20 Million Minds Foundation Offers Free Sociology Book Highlight-Ready for Fall

Aug 16, 2012, 03:00 ET from 20 Million Minds Foundation

New Social Highlighter Tool Announced

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM) and Highlighter.com, dedicated to reducing the cost of textbooks while increasing student engagement in the classroom, have partnered to produce a book for the upcoming Fall term.

Introduction to Sociology, the first student-faculty interactive textbook enhances student learning, allows students to highlight, annotate, comment, share and save portions of text for note-taking and referencing. The tool also allows faculty to publish free textbooks and other course materials through the HTML5 Reader while receiving analyses of the student learning experience with Highlighter.com's tracking feature, showing which sections students find most interesting or where students might need further explanation and assistance.

"We are thrilled about this collaboration. By implementing Highlighter's publishing platform in our Introduction to Sociology textbook students can enjoy the "social highlighting" experience with the capability to comment, question, share, and interact with the materials in a virtual classroom forum," said Dean Florez, former California State Senator and President of the 20 Million Minds Foundation."Students can also be grouped into smaller study groups which allows for greater peer interaction. The simplicity of Highlighter functions make it easy to use with all comments contextualized around the content."

Highlights and comments can be made on PDF, ePUB, Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Instant messaging and posts on Facebook and Twitter show how many students are "talking to each other" and 20MM recognizes that embedding these discussions into one learning environment will provide for a better experience for both students and instructors.  

"Instructors alike will be able to engage with 'real time' student commentary and evaluate student engagement," said Josh Mullineaux, CEO and co-founder of Highlighter.com. "Each instructor's Highlighter account will allow them to view student progress using a range of course analytic tools to promote increased student comprehension, including quantifying student commentary and responses. We are excited to partner with a company that fully understands the cost crisis in higher education, as well as the quality crisis with OER textbooks. With the integration of Highlighter into 20MM's high-quality Sociology book, faculty and students will enjoy enhanced-OER teaching and learning experiences."

The adoption of the Highlighter interactive social tool by faculty at institutions including Clemson University, California State University at Northridge, Highline Community College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Syracuse University, University of Berkeley, University of Notre Dame, and University of Colorado, has resulted in enhanced and improved student experiences and learning outcomes. 

"Highlighter has been a great addition to our teaching and learning materials," said Melanie Cooper, a chemistry professor at Clemson University. "The ability to have students read and comment on the text and answer each other's questions is invaluable."

"Students are engaging with the course material in a way that is different than before. Since I implemented Highlighter Groups into my curriculum, students are coming to class knowing more than they knew previously," said Michael Klymkowsky, a Biofundamentals Professor at the University of Colorado's Bioscience Department.

Since the Introduction to Sociology book was made available on OpenStax College, it has been viewed more by more than 10,000 users.

Access the free 20MM Highlighter-ready book: www.20mm.org/OER.html.

20 Million Minds is a non-profit organization dedicated to greatly reducing textbook costs. The foundation is currently leveraging leading-edge technologies to create more affordable, engaging and effective educational materials for college students throughout the nation. For more information about the organization, log onto 20mm.org.

Highlighter.com is an Education publishing platform aimed at drastically reducing the cost of textbooks and course material while increasing student success by leveraging powerful and actionable analytics and student data. 

CONTACT: Beryl Chong, Communications Director
20 Million Minds Foundation 916.442.9300

SOURCE 20 Million Minds Foundation