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All Mainstream Textbook Publisher Digital Offerings Are Vendor Lockin Scams

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Prompted largely because of: Pearson ends regular revisions of print textbooks for college students in digital push - CBS News

Pearson is one of the worst offendors in my opinion.

What all the major textbook publisher’s do ontop of selling you a DRM encumbered eBook that self destructs, and is compartmentalized in their proprietary web app with no easy export option; is also selling your instructor a package of modules for their LMS. Its basically a canned course that matches the textbook the instructor doesnt have to think about. They can deploy it in three clicks.

The trick is these canned courses, also have you leave your university’s learning management system and all class content is owned and hosted by the textbook publisher. They phone your grades back into the local LMS but none of the content.

  • Have a grade dispute? Your course content may not be retrievable by the university’s IT department because the university never have it.
  • Are you an instructor wanting to change textbooks? You can’t without rebuilding your entire course from scratch.
  • As an instructor your pay may also be linked to the number of courses you teach, so if you insist on hand building your courses; you will likely teach fewer courses than your peers who are just rolling out canned courses and theyll make more money than you for less work.
  • Did you pay for your textbook and somehow that payment isn’t linked to your university identity? Have fun navigating the outsourced overwork call center at the peak of their call season. Your university IT department can’t help you. You might have to pay for your $100 textbook a second time. ( Ive personally met students who spent weeks in limbo because of this ).
  • Did you know many cloud services that tie into a LMS reserve the right to scrap data off the papers you upload?
  • Welcome to a security nightmare. Many textbook publishers are now asking LMS administrators to setup plugins in the LMS that grant publishers to add additional arbitrary plugins to the LMS with any permission at later times.
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