. It is one of the most important attributes predicting student success and retention, which is why Macmillan Learning partnered with The Association of College and University Housing Officers (ACUHO-I) to better understand student experience, satisfaction and learning in the residence halls. The four institutions selected to be the inaugural Assessment and Impact Award for Housing and Residence Life winners were: John Carroll University in Ohio, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Southwest Oregon Community College. The winners were selected using a multi-step evaluation process that included an analysis of multi-year assessment data that identified programs that either had the best results or best increases in performance in areas like student staffing and diverse interactions as well as interviews and with housing and residence life leaders by members of the Benchworks Analytics and Research Team. “Housing and residence life is such an integral part of the college experience, and our research shows that it significantly impacts how students feel about attending college. The award recognizes colleges that are successfully using assessment data to improve their students’ experience with housing and their overall success,” said Craig Bleyer, General Manager of Skyfactor. The Benchworks assessments are the most widely used programs in higher education housing, and have been available for nearly 20 years. The ACUHO-I/Benchworks Residents Assessment is used by nearly 300 institutions each year, and is one of more than 50 different assessments from Benchworks on topics important to college success, including housing, orientation, and student affairs and service. The survey includes questions about student happiness, safety, diversity and inclusion, facilities, costs, sense of community, and time management, among others. Assessment and Impact Award for Housing and Residence Life winners will be acknowledged during a luncheon at the upcoming ACUHO-I conference being held in Toronto, Ontario later this week. To learn more about how housing facilities relate to student perceptions, view this free webinar.
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New York, NY; May 22, 2019 -- Macmillan Learning announced today that Alfred Essa will join the company's Learning Science and Insights team to lead and grow the Analytics and Data Science Group. This addition is part of the company's considerable investment in a comprehensive learning science program driving the company's next-generation of learning and retention products. Macmillan Learning's Chief Strategy and Learning Officer, Dr. Adam Black said, "We can help students, instructors, and other college staff achieve more by designing experiences with them, that are engineered with Learning Science, and that provide formative, data-driven insights. Al's experience and expertise working both for major academic institutions and companies developing educational technology will help us accelerate that vision." The Learning Science and Insights group Essa joins includes expert teams in experience, human-centered design, learning research, impact research, and analytics. Those teams work hand-in-hand with Macmillan Learning's product, engineering, and editorial teams to develop teaching and learning solutions that materially improve outcomes. The group's findings have bee presented widely at academic conferences and published in a variety of white papers and Learning Science Foundations under a Creative Commons license to help educators apply the best of learning science. "Students and educators can be significantly more successful when they have the right insights at the right time, which is why we're focused on designing products that generate unique and powerful data," said Macmillan Learning CEO Ken Michaels. "We are thrilled to have Al joining at this exciting phase for our company and for education." Essa previously held positions in education and educational technology including leading the analytics and R&D group at McGraw-Hill, leading innovation and analytics strategy for Desire2Learn, and driving enterprise infrastructure at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities as Associate Vice Chancellor and Deputy CIO.
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Macmillan Learning announced today, April 15, that we became the first education solutions company to become Global Certified Accessible™, providing “born accessible” digital learning (ebook) options for students with disabilities. Books that are born accessible are developed to ensure that all students, no matter their ability, have the same access to information. This is increasingly important for students and instructors as more than one out of every ten students who attends college has a disability.
Benetech, a nonprofit that empowers communities with software for social good, established the Global Certified Accessible program to become the publishing industry’s first-ever program focusing on accessibility certification. The program evaluates whether ebooks are designed to be accessible for learners with reading barriers such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability.
“In this digital age there’s no reason that students with disabilities shouldn’t have the same access to learning materials as their peers,” said Susan Winslow, General Manager of Macmillan Learning. “Through working with Benetech, we saw how our internal processes could be improved to make materials even more accessible and made all the necessary changes. While we’re very proud of being the first to have the designation - we’re more proud that we now better serve all learners.”
Over the past few years digital experiences have become richer - with dynamic content and features that make learning more interactive. While Macmillan Learning has had processes in place to support learners with disabilities for some time, the company worked alongside Benetech to ensure that the best possible support for access to these digital features were built in.
To become Global Certified Accessible Benetech evaluated Macmillan Learning’s workflow for creating accessible books, as well as many samples of content across the disciplines they publish in, and certified conformance to the accessible EPUB creation guidelines, which are based on WCAG 2.0 AA+ standards put in place by the international standards organizations and the publishing community. Using a collaborative process, Benetech evaluated and provided feedback on more than a hundred accessibility features. The certification applies to all books created using Macmillan Learning’s updated process, which includes all ebooks with a 2019 copyright.
“As teachers, school districts and post-secondary institutions select course materials, they need to know that the ebooks they choose will be accessible for all students,” said Brad Turner, VP and GM, Global Education and Literacy at Benetech. “Now that Macmillan Learning is a Global Certified Accessible publisher, schools can select Macmillan’s certified materials, knowing that every student will be able to read and learn from the textbook in a way that works for them, laying the foundation for a classroom that is inclusive of all learners.”
Macmillan Learning’s certified materials will be available through our regular channel partners as well as a new retail store hosted by VitalSourceⓇ. This also includes a catalog of more than 200 titles from our backlist which, while not “born accessible,” include detailed accessibility information on the VitalSource platform through their accessibility badging initiative.
