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Expert TA Blog

Textbook Mapping - One Way to “Break Free from the Bundle”

In a previous post, we discussed the reasons why bundled textbooks are a bad deal for students. These package solutions can seem like a great option because they often include supplemental material to assist in course preparation and pre-built assignments. The truth is, however, there are many downsides to the bundle, including the availability of textbook solutions online and the ever-increasing financial burden on students. For this post, we will discuss one way instructors are able to continue capitalizing on the advantages of online homework, while disconnecting from the bundle and ultimately saving their students money.

Textbook mapping, a feature available in the Expert TA system, allows instructors to view the problems in Expert TA’s independent library arranged in the specific chapter and section order of the textbook of their choice. By default, the problems in our system follow a similar structure to many of the most common introductory physics textbooks. There are, however, many instances where certain topics are covered in different chapters and sections from one book to the next. With textbook mapping in Expert TA, instructors have the ease of a bundled homework solution when selecting problems, but the flexibility of an independent library that also protects the integrity of problem solutions.

We’ve put together a breakdown of the most common textbook mappings across all users of Expert TA to give others an idea of how this feature is actually being utilized in the system.

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The OpenStax College Physics mapping continues to be one of our most popular. Since Expert TA offers all of the end-of-chapter problems from the text, this really is a best of both worlds type of scenario: having all the problems from the textbook available to select at a low cost to students, and a depth of comprehensive supplementary problems in the form of the Expert TA problem library. As long-time partners with OpenStax, we share their mission to reduce financial strain on students, and encourage you to consider their textbooks and comprehensive collection of course materials.

Have questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to sign up for regular updates, including more ways to save students money without compromising quality educational materials.


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Formed from the belief that a homework system should help instructors teach and students learn, Expert TA harnesses the power of technology to encourage practice during homework, while also giving meaningful feedback to both instructors and students. The Expert TA blog was created to serve as a hub of information to help educators track and discuss trends in education, software and student performance.

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