Embed a textbook in Canvas?

Discussion created by JAMES SHELDON on Feb 7, 2018
Latest reply on Apr 4, 2018 by JAMES SHELDON



I am serious!  no, not the Joker in the Batman film. lol


I literally received, about a half hour ago, an e-mail about "what about (our little college) embedding the textbook in Canvas?


This really is NOT a simple proposition.


A few years ago I actually downloaded or interacted with ALL of the available "online" physics "e-books".


The results were surprising.

a) They are not what we thought that they would be.  They are not Captain Picard swiping on a tablet and getting access to all the information in the galaxy.

i) they are MOSTLY "just a .pdf online" and not even good implementations of the .pdf format because the .pdf format is non-free in terms of the "reader" for the .pdf.  If one has the full four hundred dollar app that the college has then one can somewhat interact with the document.  If one hast "the" reader, and there different readers, then one can bascally just "read" the .pdf, maybe copy and paste some text but that is about all.

ii) the ".pdf online" then has, fundamentally, two variations.  The actual .pdf that is downloadable to the computer and which is still "just a .pdf" to a student.

iii) the ".pdf online" that literally has to be accessed through a portal at a college or whatever, in other words, one has be online to view it.


b)  There was ONE ( 1 ) that truely was an attempt at what we see with Capt. Picard.  It was made by a professor and volunteer students and really did have "external links".  But....it was only partially complete and would never be completed because the professor and students were exhausted.  A lot of "open" stuff is done by a community, they community is enthusiastic, nobody else is enthusiastic.  if the community is not large enough the project can just....die a dwindling death because of the sheer volume of work.


HOWEVER....even this one was not what we think about.


Because the "links"...............DIE.....


It is a continual exercise in maintaining links that are:

a) the "original" information

b) have not been sold off to another entitity

c) have not been altered by someone with an agenda to where there is "buried" stuff or "obvious" stuff.


What about Wikipedia(tm)?


Please look at the SECOND TAB at the top of Wikipedia.  It is all of the discussions, and argments, and heated throwing of expletives etc. etc. etc.


Wikipedia is not reliable except for very MAJOR  or very MINOR ideas.

a) The cell is a continually changing page because the latest information changes.

b) well what about "a rock"...well "a rock" page will be stable for a "time" but how long is that time?


So what it devolves to is this.


A) If the college does go to a digitial book embedded in Canvas it will probably be the "digital version" of our present textbooks which are.


Just a book on a computer on a tablet.


Not interactive and dfinitely without JUMPLINKS in the book because...


JUMPLINKS require..... a certain "reader" and the readers are either:

a) "free" which a book publishing company certainly does not want

b) a "closed" reader which the company definitely wants and which will have THEIR unique "things" as opposed to THAT company......buy our stuff.


B) also.... what about Canvas as an app?

i) how would the Canvas team adapt the app to.....THIS or THAT company's version of a book?  PDF?  HTML? "MOBI"(tm)? KINDLE(tm)

ii) How will the TEACHER ADAPT....here is a real world problem.  I have a Surface(tm) tablet.  But....i cannot "drag" modules in modules because the whole screen moves with the finger drag.  Apparently, to actually interact with the modules to reorder them I would need a "pen'


Does the student need a pen in addition to the tablet?

Does the instructor need a pen in addition to the tablet?  OR....will the teacher constantly be having to "do the draggy stuff" on a tower with mouse and then go back to the tablet/


So.............given the above.....


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS about "your college or school" moving a textbook onto Canvas?