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These Professors Tried Zondervan’s Enhanced Edition Textbooks—Here’s What They Think

Categories Ministry Christian Education

For educators it’s a time of challenge and innovation. For theology and biblical studies classes, Zondervan’s new Enhanced Editions do more than help you meet today's challenges. They push the envelope of what instructors and students should expect from a course textbook.

Educators are enthusiastic about the ways Enhanced Editions allow them to guide students through their required reading. These upgraded digital textbooks augment course content with video lectures from the authors and incredible customization options. Instructors can add notes, tailor quizzes and reflection questions to their students’ needs, and use analytics tools to assess student progress and comprehension.

Students can highlight and write notes in the text, which they can export later for study. They can also use Cerego’s adaptive learning platform for self-assessment to ensure they retain everything they read.

And students don’t have to pay anything extra to benefit from these features—Enhanced Editions cost the same as a print textbook.

What are professors saying?

As we’ve rolled out Enhanced Editions, professors have been beta testing them in the classroom. Here’s what they’ve had to say.

They’re ahead of the curve

"With schools rapidly moving towards more online offerings, Zondervan's Enhanced Editions of textbooks is keeping them ahead of the curve, with textbook supporting tools like reflection questions, highlights, surveys, and much more." —Mark L. Strauss, University Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary of Bethel University.

As education becomes increasingly digital and classes include more online elements, instructors need to keep their finger on the pulse of the student experience. Are students staying engaged? Are they understanding and retaining the information they’re taking in?

Enhanced Editions equip educators to stay connected to students, even when they can’t physically be in class. On the front end, professors can highlight passages and leave notes to guide students through the content. But they’re also able to adapt the in-text quizzes and reflection questions (or create their own) to ensure students are grasping the material.

They improve online discussions

The COVID-19 pandemic put a marked strain on educators. All of a sudden, instructors were forced into a situation that put their current tools to the test. Traditional textbooks make sense when it’s easy to connect with students face-to-face. But in a distance learning situation, students don’t have the same opportunities to seek help and get the support they need.

Fortunately, some professors were testing Enhanced Editions when quarantine went into effect—and they found that the extra teaching tools helped mitigate the problems of shifting to online classes:

“I am pleased to recommend Enhanced Editions by Zondervan Academic. I ran a pilot project during the spring semester of 2020. We used a paper copy of the textbook, Grasping God's Word, during the first half of the semester. We had just begun the pilot of the enhanced textbook when students were sent home, and teaching switched to online forms because of the pandemic.

"I was able to augment the loss of personal face-to-face time using the enhanced textbook because I could highlight and annotate readings in advance. As a result, our more limited online discussions began at a higher level and so we could arrive at the planned outcomes for the session even though the class participants were scattered across the country and were interacting remotely. I look forward to using Enhanced Editions again next spring when we are more experienced with using technology to teach in challenging times.” —Mark Schuler, Professor of Theology, Greek, and Archaeology, Concordia University, St. Paul.

As Schuler points out, Enhanced Editions allow instructors to highlight and annotate the text ahead of time. It’s like they’re guiding students through the text: pointing out landmarks, calling attention to potential hazards, and helping them see the big picture. So when students gather for online discussions, they’re much better prepared.

Prepare students to succeed

Zondervan’s Enhanced Editions puts my students in a better place to succeed because it seamlessly combines top-quality textbook content with videos, reflection questions (asked at just the right moment in the text), study helps, and self-quizzes.

I can also add my own comments and notes within the book, like I might if I were handing out a photocopy of a chapter or article. Zondervan’s Enhanced Editions helps me give my students the best guidance in how to focus their attention while preparing for our time together in class.” —Jacob Shatzer, Associate Professor of Theological Studies and Associate Dean in the School of Theology & Missions, Union University; Director of Content, BibleMesh.

The thing that makes Enhanced Editions so valuable is that the features are there to amplify the original content—but the text is still the focus. The videos from the textbook authors elucidate the text; they don’t replace it. Tools that allow instructors to make comments in the text, customize or create in-text quizzes and reflection questions, and analytics that help instructors gauge students’ progress all help bridge the gap between the text and the instructor’s goals.

Enhance the classroom

“Given the current climate and changes underway in education, Zondervan’s new Enhanced Editions could not become available at a better time. For both online and traditional on-campus teaching, the Enhanced ereader is more than a digital books platform.

"It’s a tool that customizes and integrates my assigned textbooks with my course syllabus, lecture notes, assessment material, personal comments and highlights, and supplementary media. It's literally like having my students read the book over my shoulder with all the opportunities for integrating other technologies and media. It’s the next step in pedagogy, especially for theological education. The customization for professors and connectivity for students doesn’t just enhance the textbooks, it enhances the classroom!” —Benjamin T. Quinn, Assistant Professor of Theology and History of Ideas, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness for the College at Southeastern; Academic Director, Biblemesh Institute.

Dr. Quinn calls Enhanced Editions “the next step in pedagogy,” and that’s an apt description. Ebooks help make books more accessible and libraries more portable, but they're not game-changers when it comes to education. But when a professor can supplement the text with their own notes and instructions, education is elevated.

Enhanced Editions aren’t merely a new way for students to access their textbook. They’re powerful tools for helping them get the most out of the content and excel in class.

Try Enhanced Editions free for six weeks

Professors recognize the potential of Enhanced Editions, but don’t just take their word for it. Try Enhanced Editions free for six weeks. Tell us about your class, choose the texts you want to use, and see the difference for yourself.

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