Evaluation for 6.5
If present, technology components included are appropriate for grade level students and provide support for learning.
The online platform offers access to textbook materials outside of the classroom. The downloadable eBook allows students and teachers to access the content on a computer and a phone even without Internet access. Instructors can assign specific content to the class or to individual students. All materials from the textbook are accessible digitally. The digital table of contents provides access to materials for both teacher and student, and instructors can view the platform in student view. Text is clear and discriminable. In the eBook, text can be changed to meet the needs of students with visual impairments or dyslexia. In the web-based version, text can be expanded 200 percent without a loss of clarity. Audio support is limited, as is embedded text support. Navigation within each webpage is via table of contents and side scroll bar with limited embedded page navigation. The page layout is linear, reproducing the text organization in the print materials. Visual texts are static in the eBook and have limited interactivity in the web-based version.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The student textbook material is accessible via the LaunchPad online platform in a web-based format and as a downloadable eBook. The Teacher’s Edition is also available as a downloadable eBook.
The text in both online formats is high contrast with simple font. Color is used to code certain activities and types of text, but headers indicate these shifts as well. In the eBook version, readers can change the text size, font, viewing mode (Day, Night, Sepia, or Cyan), margins, and line height. In the web-based format, text is zoomable to at least 200 percent with no loss in clarity. The text selections do not appear to have text-to-speech or audio-recorded alternatives in either the web-based or e-Book formats.
The platform allows instructors to assign content directly to a class or to individual students and to remind students of the assignment via email. The instructor platform allows the instructor to preview materials in the student view. The instructor console allows the instructor some ability to personalize general information, navigation, and gradebook preferences.
Students access assigned content via the LaunchPad platform and may also access unassigned resources, including game-like LearningCurve quizzes related to material covered in each chapter that can be used as adaptive formative assessment.
Online diagnostic assessments in grammar, style, reading skills, and reading strategies are available via LaunchPad, and an ExamView test bank allows teachers to customize multiple-choice assessments to be administered digitally or on paper.
“Grammar Girl” audio podcasts are available for listening within the online platform. Though there is no closed captioning for hearing-impaired students, there is an option to download a transcript.
In the web-based version and eBook, each text selection is accessible via the table of contents and accordion menus as well as via a search feature. In both the eBook and web-based versions, a slender right-side scroll bar allows the reader to navigate up and down the page.
In the eBook, all the material for each textbook section is contained on a separate webpage. The left-side accordion-style Table of Contents menu allows the reader to navigate to a particular part of the webpage, though the page itself does not typically contain embedded navigation (except for in some cases hyperlinks for included texts at the top of the webpage). The eBook webpage for Chapter 3, Thinking About Rhetoric, “Effective Argumentative Claims”, contains initial explanatory information, a key question and two activities, the second of which contains three short texts. The webpage embeds navigation tools, though the reader could navigate to subsections via the Table of Contents.
In the web-based version, students can click on most images embedded within web pages to zoom in to a degree, though the zoom feature is limited to one size increase. In the eBook, images are static. In Chapter 9, (Mis)Communication, on the webpage for the section “Conversation: Socially Networked,” three charts – “Size of Facebook Network by Gender,” “Has the Internet Been a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?” and “Technologies That Would Be Very Hard to Give Up” – are blurry. The caption for a political cartoon on the same page is pixelated. Other images on the page are clear (e.g., author photographs, a chart, a political cartoon, artistic images).
Though most intra-page hyperlinks successfully navigate the reader to the correct location on the page, hyperlinks to other pages or outside resources are not always successful. In the eBook version of Chapter 3, Thinking about Rhetoric and Argument, the first webpage contains a hyperlinked chapter outline and introductory materials. A click on the hyperlinked term “rhetoric” does not seem to navigate to another location, but the definition is provided immediately below. In Chapter 9, (Mis)Communication, on the webpage for the section “Conversation: Socially Networked,” a hyperlinked page number navigates the student to a political cartoon from the chapter introduction. Once the reader navigates away from the webpage, the return path is unclear. In the web-based format of the same resource, once the student navigates to the hyperlinked page, clicking on the “Previous” button redirects the reader to the beginning of the section, rather than to the page including the hyperlink. In Sherman Alexie’s poem “Facebook Sonnet,” the poem references church.com, a modern cultural reference, which is hyperlinked to a non-existent website in both the eBook and the web-based format.