“We are excited about the leadership Macmillan Learning is providing around accessibility support and transparency in their content,” said Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy at VitalSource. “Our industry leading efforts with transparency showcases the accessibility features they have included in their content and will help all learners understand how that content can best support their individual needs.”
For many years, Macmillan Learning has offered accessible materials such as instructor and student resources (e.g., lecture slides, quizzes, PDFs, etc.), and ebooks at no additional cost to Disability Services for qualified instructors and students with disabilities and for instructors supporting students with disabilities.
About Macmillan Learning Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that is empathetic, highly effective, and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community.
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You'll see us talking quite a bit about SXSWedu in the coming weeks. For those unfamiliar with SXSWedu: it's an awesome education conference held in Austin, TX each year. SXSWedu brings together a community of educators, entrepreneurs, and business folks to discuss the future of learning. At Macmillan Learning, we look at this conference as an opportunity to share our unique perspective on teaching, learning, insights, outcomes, student success, and much more! The neat thing about SXSWedu is that the education community plays a significant role in the programming for the meeting. Voters (people like YOU!) can visit the PanelPicker page, peruse sessions and vote for the best sessions. Check out our proposed sessions below! If you like what you see, click the thumbs up button on the session page! Voting is open through August 30th, 2018 . Vote today and tell a friend! How Digital Technology Efficacy Research is Failing Higher-Ed Instructors and Tools to Fix It Speakers : Dr. Adam Black , Dr. Kara McWilliams About this session: Instructors are flooded with choices as new digital learning tools enter the higher-education market. This talk shifts the conversation of educational technology efficacy away from research that is conducted in isolation, to research that is highly collaborative between researchers and educators so that findings are relevant and actionable for instructors in their courses. We outline an approach to measuring efficacy at all stages of a product development lifecycle that can be implemented by any educational software develop and that leads to useful and reliable findings. We also provide tools that instructors can use to evaluate what digital learning tools will work in their courses. Affordability in Higher Education: A New Perspective on the Total Cost of Student Success Speakers: Ken Michaels , Kara McWilliams About this session: The mounting cost of higher education - including tuition, living expenses, and curricular materials - is a critical challenge that all stakeholders are grappling with. In fact, in many cases affordability is forcing students and their families to reassess the value versus the cost of a degree. Increasingly the focus on mitigating these costs is lowering the price of educational materials, but void is the discussion around whether this is occurring at the expense of learner outcomes. This talk will reframe the affordability discussion and present a perspective that encompasses the total cost of student success, including affordable teaching and learning solutions that are demonstrated to not only mitigate the high cost of higher education, but also influence positive instructor and student outcomes. Innovating in EdTech through Human-Centered Design Speakers: Jeff Bergin , Jared Crane About this session: Designing innovative technologies is becoming an increasingly human-centered activity, drawing on methods in design thinking, user research, and human-computer interaction. Designing educational technologies, however, has hidden complexities, as it often involves designing for two sets of users: students and instructors. This interactive session will examine several methods for conducting practical and effective human-centered design with students and instructors. It will also provide participants with a set of guidelines for beginning their own human-centered design practice. Implementing Active Learning for Engagement and Effectiveness: An Interactive Panel Speakers : Dr. Jeff Bergin , Dr. Chris Dede , Dr. Erin Dolan About this session: Active learning is one increasingly common way to engage students in the learning process through interactive, collaborative, and constructive activities. Indeed, many of these activities are affordable, effective and relatively easy to implement, but few are built on research-based methods and measured for effectiveness and impact -- without which, active learning can be less effective or even counterproductive. This panel will begin by introducing common approaches to active learning. Then, the panel will share two pieces of research: an evidence-based active learning model and an impact study examining outcomes associated with the implementation of active learning techniques. Finally, the panel will discuss the pros and cons of implementing active learning methods in a variety of classrooms. Voting is easy. Simply click the proposal links above and give our sessions a 'thumbs up.' Note: you must create a SXSWedu profile to vote; creating a profile takes 2-3 minutes. Voting is open from August 6th- August 30th. Vote today! Tell a Friend!
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You talked and we listened. Your new Macmillan Learning Support Community is now live here! It's now easier to find answers to your questions and get help from your Macmillan Learning team. Key enhancements to the Support Community include: Smarter Search Engine Find answers and instructions using a new, robust search engine that now includes filtering options to narrow your search. Clear Path to Contact Support The three step process for contacting our support team can now be accessed easily from any page. Simpler navigation Sign up for training, view System Status, or access help articles for your product using quick links at the bottom of every page. Please note that most links and URLs from our old support site will automatically redirect to the corresponding articles in the new Support Community, but we recommend updating any links you’ve bookmarked or shared with students in the past. For a quick overview of what's new, click through a virtual interactive tour here. Please continue to share your feedback on the new Macmillan Learning Support Community to help us in our ongoing initiatives to improve our resources for you and your students. Thank you for your continued support, and Happy Teaching! Check out our New Support Site now!
