8 Ways to Customize Your Flat World Text

We know your course is unique, just like your teaching style. So why should you feel trapped into assigning a cookie-cutter textbook?

Our catalog is full of options for those who prefer the book off the shelf, but you can also customize all of Flat World’s learning content into a textbook that your students will be able to read in the print or digital formats they prefer.

1. Start with the syllabus.

Keep all your important course documents in one place that is easy for your students to access. You can add your syllabus as a separate chapter with the text copied and pasted into the book, or insert it as a Word document or PDF attachment.

2. Rearrange chapters.

Structure your textbook the same way you prefer to structure your course. Our editor tool allows you to reorganize chapters and their sections by dragging and dropping from the icon to the left of the chapter title. The numbering will automatically be reordered.


3. Add, rename, or remove chapters.

Additional options for restructuring your textbook are available by clicking the menu to the right of the chapter title. These choices are also available for each section of a chapter.


4. Merge content from two or more texts.

If you have a course with a unique focus, you may use content from multiple Flat World texts or any material you collect from open educational resources (OER) or that is otherwise available through Creative Commons licensing.

5. Shoutout to your students.

When you select “Insert Content” anywhere in your text, select the “Callout” option to make a customized information box. Make important reminders about the focus of your course or add other notes and content for your students. Homework assignments and thoughtful questions can also be added using “Exercises” from the same menu.


6. Insert engaging videos.

Your students will be able to watch them within our online reader. The links will also be available to follow for students who are reading a downloaded or print copy of your textbook. From the “Insert Content” menu, select “Video” to copy and paste the URL of any video content you would like to include.


7. Create keywords.

Help your students study by emphasizing important concepts as keywords. Simply highlight a word or phrase and click “Keyword” from the text formatting options at the top of the page. Then type and save a definition:

AddKeyword copy

Your students will be able to read your definition by hovering over the word in the text (in the online version) or from a sidebar on the page (in the print version). It will also be added to the digital flashcards they can review from the online version of your textbook.


8. Think locally.

Take note of news stories that run in your campus paper and other local publications that relate to your course. You can quote or link to the articles as case studies and bring familiarity to a new concept.


Your Learning Content Adoption Consultant can help guide you through any of these customizations. Request a desk copy and let us know how we can assist by calling 1-877-257-9243. We look forward to helping you create successful learning outcomes!

3 Ways to Connect with Online Students

Lack of interpersonal communication is a frequent concern in distance learning, because a student’s chance at success can be negatively affected if they feel isolated in their pursuit. Here are three strategies professors can use to build strong connections:


  • Make your own videos. If you want your students to feel a more personal connection, consider taking the time to accompany study units with short video clips. You can also record a screencast as a tutorial of a process you are teaching. Concise, thoughtful 3-5 minute segments hold viewer’s attention and they are also relatively easy to access from mobile learning devices. There are free tools like Screencast-O-Matic that also allow you to upgrade for video-editing and the ability to record longer movies (perhaps for a recorded interview with an expert in the field).
  • Enable students to work together. Although adult learners achieve best when able to work autonomously, there may be some instances where you find collaboration a preferable strategy. To help students effectively work together on a large research project or a communications exercise, share access to documents, slideshows, or spreadsheets through Google Drive. The platform automatically saves any changes, so learners can continue to progress asynchronously and see their peers’ updates in real time. Additionally, students can leave notes to recommend revisions to each other or connect their ideas.
  • Find creative ways to build social media interaction. Many MOOCs and a growing amount of traditional college courses share a unique course hashtag in the syllabus. As an instructor, you could use a hashtag to tweet assignment reminders and encourage students to answer each other’s questions. More structured discussions can also happen through a LinkedIn group. Students can reflect on the lesson objectives in a closed message board while also practicing their networking skills. These exercises may also form connections that carry on past the end of the course.

