87th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 16 January 2007: 5:00 PM
On-line meteorology textbooks for survey course on extreme weather
206B (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Perry J. Samson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and C. D. Ahrens
A recent survey of college students enrolled in a large survey level course at the University of Michigan found that about 50% of respondents were open to switching from a physical textbook to an on-line version, particularly if this led to a significant reduction in cost. A review of the available on-line titles however suggest that most “on-line” textbooks do not take advantage of the capabilities of the Internet and tend to be compilations of publishers' textbook chapters as PDF files. So what then would make an effective on-line textbook?

Motivated by an interest in how to present scientific information to a non-scientific audience this paper ruminates on what characteristics would be desirable to make on-line meteorology textbooks an attractive alternative to physical textbooks. Based on these ruminations a prototype on-line textbook system has been created (http://www.xamprep.com/) using content supplied by Thomson Learning. This presentation demonstrates this system and reports on lessons learned from the first year of trials.

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