Here at CompuScholar, we have years of experience with publishing both printed textbooks and online courses to teach tweens and teens computer programming. Based on customer demands and educational trends we've observed throughout the United States, we have recently stopped publishing new printed textbooks to focus exclusively on digital content. Why have we made this choice to shift from print to online courses?
In today's society, technical information changes quickly. How many of you would rely on a 6-year-old textbook to accurately describe what you are currently seeing on your computer screen? Odds are, your operating system, software applications, and the websites you visit have changed dramatically in six years' time. Although some subjects like math or history may not experience significant updates that often, even those topics can benefit from an interactive, online presentation.
Benefits of Online Courses Over Print
Some online courses are nothing more than e-book—think of a a simple PDF or single document that you might download and read on your Kindle or other e-reader. However, online delivery has far more potential that can be tapped. Our own online computer programming courses at CompuScholar are wrapped in a full Learning Management System (LMS) that provides
- integrated multi-media content
- automatically graded quizzes and tests
- a student account and separate teacher/parent account
These features can't be supported by a simple book, whether it's an e-book or a printed text.
CompuScholar works extensively with both public schools and the homeschool community. In both cases, the overwhelming trend has been towards digital content. In the last few years, all state-wide adoption cycles we've seen have required submissions of course material in digital or online formats with printed textbooks as an option. Our own students heavily favored the online courses once they became available.
For Situations When You Do Want Print
Certainly, there are some advantages to a printed textbook. If you own it (instead of a school) and don't want to re-sell it, then your student can write in the margins or highlight passages. Printed material may also simply be a more comfortable learning style, or you might not have the computer and Internet connection necessary to access online material. To compensate for these situations, most online systems (including CompuScholar's) will let you self-print parts of the lesson text that you want to see on paper.
We're certainly thrilled with our own online system, and expect to roll out new features and options on a regular basis. The educational trends we've seen at a state and local level suggest online learning is here to stay. We value your comments on what works for you and what can be made to work better, so don't hesitate to reach out with your feedback!