I think most people that read this site will be familiar with self-publication sites like LuLu.com. These are great for instructors that want to produce their own book and ditch the high-priced text books. But in the age of connectivism, content from instructors is shrinking as more teachers get on board with letting their students construct their own content. Monster textbooks are not only looking bad for our backs, but for social learning in general (in some cases). What is the Web2.0-enabled instructor to do?
Or what about getting your students to create a book of their own… what if they can’t get up to the minimum page limits at most self-publishing sites?
Now there is a new service from HP that lets you self-publish your own magazines called MagCloud. Instead of publishing course textbooks – why not create a course magazine? For around $10, you can probably included everything that a constructivism-savvy instructor needs. Or, get your students in on the fun – have then create a magazine for a course project instead of the same old boring paper.
The interface is pretty easy to use (even though creating the PDF with the correct settings gets to be a little more difficult due to the whole ’embed fonts’ thing). You can even preview how the final project will look after trimming and everything. All of this for 20 cents a page (minimum 24 pages). Shipping is around $1.40 in U.S., so the minimum cost is $6.80 for a 24-page magazine. But compare that to $100 or more for a textbook. So, put in your syllabus, load in the basic information and instructions for the activities for your course, and off you go with a great alternative to expensive textbooks.
But…. just make sure you watch out for those pesky copyright rules… especially if you add any mark-up to the price.
The New York Times has a good summary article about the service, also:
Do-It-Yourself Magazines, Cheaply Slick
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.