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The pace of change in education is picking up speed with every passing moment. With the latest emerging technologies, we need to consistently reexamine our current methods while keeping an eye on potential upcoming trends. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to attend conferences like SXSWedu. What is SXSWedu? While SXSW is known for its cutting-edge innovation in the interactive, film, and music industries, SXSWedu applies the same cutting-edge principles to education. The goal of the conference is to foster “innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education.” And at this year’s SXSWedu the Macmillan Learning team learned a lot—and we’re eager to keep the momentum going. One particular panel that received quite a bit of buzz was our Disrupting the Walled Garden discussion. This is a hot-button topic in the academic world and it’s one we’d like to continue the conversation on. In fact, we’re inviting all the great minds in education to come together so we brainstorm innovative solutions to better the future of learning. But before we do, let’s recap the panel. You can also watch the video of the panel here. SXSWedu Recap: Disrupting the Walled Garden panel discussion On March 7, Macmillan Learning’s general manager, Susan Winslow, with David Kim, founder and CEO of Intellus Learning, and Robert Lue professor of Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University led a panel discussion on the walled garden. These three education powerhouses discussed why the outdated information and learning model—what we’re referring to as the walled garden—no longer works in today’s world of academia. Our goal was to bring together great minds in education, so we might, together, find new, innovative ways to improve the future of learning for students. What is the Walled Garden? Before the Information Age, universities and colleges were the gate-keepers of knowledge. They kept, maintained, and provided access to what was essentially a walled garden of information. Today, however, information exists in a very different way. As Robert Lue put it during the panel discussion, “We are swimming in an ocean of information. And the previous walled garden of the university—our libraries, and our research labs, groups, and centers were holders of information—has now changed.” Students can now get information from blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and open-source journals. This poses a challenge for universities as they’ve been designed to create, gather, and pass on knowledge. Today, publishers, universities, and professors are only one piece in a vast network of content. Helping students navigate the future of information So, how can we work together to curate, assess, and thread together information in a way that students can grasp? Over time there have been many partners in higher education ecosystem that have worked together to make this happen. The role of the publisher Publishers have been long-standing academic partners to universities and institutions. Publishers collaborate with professors to publish their work and hold that publication to certain standards and criteria. Publishers pull together a package of important content and provide students with a coherent and beautifully threaded set of knowledge. Publishers today continue to be critical partners, but how will this role change moving forward? The role of tech Professors and universities provide the knowledge, publishers weave that knowledge together, and tech solutions improve how students absorb and access that knowledge. It was great to get the perspective Intellus Learning’s founder and CEO, David Kim, during the panel discussion. Kim offered a unique perspective on how and where tech fits into this puzzle, “Through our own conversations, open ways of looking at problem, we reinforce commonality here for students’ success. Where does converge align? What can we learn from each other that will create shared products and data that will speak to that end?” The ed tech companies that are truly looking to transform the industry are partnering with both professors and publishers to create engaging, revolutionary products. And how we can all work together Universities, publishers, and tech companies should no longer be siloed—we need to find ways to help each other. This is currently an untapped market where we can leverage everyone’s efforts in more crowdsourced ways to create something that will improve how today’s students learn. But we can’t do that alone. Join the conversation Our SXSWedu panel scratched the surface of this important topic, but we want to go deeper. We need to continue to collaborate, build, and evolve if we’re going to adapt to the pace of change in education. And to do so, your input is vital. Share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to our team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Macmillan Learning team can't wait to head to Austin for #SXSWedu. We hope to meet and learn more about you while we're there! For those who may not be familiar, the SXSWedu Conference & Festival is a part of the world-renowned SXSW family of conferences and festivals held annually in Austin, TX. SXSW is known for its cutting-edge innovation in the interactive, film, and music industries—and SXSWedu is just as cutting-edge and enlightening. The education portion of the conference was created to foster “innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education.” We’re eager to continue to lend our expertise and developments with a forward-thinking community that’s as passionate about the progress of education as we are. W e have some must-see events you’ll want to check out. Here’s where you can find us throughout the conference: Startup Spotlight Tuesday, March 6th, 6-8pm Hilton Austin, 4th Floor Prefunction We’re hosting the SXSWedu Startup Spotlight t his year. This networking event works to showcase the education startups participating at the conference. The cocktail-style reception will provide attendees the opportunity to demo products and offer valuable, real-time feedback in a fun and casual atmosphere. # AchieveMore Party hosted by Macmillan Learning Tuesday, March 6th, 7:30-11pm Speakeasy, 412 Congress Avenue Keep your SXSWedu momentum going with the Macmillan Learning team at the Speakeasy on Congress Avenue, just a few blocks from the Convention Center. Join us for live music (featuring all-female band, Tonic808!), bowling, pool tables, free food, and amazing downtown views from the rooftop bar. And don’t forget about the photo booth...bragging rights to the individual with the most creative photos at the party! Our first 100 guests will receive complimentary drink tickets. Door prizes will be given away throughout the evening. RSVP here. Disrupting the Walled Garden panel Wednesday, March 7th, 2-2:30pm Hilton Austin, Salon G Have you ever felt constrained in your role as an educator? How about that same feeling as an executive at a publishing company or founder of an edtech startup? Our speakers represent three distinct perspectives in the education community and will guide the audience through a discussion designed to uncover threads of understanding between actors in the education ecosystem. Participants will receive actionable insights and practical takeaways on how to best serve teachers and learners in a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. SXSW Job Market Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11th: Palmer Events Center, Exhibit Hall 2, Booth #316 You can find us at stand #316 at the Job Market on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll be more than happy to share information on careers at Macmillan Learning, as well as details on the recruiting process and the education industry. We’re looking forward to connecting with you at SXSWedu ! If you have any questions between now and then, feel free to send us a note. See you in Austin!
