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article imageAkademos launches new Adoption Tool

By Erin P. Capuano     May 7, 2012 in Technology
Online bookstore Akademos has launched its new Adoption Tool, a virtual site where faculty can go to choose their adopted texts for class.
Akademos, Inc. launches the new Adoption Tool for teachers, professors and school administration to help in the process of choosing texts for use in the classroom. The Adoption Tool is a virtual portal for school administration to search and choose their texts based on quality and value. With over 3,600 subjects and more than 2 million books, the Akademos Adoption Tool boasts the most efficient and abundant source of adoptable titles around, all peer reviewed and all reviewed for affordability.
The administrator can sort books by the following:
1. Rating
2. Affordability
3. Adoption
4. Publish Date
5. License
6. Saved
Each title has its own profile with details such as the author, publish date, publisher, list price, Instructor Rating, with Akademos AIsm (Affordability Rating, proprietary affordability algorithm that rates more than 2 million textbooks, faculty can sort materials by affordability while they also evaluate textbook quality), and License. The wonderful thing about this tool, is that each instructor can give their own review of the title and give it a star rating, so that when other instructors come in to see what books have already been adopted by other schools or have higher ratings, they are seeing what their peers have voiced their opinions on. Unlike many other internet textbook sites, like Amazon or B&N, the Adoption Tool posts reviews not by readers, but by other faculty and administration. Faculty wants an unbiased opinion on textbooks, they want to know the book they are adopting for class is actually easy to use and informational, rather than the latest edition or a book that the publishing company is spending money to promote. There certainly isn’t a lack of Biology books out there, but how do you know which biology book is right for your class, is the best quality, the best written, the easiest to teach and understand and the most affordable to already struggling parents and students? The Adoption Tool by Akademos has made that easy to understand and easy to follow.
One thing Akademos is great at as a company is making their sites easy to use, colorful and full of information that you would otherwise not see on other distribution sites. Each title is full of details about the book, as well as videos regarding the title (when available), straight from the publisher’s site or from the author themselves. They’ve even compiled a Comparison Wheel, so that you can compare each subject title side by side to make it easier to find the right book for your class. Akademos encourages professors and administration to post video reviews of books they have used in their classrooms, as well as listing all of the schools that currently adopt that title, so that the professor can make a sound decision on what they think is the most useful and affordable title for them. The days of relying solely on publisher sales person is over. Today teachers have choices, today many professors are taking it upon themselves to author textbooks in both Traditional and ebook form, so their students and peers have more options. The Adoption Tool encourages professors to adopt ebook titles that are featured on their site by their peers because it is a reliable, inexpensive way to educate your class. This will be the first time that faculty can not only search for traditional textbooks, but also for Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks and content. Each title will come with the additional content like CDROM features, etc. as well, if applicable. They will see titles published by not only the major large players in publishing, but also by the smaller unknown publishers.
Professors and instructors seek an unbiased way to assess textbook quality and fit, thus professor reviews of textbooks and ancillary materials they have used are key,” said John Squires, CEO of Akademos. “Faculty feedback also suggests that discovering more affordable textbooks is a challenge because non-commercial materials such as OER texts are difficult to find and compare. What we think professors really want to know is, “How do I find the highest quality textbook with the best affordability, which fits my coursework and my students’ needs?” Akademos launched the Adoption Tool on April 18, 2012 with a webinar that featured a number of key speakers, Brian Jacobs, Ph.D. Founder and President of Akademos, Eric Fingerhut, J.D. Vice President for Education and STEM Learning at Battelle Memorial Institute, and Phyllis H. Hillwig, Ed.D. Chief Operating Officer, Words & Numbers. In this webinar not only did they discuss the launch of the Adoption Tool, but they also touched upon the challenges in the adoption process for faculty and offered solutions on how to ease this process and make it more efficient for both faculty and administration.
For years Akademos has been ahead of the fray by giving its faculty options when it comes to adopting textbooks for their classes. Items like CoursePacks and Flatworld Knowledge reproductions offered affordable alternatives to the traditional textbooks. Technological innovations is another way that Akademos has stayed leaders in the game, when it comes to institutions and knowing what a school needs and wants for its students. With the launch of their eReader, their selection of ebooks allows students to purchase virtual versions of their textbooks at a significantly lower cost and gives them the convenience of having access to their book anywhere they are with a WiFi connection. Their eReader allows students to highlight and leave notes just as they would in a traditional textbook, but allows those notes to be changed or removed if the student wishes. These are just some of the ways that Akademos has tapped into the advances in technology while keeping the tradition of physical textbooks to lower the costs for parents and students.
Students are in debt today at an alarming rate; student loans are reaching the hundreds of thousands and when they finally graduate, they are bogged down by debt and high interest rates that can take a lifetime to pay off. The debate over student loan debt and interest rates rage on in our government, but little is known to the public as to what booksellers like Akademos are doing to help their kids make that debt just a tad smaller. Educating students on how to shop smart for textbooks is just one way that colleges can assist them in making the right decisions, while parents can teach their children the importance of money management and saving from an early age. By the time many students get to college, it’s the first experience they’ve had with managing money or having a debit card and it can and does get them into trouble, if they don’t budget properly. Suze Orman has written a great title, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke. While this mainly deals with after college debt, it can also help with how to avoid making some of the mistakes that many college kids make when they go off to school.
What Akademos is offering faculty with the Adoption Tool is a great easy way to find all of your subjects in one place, all of the most effective and popular textbook titles reviewed by peers, sorted by quality and affordability, so that faculty can have a hand in solving our student loan crisis. Allowing schools to budget wisely, saving faculty out of pocket expenses and giving students more affordable options sounds like a win-win deal to me. The future of education is upon us and it’s time we ride the wave rather than watching it pass us by.
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