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2016

When my daughter earns screen time, her favorite thing to watch (lately) is clips from The Ellen Show. I monitor them to make sure they are appropriate, and she watched this excellent one this morning about a young man named Ezra Frech that I really liked and thought I should share. Enjoy! Incredible Young Man Ezra Frech - YouTube 

This week I was talking to Brenda Leady, a lovely professor of biology at the University of Toledo. She mentioned that when she first started using LaunchPad, she didn't use LearningCurve. She found the fact that she, a self-admitted control freak, couldn't control the precise topics or number of questions in each LearningCurve assignment to be a negative, so she didn't assign it. She changed her mind, however, when her students told her that they were using and really liking LearningCurve, even though she hadn't assigned it. So now she assigns it, and is very happy with how it is working to prepare students for class. If you use LearningCurve, there is a lovely new (short) video to help your students learn how to use it to help them succeed. Or, to learn more about how Brenda Leady, and others, use LaunchPad, sign up for our Peer-Led Webinars.

Just a reminder as classes get started and students familiarize themselves with Achieve and Sapling and LaunchPad (and LaunchPad Solo and Writer's Help) that you ARE NOT tech support for your students. Macmillan has a lovely tech support team in Orlando, FL waiting to help your students. The agents are good, nice, and fast--and they have quick answers to lots of the typical problems that students encounter at the beginning of the semester. So encourage your students to use Macmillan Tech Support and they won't use you. They can be contacted via email and phone, once you fill out the support form. (And don't forget that they can help instructors too!)

Many students will balk at the suggestion of using an online learning system like LaunchPad, even if it has great study tools that will help them to pass their courses. Though LaunchPad is proven to help students in preparing for lectures, reviewing the material, and studying for exams, it can be difficult to imagine the results until you’ve actually had an opportunity to get your hands dirty.

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A professor’s best friend: the delayed payment option!

 

Giving students 21 days of free access to a course opens up many more opportunities for instructors to demonstrate the efficacy of online materials despite student hesitations. LaunchPad’s temporary access is the solution to many common technology buy-in problems:

 

Activation Code Mistakes. If a student has misplaced their code or is having trouble getting registered for the course, they can activate temporary access and avoid stress at the start of the semester.

 

Waiting On Financial Aid. Students often have to wait to buy books until school funding is processed and distributed. 21 days of free access allows them to keep up with their assignments and use the e-Book in LaunchPad until they can pay for materials.

 

Testing a Digital-Only Approach. LaunchPads that come with an e-Book are a cost-effective way to save money by foregoing a physical textbook for online-only resources. Students can use trial access to see if a digital-only textbook solution works for them or whether they would prefer to buy a textbook and LaunchPad package from the bookstore.

 

Delayed Course Commitment. Trial LaunchPad access is great for students who aren’t sure if they’ll be dropping a class. It allows them to get the full experience of the course by attempting assignments and interacting with the textbook without the financial commitment of acquiring the physical book.

 

Temporary access can make the start of a new semester less stressful for professors and students alike. Students can dive into their new courses without falling behind and professors can enjoy a more prepared and engaged class.

Lynette L

User Guide?

Posted by Lynette L Moderator Jan 13, 2016

Welcome to Help Yourself! A new blog by me, Lynette Ledoux, Senior Manager of Self-Help. Please use the comments to dig in!

 

LaunchPad user guide

 

I was recently dismayed to hear from one of our top technical support agents that most of the instructors he speaks to don’t know that we have a large collection of help articles and videos that one can access through the Help menu in one’s LaunchPad title, not to mention through our Macmillan Learning Web site or by direct URL pasted into, say, an email from a sales representative. Hearing my disappointment, the agent assured me that, when he points out the help site to instructors, they respond positively and are excited to have a searchable repository at their fingertips.

 

My question for you, then, is “Did you know?” And if not, why not? Is the Help menu not obvious, or maybe it’s uninspiring? Have you thought of clicking on it? Have you needed to click on it?

 

For those of you who have used the self-help resources we provide, what did you think of them? Did you find what you were looking for? Were the resources adequate? Would you like to see more or different things?

 

I want our Self-Help experience to be as easy and satisfying as reaching for another helping of your favorite dish. It’s right there in front you. All you have to do is spin the lazy Susan and grab a spoon.

I'm a Macmillan Learning rep and I really enjoy empowering professors and students with our digital tools. Throughout the LaunchPad implementation process at any institution, I listen to what my professors need, pluck out the core questions, and find the answers. One common question is this: "How do I communicate with my students around LaunchPad in order to make it most effective?"


In response, I compiled this document: LaunchPad Tips and Syllabus Snips Final Version.docx  The syllabus was originally crafted by two creative individuals, Professor Toni Henderson and her representative, Jennifer Cawsey. It has been helpful for both current and prospective LaunchPad adopters and I hope it will be helpful for you!

Recently my family went to an amusement park targeted at younger (ages 2-12) kids. At the swings--the ones that the kids get on and then the machine lifts them up in the air and spins them out--there was a mom who was checking to make sure the staff understood that her child, a young boy with some special needs, needed the directions about how to stop the ride if he started to panic. She was visibly nervous, but as the ride started, the kid was clearly loving he. He was smiling, wiggling around, and checking out everyone else. When I looked at the mom, she had tears in her eyes. It's interesting in a society where so many kids are asking for, or being given, so much 'stuff,' how such a basic experience of a swing can make a child--and his mom--so happy. It really is all about the little things.

As we begin 2016, we want to make sure you are all ready for classes. So just a reminder of a few things:

  1. If we asked you to make a NEW course for January (not copy), then please be sure to do that.
  2. If you copied your course from the fall, make sure you update your assignment due dates before you activate your course.
  3. If you need a refresher on LaunchPad, check out our training resources.
  4. If you need First Day of Class tools (slides or documents), check out the resources on our FDOC page.

 

If you have any questions, just let us know. And Happy New Year!