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Got a big exam coming up but struggle with study skills? Have trouble keeping focus while taking your exam? Do nerves creep up before or during your exam? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then congratulations, welcome to the life of a hardworking student! Life as a student can come with its pain points, but check out a few of our study hacks that are sure to get your synapses sparking, nerves crushed, and your exams aced. Gum and Candy For the Win Don’t put it under the desks folks, cause this minty savior could boost you a whole letter grade! Chewing gum or sucking on a piece of candy/cough drop can help alleviate your nerves during a test and stimulate your brain while taking your exam. This is scientifically proven, do some research ! Your hippocampus will thank you for it. Jog, Dance, Swim, Leap! Work your brain by working your body! Take about 15 minutes to warm your body up by doing some form of stretches or exercises before your exam. Whether you jog, dance, yoga, swim, jump rope, the choice is yours. Getting your blood pumping will help wake you up and get your brain focused and ready for that big exam! Puzzle Me This Great for the early exams, solving puzzles such as Sudoku help center your focus and wake your brain up, especially if you’re not a morning person. Mental exercise is just as important as physical. Put it in Song! Get your vocal cords ready . There are scientific studies that show there is a direct relationship between music and memory . Playing music in the background or coming up with songs, jingles, or rhymes can help you remember fun facts like “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” or how many elements are in the periodic table. Bonus points if you teach your classmates your song. Repetition is key in any form of practice! What study tips and tricks do you rely on to get you through midterms? Comment below!
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At Macmillan Learning we highly value the opportunities we get to spend with both instructors and students. It is integral to our design process to partner with those groups to refine our products and make sure they are meeting user needs. Working directly with students also gives us the opportunity to step back and get a fresh perspective on the work we do. In November, the Macmillan Learning design team was presented with the opportunity to directly work with the second year master’s students in the Indiana University Human Computer Interaction Design program . Macmillan Learning provided these students with a design prompt and the students had 5 days to meet with us, ask questions, and create their final deliverable. We provided each team feedback and ultimately picked two of the projects as standouts -- exemplars of innovation in educational technology. The Opportunity Space: A Vision for Learning in 5 Years The Macmillan design team gave the students the following prompt to work with: Education is rapidly changing all of the time, and we are constantly trying to understand how technology can facilitate better learning experiences. We want you to look 5 years into the future and create a vision of an ecosystem that leverages technology to support learning. AR, VR, AI, and other emerging technologies are on the table, so think big and create a vision for education in the future. Your team decides which mediums best support your ecosystem. We had six teams participate, and each team had three or four members. The project was set up so that the students got the prompt on a Monday, had one meeting with us to ask questions, and had completed the challenge by the following Friday. The Winners The amount of work each team produced in four and a half days was extraordinary. While every submission we received was very well done, there were two teams in particular that excelled in all aspects of their deliverable -- from problem framing, research, design rationale, to final design -- and really stood out. The SmARt Space Team Emily Fath , Cecilia Gutknecht , Ryan Griggs The smARt Space team was chosen as a top team due to their articulation of the interesting problem of how do we integrate technology into the classroom so that it is used and doesn’t get in the way. Additionally they delivered a detailed walkthrough of the their conceptual ecosystem. The team’s ecosystem consisted of a smart pen, table, and AI mentor. These 3 items worked together to create an atmosphere where students learned through the benefits of actually writing, their instructors could assist when needed, and the AI could interject to help students at any point. The OmniLearn Team Anchal Aggarwal , Brian O’Connor, Xiao Liang The OmniLearn team did a very good job with their research to understand the opportunity space. They spent time looking into competitors and also did some co-design work with a Professor of Education who had expertise in pedagogy and instructional design. OmniLearn is a system that aims to use data to learn how to help a student learn most effectively. It can utilize a user’s interests to help them find the classes they need to fulfill requirements that will be the most interesting to them as a person. It can also provide tailored resources for the user’s classes based on their interests and learning style. All of this is meant to help a student be more engaged throughout all of their classes and perform better. As the Learning Insights company, we are passionate and scientific about helping students, instructors, and institutions to achieve their full potential. We use a unique combination of user-centered design, research from the learning sciences, and empirical insights from extensive data mining and impact research. We are always looking for opportunities to work with more instructors and students. If you are interested in participating in a co-design session or other research with us please contact us at email@example.com
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I’m so pleased to see Michael Feldstein reference codesign and learning research in his post (Good Enough vs. Better Enough). These are two important aspects of research-based educational product design. In fact, they are critical precursors to efficacy and driving better student outcomes. Codesign ensures that we are solving the right problems for students, instructors, and administrators and developing products that are highly empathetic. Learning research ensures that we are solving these problems in the right ways (in ways supported by empirical research). Together, codesign and learning research are a big part of Macmillan’s commitment to driving learner outcomes -- and we are proud to be leading the industry in this direction.
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Learning opens doors and changes lives. And, student success is driven by great instructors. That’s why we’re passionate about providing both with tools that realize potential - tools that are empathetic, impactful, grounded in learning science, leverage insights from data, and are systematically measured and refined. Given how high the stakes, “good enough” is not part of our lexicon. We laid bare our approach in our White Paper, Unpacking the Black Box of Efficacy , and we’re delighted to see Michael Feldstein so thoroughly examine and extend the discussion.