The emerging segment of nontraditional learners balance multiple responsibilities, frequently intermittent study sessions, and the need to feel personal meaning to motivate their learning. Exploring new strategies to address their challenges in higher education will support more opportunities available for student success.

What creative ways have you connected in the virtual classroom?

Image credit:  “Teaching Online” by Bluefield College, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Why Aren’t My Students Buying the Textbook?

Professors do so many wonderful things for students, including crafting lesson plans, writing recommendations, and holding office hours every week. When you make the additional effort to review multiple titles and find the perfect fit for your course, it can be disappointing to realize only a handful of your students are doing the readings.

We’ve learned that students are more engaged when their textbooks include relevant, real-world content. Here are four of the primary challenges we’ve designed solutions for:

1. “It’s too expensive!”
Textbook costs have risen 945 percent since 1978, finds the American Enterprise Institute. After covering tuition, rent, and all the other necessary expenses of attending college, being able to afford textbooks is a real issue for many students. In fact, a recent study by Student PIRGs found that 65 percent of students forgo buying at least one textbook due to being too expensive, even though nearly all of them were concerned that choice would hurt their grade.

Flat World has worked hard to keep our titles priced affordably, starting at just $24 for all one-volume books. In addition to being available through our online catalog, we also provide access codes that students can purchase using their financial aid at the campus bookstore.

2. “I have to pay more for the study tools?!”
As if the book cost alone wasn’t enough, some publishers use digital add-ons to generate extra revenue. Not at Flat World.

Students can tag, take notes, and color-code important material as they read. When it’s test time, our platform allows them to toggle to study mode. This is a unique feature where all their notes for each chapter are paired with key information for review. Many of our titles also include a combination of flashcards, self-assessments, and test questions for import to your LMS — all at no additional cost.

3. “This book is out of date.”
When was the last time you looked for an updated text? While we never force instructors to use new editions, your students may find more value in timely titles. Our peer-viewed texts are updated regularly by authors who are experts in their fields.

We know many professors have a flair for writing too, which is why every title in our catalog can be customized for your course. Add, edit, and rearrange any content to better fit your focus.

4. “I don’t have time to go to the bookstore!”
72 percent of students are in the workforce full- or part-time. 26 percent have children and 34 percent are 25 years or older, finds the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The traditional needs of students are changing, and we’re meeting them with nontraditional solutions.

Is your campus bookstore bound to restrictive hours of operation? Your course will have a unique URL that students can use to access a digital version of the text on any device immediately after purchase. And for those who prefer print, they can order a physical copy to arrive on their doorstep in 10 days or less.

Are you ready to engage more students with a flexible, refreshing textbook? Browse our catalog and request a complimentary review copy! flat-world-textbook-students


3 Ways to Hack Your Study Time

College students are busy these days. Seriously busy, balancing more extracurriculars, work, and family obligations than previous generations of students. And don’t forget — you still need to study for class! Get the most out of your study time by taking advantage of these research-proven learning strategies.

  1. Switch up your study spot. Break out of your dorm room or that cozy corner of the library! Studying in different locations allows your brain to make more random, deeper connections to the material that can trigger reminders during a test. If you don’t feel like taking a campus tour, you can introduce unfamiliar elements by spraying an exciting scent or chewing a crazy new flavor of gum.
  2. Space out your study time. You’ve probably heard (or learned the hard way) that cramming the night before an exam is not the most effective way to prepare for a final. But how should you optimize study time to absorb and truly learn information? Check out the chart below to plan your sessions:
  3. Pre-test yourself. Before you do anything else for a new class, give yourself a pre-test. It might sound intimidating for new material, but this exercise will give you an idea of how much you understand the objectives and put you on the look out when they arise in the text or your lecture. Flat World books have self-assessment quizzes you can take for each chapter. Another great idea is to Google “site:edu [insert subject name] exam” to find tests other professors have given their students in your course.

Try out some of these strategies for the new semester, and see how much more confident you are in class. Learn on!