Web 2.0 For Dummies
“[Calculus] students really learn best if they do homework and are proactive, but faculty don’t have time to grade it,” Lieberman says. “Because of our focus on quantitative disciplines, we were able to create a system early on where doing homework and getting [instant] feedback [on it from the system] really helps [the student] with the course.”
WileyPlus came along at the right time, with college campuses cutting back on teaching assistants, students clamoring for better online study aids, and faculty deluged with a dizzying array of new teaching tools—a problem WileyPlus solved by integrating multiple tools into one product. The company’s expertise in textbooks allowed for the seamless integration of text and online features. Wiley’s e-textbooks are in XML, which links well with WileyPlus features.
“The solitary action of reading a textbook is not as appealing as [interacting] with [programs] that respond and give immediate feedback,” Lieberman notes. “Faculty and students love it—we now have students asking faculty if they will be using the system when they are picking a course.”
From a core group of initial offerings rooted in quantitative disciplines, WileyPlus has moved into anatomy and physiology and the social sciences, areas where instruction benefits from a strong visual element. A new introductory Spanish course allows students to hear words being pronounced as part of an online language lab.
“WileyPlus is helping professors be more productive, but also helping students learn in a more interactive way,” says Pesce, who reports that the product was being used in 13 countries, as of three months ago.
The technology allows Wiley to receive constant feedback regarding which elements of the system work best and are most useful to teachers and students, as well as at what times Web sites are most heavily used. (Pesce notes, with some amusement, an “incredible volume” of student visits occur late on Sundays and very early Monday morning.)