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Managing all of your college classes can be a full time job, but most college students have to balance their classes with extracurriculars as well. Spending time outside the classroom is a huge part of the college experience. Whether those experiences happen while playing on a sports field, in the chatter of a newsroom, or backstage of a play, it’s important to make time for extracurriculars during college, but the question is how exactly can you make that time? Here are three tips for how best to manage your time and balance your coursework with your other activities: 1) Start a calendar. Take a moment at the beginning of the semester to sit down with all of your syllabi and your calendar. Get all of your midterms, papers, and major assignment due dates down off the bat. Be sure to add other big dates in there too, like game days or debate weekends. Now is the time to plan ahead — if any weeks look really busy, make sure to get started on things early. Get your readings and problem sets done ahead of time and stay ahead of the ball. 2) Avoid the scroll. More often than not, the first thing people do when they sit down to study is check their social media. Before you know it, you’ve spent half an hour not getting work done. Planning out when you’ll get assignments done is a crucial part of time management in college, but that only works if things go according to plan. Whether you're just getting started or taking a short break, avoid getting pulled into the never ending scroll of social media. Read about The Black Mirror Effect to learn how following this tip can help more than your just studies. 3) Use your resources. Everyone has classes they struggle with. If you know you have trouble finishing a class’s problem sets, understanding the lecture, or tackling a research paper, don’t be shy about asking for help. Take advantage of office hours or TA study sessions. The time you take to get your questions answered will be well worth the investment. You’ll be able to complete your assignments more quickly and with a lot less frustration. For more student-related articles, check back to the Macmillan Community often. We will post regular updates throughout the term.
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We’re delighted to announce the launch of our first combined user-centered design and learning science lab, in Austin, Texas. More than 100 people joined to celebrate the launch and to hear leading experts discuss how research is driving a transformation in the design of next-generation learning products. The lab reflects our commitment to learners and our focus on researching learning. Moreover, it enables us to put learners at the center of our daily research and design activities. The Austin Learning Lab is the first in a series of new labs we are building to enable our learning researchers and human-centered designers to co-design and iteratively test with students and instructors to create learning products that are highly usable and impactful. The lab comprises an adjoining observation room, remote broadcast capabilities, and usability software. It is also designed to support neurological and biometrics technology and will expand to enable researchers to study affective, cognitive, and physiological responses to product designs. The lab was designed based upon highly successful labs at IBM and the National Cancer Institute, principles of environmental design, and consultation with leading expert Dr. Robert Atkinson, the Director of Arizona State University’s Advancing Next Generation Learning (ANGLE) Lab. The new facility is designed to help us to: Learn more about learners. The lab provides a research space where we can meet daily with students and instructors - one-to-one or in small groups - to really understand their aspirations, struggles, and needs. We can explore in depth the problems they’re trying to solve and how we can best help them as part of their daily lives. Learn about learning. The lab provides a space in which we can simulate a learning experience -- with an individual or small group -- in a controlled setting. Combining this tightly controlled lab work with on-campus field research with partner instructors and institutions enables our researchers to compare how learning experiences work under a variety of conditions and to make refinements accordingly. Learn about our products. The lab also provides a space where we can quickly, regularly, and iteratively test how students and instructors react and respond to product designs at all stages in development. The lab is led by an interdisciplinary research council comprised of user and learning researchers and it will evolve with guidance from our Learning Research Advisory Board including Dr. Christopher Dede, Dr. Mark McDaniels, and Dr. Robert Atkinson. The lab reflects a key component of our end-to-end approach to learning science that blends learning research, human-centered design, impact research, and learning analytics. To learn more about the Learning Lab and our approach to learning science & insights, visit our website .
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*This article, authored by Director of Content Standards and co-chair of the EPUB 3 Community Group, Rachel Comeford, was originally posted to epubsecrets, but we asked for permission to re-post it here. I have a confession: I have never taken a class in accessibility; I have no professional certification for creating, remediating, or testing content; and I am not an expert in using assistive technology. Why would anyone ask me to write about being an accessibility advocate? Because I am one. By accident. Many years ago, I received a customer request to revise an activity and make it JAWS compatible. Here were my next steps: Search for “JAWS” Spend 20 minutes reading about Roy Scheider, star of the 1975 classic Jaws Remember I’m at work Search for “JAWS compatibility” Search for “Screen Reader” Ask a colleague how to make an activity accessible Have colleague tell me to add closed captioning Realize I might be missing something After a career focusing on getting students better content and making sure that instructors get the best materials for their classrooms it was unnerving to discover that I was missing a large (and growing) portion of my audience. What was more unnerving was realizing how many of my peers and colleagues were also unaware. We’re gonna need a bigger boat. Teaching myself how to approach accessibility was, and still is, challenging. The more I learn, the more I realize, to quote the other Jaws, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Accessibility is more than a checklist; as an advocate, I am responsible for embedding an understanding of accessibility into company culture, communicating clearly the needs of our whole audience, and generating