Subject matter experts, open resources and a new educator platform.
GUEST COLUMN | by Ariel Diaz
My company opened its doors two years ago on the premise that students pay too much for textbooks, especially when there are so many other free and low-cost resources available online. We began writing our own digital alternatives to traditional textbooks by leveraging subject matter experts and open resources. The result has been outstanding. More than two million learners access our content each month and we’ve published books in more than 20 subjects. Now my company, Boundless, is focused on going beyond students, helping their professors benefit from our content with a free platform specifically designed for educators.
The goal of our new teaching platform is to move beyond just the textbook, creating quality digital tools that are better than current methods. That’s why it’s designed for simplicity and ease of use. The platform allows professors to assign – or even customize – a textbook for their class, manage the class with interactive tools and access free teaching aids that accompany the text. Here’s how it works:
- Choose a textbook and customize as you please. Professors can choose from Boundless textbooks in 21 subjects. They can also align Boundless books to popular textbooks on the market. If educators have a specific order they prefer to teach their class, they can click and drag chapters to make them follow an order that’s right for their students.
- Manage your class and know where students stand. One of the most common pain points for educators is that until exams and quizzes are completed, they really don’t know if students are doing the homework or working through the reading material. Boundless’ simple dashboard allows professors to create assignments and track student progress, before it’s too late to help.
- Use Boundless PowerPoint and PDF teaching slides. Boundless gives educators access to the teaching materials they need to help make lectures come alive. Educators can use pre-built lecture slides in PowerPoint or PDF, ready for immediate use, custom tailoring, or sharing with colleagues.
Just as students crave alternatives to expensive textbooks, professors are becoming increasingly sensitive to the cost burden their students face. At $19.99 per book, professors see ours as a natural solution.
“For many subjects at the introductory level, the content that students learn hasn’t fundamentally changed in decades. Yet textbook companies continue to charge premium prices,” says Dr. Gavin Buffington, professor and chair of the Department of Physics at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. “I’m using a Boundless textbook this semester in my Engineering Physics I class, and I’ve been impressed by the quality of content, as well as the company’s responsiveness to user comments and requests. We’re planning to use the book again in the spring and fall of 2014 — these new tools for educators will only enhance my ability to customize content, give assignments and interact with students on their progress in class.”
Educators interested in affordable, online textbooks for their classes should check out the Boundless Teaching Platform. Within minutes, you can assign a book to your class and customize it to your specific needs.
Ariel Diaz is the founder and CEO of Boundless. He is an experienced entrepreneur with an incredible passion for improving the educational landscape for generations to come. Before Boundless, Ariel co-founded YouCastr, an online video platform that enabled hundreds of high schools to broadcast and sell live sports and other events to parents and the community. In addition, Ariel founded a consumer web consulting company and worked in management consulting in Boston, MA. Ariel holds an A.B., B.E., and Masters of Engineering Management from Dartmouth College, speaks three languages, loves all things orange, and serves as President of the Dartmouth Boston Entrepreneur Network. Read his blog: Ariel-Diaz.com and find him on Twitter: @arieldiaz