168 The AMS WebBook: Presenting Content in an Easier to Use Format

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
James A. Brey, AMS, Washington, DC; and W. Abshire, I. W. Geer, E. W. Mills, K. A. Nugnes, A. E. Stimach, B. A. Blair, R. S. Weinbeck, and K. L. O'Neill

For twenty years, the AMS Education Program has been developing online educational materials in weather, water, and climate for K-12 teacher professional development and undergraduate class use. AMS was on the forefront in the mid-1990s with the use of web information and tools for Earth system science education and continues to be today. AMS focuses on incorporating real world and near-real time data, and web resources into course investigations.

Throughout the past few years, the Education Program has been transitioning from printed textbooks to eBooks in order to lower costs, increase versatility, and be more environmentally conscious. However, these eBooks, in ePUB format, had limitations, especially when used in a lab setting. To address these and other limitations, AMS now offers its eBooks in webBook format.

Accessible anywhere with internet access, webBooks can be read with any web browser. The webBooks contain the same content as the ePUBs, but are much easier to use and no longer a hurdle to access. They contain dynamic web-based features that bring the content to life and encourage additional exploration of various concepts. For example, course textbook “Topics in Depth”, or TIDs, allow users to explore concepts or new research that expand the chapter narrative or illustrate concepts in video form. These topics can be accessed by a touch or click and since they open only if the user wishes, they do not distract from the flow of the chapter.

The webBooks are easy to navigate since the table of contents is hyperlinked and there are many personalization features, including adjustable background color and text size, highlighting, notetaking, and searchable content.

Ocean Studies, Weather Studies, Our Changing Climate, Living with Our Changing Climate and the accompanying investigations manuals are all available in webBook format. Faculty will be surveyed in fall 2016 on their experience using the new course materials.

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