enthusiasm for finding and implementing more accessible solutions. In working towards these goals, I have learned quite a bit but to get started, these are the 5 rules that I had accept and embrace. Acknowledge that accessibility isn’t an afterthought. Picking through design and code that has been developed with speed to market in mind in order to make it accessible isn’t impossible, but it is time consuming, expensive, and, honestly, really annoying. It’s like extricating pieces of onion from a salad… there is always another one in there waiting to ruin your breath for the rest of the day.Accessibility shouldn’t be addressed after a product has been built any more than it should be scheduled as the last sprint in order to reach MVP. It should be a part of the development plan from the beginning, starting with researching UX/UI for your product with assistive technology (AT) users. Educate yourself in order to educate others. This is obvious, right? Research the standards, familiarize yourself with the laws, and have (and be able to communicate with others) a basic definition of accessibility. As an advocate though, throwing around key terms is not enough. Accessibility is a conversation between learners, organizations that represent them, legal entities, software developers, and publishers among others. Advocates should be able to provide clarity where others might muddle ideas.For example, much like when my mother taught me about the difference between a coat and a jacket (which, to be honest, I still struggle with), I am going to ask you to stop using WCAG and 508 WCAG is a standard set by the World Wide Web Consortium. Section 508 is an element of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There are more that you should familiarize yourself with both in the standards area ( PDF/UA for example) and the legal area (such as IDEA ). (As a side note: For legal updates in plain language, I’m a big fan of Lainey Feingold’s site .) Learn from mistakes that everyone, including you, has made. Don’t be that guy on Tinder who posts selfies with tigers and then wonders why no one swipes right. (Same goes for shirtless bathroom/gym selfies in case you’re working on that profile right now. Hard no.) Many other people have been down this road before, looking for accessibility solutions in all the wrong places. If you’re looking for non-Tinder related examples: Some will argue that the population this impacts is too small. In 2016 there was a 55 percent increase in the number of digital accessibility complaints filed with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) from 2015. There were about 6,000 accessibility complaints overall in 2016. The impact you are making with accessible products is huge, from the number of people using the product to the money you are going to save on legal fees. Some will offer an accessible version/a tutor/an alternate product for students with disabilities. Ask them this: You’re teaching a class on the 5th floor of a walkup building. You have 1 student in a wheelchair. Do you send that student to a different classroom to just read the textbook? Ask them to sit on the lawn while you lecture really loudly near the window? There won’t always be a solution as simple as a ramp and an elevator (see number 5), but it’s your job as an advocate to push for a single, born-accessible solution whenever it is possible. I tested this on a screen reader with my eyes closed, so I know it’s accessible. To clarify, what you have done is helped get a little further down the accessible development path but what you have NOT done is tested the usability of a product for AT users. Become an expert in saying “I don’t know.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Better yet, become an expert in saying “I don’t know.” There’s an art to being a beginner, and, when it comes to accessibility, expertise is hard-earned. You don’t need to have an immediate answer to every question, but what you do need is to build a network of relationships with other people asking the same questions. Check out the work that Benetech does, talk to PhET about STEM accessibility, and learn from real life experiences . Accept that there isn’t always a “right” answer. This is the hardest part, in my opinion. I like being right, and like it even more when there is a clearly defined “wrong,” but accessibility doesn’t work that way. AT works differently with different operating systems or browsers. Some problems don’t have a universal solution yet. Others have a solution for some audiences and not others. New solutions for one group of users may introduce new problems for other groups. It’s a frustrating process and your role is to help the team get to the best available answer and then try to solve for the outliers. Accessibility advocacy is not about being the sole source of expert knowledge or achieving fame and fortune (although I continue to dream about the fortune part). What it really does is bring you back to the basics: don’t shrink away from a challenge, don’t fall back on old (often offensive) tropes, and stop telling everyone on Tinder that you’re looking for a “partner in crime.” Be an accessibility advocate because you care about other people. Succeed as an accessibility advocate because you want other people to be successful. BIO As the Director of Content Standards at Macmillan Learning , Rachel Comeford helps to implement and maintain industry and internal standards in content, platforms, and processes. As the co-chair of the w3c Publishing Community Group and participant in accessibility working groups at IMS Global , BISG , and AMAC she asks lots of annoying questions, silently judges Tinder profiles, and is always looking for a bigger boat.
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This article was co-authored with design researcher, Allison Abbott and originally published on medium.com. We were then invited to share it here on Macmillan News. Human-centered design — and the research that goes along with it — is an ambiguous world. The nuances of humanity are messy and hard to pin down; so how can we approach our work to ensure that we’re driving to solid product decisions? What can we do to ensure that we’re designing unique, transformational, and differentiated solutions that fit seamlessly into people’s lives? After having been around the block with excellent, mediocre, and sometimes flat-out bad teams, we realized there were two critical mindsets that made all the difference. Mindset 1: Look for inspiration, not proof We’re gonna go out on a limb here and say it: design research isn’t about finding proof — it’s about finding inspiration. Don’t get us wrong. We absolutely realize there is so much value in the confidence we gain by seeing numbers at scale and the comfort we feel in statistical significance. But… the small nuances, the fascinating details, and the meaty stories are impossible to capture with hard data alone. Qualitative research can unlock a whole world of inspiration to draw from. It can open up a team’s eyes and hearts to things they may not have anticipated or even thought about before. Unfortunately, in most organizations, there is a very different mentality. “Good research” is quantitative, metric-driven, and comes from survey-like methods with a goal of demonstrating significance and truth at scale. We get it — business is about profit, and that profit is better predicted when you have confidence in numbers. The business wants to know how much money is riding on any product decision you make. Because of this, many design researchers feel pressure to prove their qualitative insights with hard data; but, we believe that such a goal misses the point. Running after numbers is not only distracting and time-consuming, but it causes design researchers to set aside unique and inspiring discoveries as merely anecdotal, just because they aren’t quantifiable (e.g. perspectives from extreme users ). It also encourages the widely accepted notion that qualitative insights aren’t valuable until they are proven . Jon Kolko tells us that “ an insight is a provocative statement of truth about human behavior that may be wrong. ” Whether the “insight” is right or wrong, proven or unproven, is kind of beside the point, we think. The insight serves to provide the team the inspiration it needs to design something transformational. Embrace the way your research makes you feel , not just what the numbers tell you. Give yourself permission to look for interesting anecdotal stories, even if they are “edge cases.” Not all of the people who ultimately use your product will have the same story; but they all may share a latent need hidden in the few stories that inspire you. Caption: Your insights should lead you to new, transformational ideas along with a set of well-informed hypotheses that should serve as the metrics you’ll measure out in the world, at scale. Mindset 2: Look beyond the thing you’re designing The worst misstep one can make in design is to solve the wrong problem. John Carroll We would bet that most of the design research happening right now is focused on answering the question: How do we design this [pre-determined] idea? More often than not, this idea is a half-baked one, coming from an exec somewhere from above (sorry guys, it’s the truth). It’s probably focused on a blatant business need and lacks the depth of understanding of the ecosystem surrounding the problem. If the design process starts here, a team’s circle of influence will be quite small. Their goals will be decided and they’ll take a reactionary approach, asking: What should this look and feel like? Is it usable? Does this design meet pre-existing requirements and constraints? The design process, as a result, ends up being about how well they are designing the idea that was given to them — no matter how good or bad it was to start. While this may increase speed-to-market and bypass challenging discussions amongst the team and stakeholders, it isn’t so effective at answering bigger, more impactful questions like: Is this the right idea to be pursuing in the first place? What’s the real problem here? What is the impact on people’s lives? Who needs it, anyway? The reality is, what you’re designing is going to be used in a messy, complicated world and it’s going to do something larger than itself. If you’re focused on glorifying and perfecting the idea alone, you’ll miss out on a wider understanding of what it is and could be. Good design research is proactive, not reactive. It shouldn’t focus solely on usability or validating the one idea, but instead on exploring the full range of possibilities to land on the best idea. Always seek a way to be holistic and strategic. Gracefully redirect and realign the conversation. Dance between the who, what, why, and how. Have an open-minded skepticism about what is and what could be in the world. And strive to understand the problem before there’s even the first idea on the table. We get that this is hard to do. It is so deeply ingrained in our business culture to put anything with the name of “research” into a scientific box: proof-oriented, spreadsheet-friendly, and something that can be successfully done behind the screen of a computer. What we’re proposing here goes squarely against traditional business instinct. Adopting these mindsets can be exhausting and uncomfortable, and will probably upset some people once in a while. But we think you should do it anyway. It’s better for business. Think about how much crap is out there now because A) nobody took the time to get outside their own heads to understand the people they’re designing for, and B) they anchored to the most obvious pet project solution that customers don’t actually want or care about. Finding the solutions that are going to truly resonate will get you far ahead of your competition. It’s better for your career. The results of your work will be much more compelling in your portfolio. I mean, which of these sounds better? Our stakeholders told us that we’d get more market share if we built X feature, so we did this by… …or… We were inspired by this deeply painful problem and we leveraged our business’s technology to creatively solve it by… Finally, it’s just more interesting this way. Design research is just as much art as it is science — in fact, we think that’s why we love it so much. With these mindsets, your work becomes a philosophical game. You and your team are like investigators, digging through human stories to solve the mystery and unlock the meaning behind it all. At this point, taking action is so much more fun. Designer Sarah Calandro and Design Researcher Allison Abbott spent many a weekend morning (over Google Hangouts, coffee, and some welcome interruptions from two playful pups ) hashing out what they think makes design research “good.” This is where they landed.
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SXSWedu, the annual education conference that brings together educators, administrators, entrepreneurs, journalists, and policy makers, kicked off voting for session proposals today. The SXSWedu program centers around engaging talks from across the education spectrum, and is built (in part) with community votes. This year, Macmillan Learning submitted three proposals. And we need your help voting for our proposals! Disrupting the Walled Garden (Ken Michaels, David Kim, Rob Lue) Unpacking the Black Box (Kara McWilliams, Adam Black) Designing to Build Community (Jared Crane, Jeff Bergin, Tina Bizaca) Voting is easy. Simply click the links above and give our sessions a 'thumbs up.' Note: you must create a SXSWedu profile to vote; creating a profile takes 2-3 minutes. Voting is open from August 7th-25th. Vote today! Tell a Friend!
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In honor of National Intern Day on Thursday, July 27th, Macmillan Learning CEO Ken Michaels took an hour out of his day to talk to Macmillan interns across the country at one of the interns’ weekly Lunch & Learn meetings. The Lunch & Learn program has been ongoing throughout the summer, and gives participants the chance to meet with senior management to discuss their professional journeys and roles within Macmillan Learning. Thursday’s Lunch & Learn was held in the New York office, with interns from Boston, Austin, Los Altos, and Plymouth conferencing in via phone and WebEx. For Ken’s Lunch & Learn, the main focus was on personal and career development. Quotable snippets of advice kept interns’ pens busy as Ken began by sharing his own journey, starting with his days delivering newspapers and moving forward to an overview of how his career has progressed since. Ken then opened the floor up to questions, jokingly offering to fill the time with anecdotes if no one spoke up. Some of the questions asked included what a day in the life looks like, what’s currently on Ken’s reading list (he recommended The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt ), and how to maintain a work/life balance. Michaels placed an emphasis on two major topics: Curiosity and improvement. He urged interns never to lose their sense of curiosity, to constantly dig into the who, what, when, where, why, and how of every assignment. According to Michaels, it is not enough just to do the task; you have to know the story behind the task, because only then will you truly be able to outpace expectation. He stressed that a job is only as boring as you allow it to be, and counseled interns to be constantly asking the question “What value am I adding?” He also challenged interns to continuously seek ways to improve both themselves and their environment. Every intern walked away from the Lunch & Learn with both a piece of advice in one hand and a homework assignment in the other. The advice? “If you have to complain, turn it into a suggestion or a solution.” Likewise, the homework assignment was a simple yet somewhat daunting task for the end of the summer - to come up with one element of our current work environment that could be improved upon and send it in, preferably with a suggestion on how to improve it. It was refreshing to benefit from the advice of a leader without having to frantically take notes on the minutiae of the way a business is run or the way a product is developed, particularly as many interns do not yet know what they want to do with their lives. Ken’s message during the Lunch & Learn emphasized that we will never know where our careers may lead, and that it doesn’t matter where we start out so long as we actually do something once we start. I believe I speak for all interns when I say that we walked out of that room with a more well-rounded perspective on career development than when we walked in. It was like having a long talk with a good friend over coffee -- positive, lighthearted, and full of advice that, whether you know it yet or not, will help launch you into the next stages of your life.
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New collaboration provides enhanced digital solutions for a broader population of students July 25, 2017. Raleigh, NC. Today Macmillan Learning, a premier educational content and digital solutions company, and VitalSource Technologies LLC®, the world leader in building, enhancing and delivering digital course materials, announced a new collaboration to provide students with greater access and an improved learning experience with Macmillan Learning’s digital products. “At Macmillan Learning, we are working every day to create innovative solutions,” said Chief Operations Officer Ken Brooks. “Working with the VitalSource is enabling us to immediately broaden our reach. We will be able to provide more accessible digital solutions for all learners, as well as new solutions for the K12 market.” Using VitalSource’s LearnKit application program interfaces (APIs), Macmillan Learning will offer content at a broader scale with mobile, responsive and accessible options for all learners, while maintaining the flexibility to meet the needs of today’s faculty and administrators. “Macmillan has a long history of creating and curating great content and platforms,” said VitalSource Chief Operating Officer Pep Carrera. “While they have done a fantastic job with their digital offerings, this collaboration allows them to accelerate their efforts, while banking on VitalSource’s nearly 20 years of experience optimizing and delivering digital content to millions of students.” “Customization for our customers is critical in today’s market as educators and learners strive for more personalized pathways,” said Brooks. “With this collaboration, we will be able to take individual slices of content to customize and integrate with pedagogical tools and assessment in new ways.” ## About Macmillan Learning Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. Our legacy of excellence in education continues to inform our approach to developing world-class content with pioneering, interactive tools. Through deep partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers, we facilitate teaching and learning opportunities that spark student engagement and improve outcomes. We provide educators with tailored solutions designed to inspire curiosity and measure progress. Our commitment to teaching and discovery upholds our mission to improve lives through learning. To learn more, please visit our website or see us on Facebook, Twitter, or join our Macmillan Community About VitalSource | www.vitalsource.com VitalSource Technologies LLC, part of Ingram Content Group LLC, is improving the learning experience by making it easier to create and deliver effective and affordable content. The preferred choice among educational institutions and companies for digital learning materials, VitalSource ® helps over 1,000 educational content providers create and deliver seamless interactive learning experiences through its exclusive Bookshelf ® platform to millions of learners at 7,000 institutions. Bookshelf users opened more than 20 million digital textbooks last year and read more than 2.4 billion pages.
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Tonight at 5pm PT in San Francisco, the winners for the 2017 CODiE Awards will be announced. The CODiE Awards are a peer-recognized program founded in 1986 that recognizes excellence in educational information, technology and software development. This year, Macmillan Learning is thrilled to have three products nominated for the awards: Sapling, Intellus, and FlipIt. For Best Instructional Solution - which recognizes “the best instructional solution for science and health curricula and content for students in the PK-12 or higher education market” - the CODiE Awards nominated Sapling . CEO Ken Michaels describes the product as “probably the deepest most prominent, research-oriented way of prompting learning and learning pathways.” For Best Social Sciences or Social Studies Instructional Solution, which recognizes excellence in social sciences content, CODiE nominated FlipIt . View a brief demo of this tool and review the research that supports FlipIt here . And finally, for Best Digital Aggregation and Sharing Solution, Intellus has been nominated as of one of “the best digital platform[s] for educators to gather, describe, and share resources of all online sources and formats.” All of these technologies serve as examples of how Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. We are delighted and honored to have our products nominated. See this link to watch the livestream of the ceremony tonight, and keep your fingers crossed! And whatever the outcome, it continues to be a privilege to provide today's students and educators with the tools to succeed! About Macmillan Learning: Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. Our legacy of excellence in education continues to inform our approach to developing world-class content with pioneering, interactive tools. Through deep partnership with the world’s best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers, we facilitate teaching and learning opportunities that spark student engagement and improve outcomes. We provide educators with tailored solutions designed to inspire curiosity and measure progress. Our commitment to teaching and discovery upholds our mission to improve lives through learning. To learn more, please visit http://www.macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIN or join our Macmillan Community .
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