Pointers, guidance and ideas to help teachers access and use the e-books for FE service
This is the collection of top tips for teaching practitioners, crafted by Jisc with insights from member’s experiences.
If you have checked out these, our guides; but still need more information or want to request tips or guides to be uploaded, please contact email@example.com with full details of your query and we will try our best to help.
Embed e-books from the start of the year
The best way to make e-books for FE part of the curriculum is to embed them into teaching and learning from the start of the academic year. Embedding hyperlinks to the relevant e-books into VLEs, digital resources and PowerPoints requires upfront preparation. However, if you take the time then learners will use the e-books as an integral part of their studies throughout the academic year.
Include e-books into your virtual learning environment (VLE)
One way to embed e-books into teaching and learning is by including them in the VLE for your subject area where your reading lists are stored. The books can be inserted as links so that your learners can easily locate them with the click of a button. If you are unsure about how to do this, ask your LRC Manager or digital leader.
It is important for learners to be prepared for further study or the workplace during their time in FE. One way that teaching practitioners can help learners to become more independent is through flipped learning, and our e-books are a fantastic resource to support this. Rather than spending half of a lesson teaching a subject, you could set learners the task of reading the relevant section of the e-book prior to class. Then, lesson time can be spent opening discussions around the subject and clarifying misconceptions; you have more valuable time in lessons to teach effectively, and learners to become more independent.
Example: Edexcel A Level Chemistry learner Book 1
Use e-books in class
Did you know that e-books for FE can be accessed on mobile devices, as well as on computers? If your subject is reliant upon a physical textbook in the classroom, try using the e-book instead. This is an easy way of familiarising learners with how to access the online resources and ensuring they are making use of these valuable resources. By allowing learners to access the resources on their own devices, or devices available in the classroom, they will become more confident with how to access them when studying independently. They can even bookmark the relevant e-books, so that they can easily locate them when not in the classroom. This can have the additional benefit of keeping expensive physical textbooks in good condition, and learners won’t have to share textbooks.
Improve learners’ information literacy
In the age of the internet, learners can access information from a range of resources. Whilst opening realms of new information to learners, when it comes to their education, not all learners are equipped with the necessary information literacy skills needed in order to discern between types of information. Learners might google ‘psychology revision’ and be faced with a range of resources, for examples blogs written by teaching practitioners and former learners. Whilst these can be helpful, they do not always provide the information that learners need for their exam board. With e-books for FE, you can be certain that your learners are accessing high quality, reliable, academic information that is tailored to their required exam board, and often endorsed by the exam board too.
Save time on making revision resources
We understand how precious time is for teaching practitioners. With e-books for FE, you can maximise your time spent teaching and supporting learners, and minimise time spent creating resources that are already available for you. We recommend taking some time at the start of each term to look through the e-books that are relevant to your subject and exam board, and thinking about what you could use, rather than create. Did you know that our e-books can be downloaded and printed as PDF documents? Rather than wasting time creating homework resources, you could simply print the pages from the e-books which feature practice questions. Marking time could be sped up by displaying the answers in class and utilising peer marking, meaning there is more time in the lesson for valuable teaching, discussion, and clarifying misconceptions.
Example: National 5 Maths With Answers
Create simple posters for the classroom
Posters can be created to give learners a visual guide to the e-books that are available for each subject. These can be as simple as an A3 poster featuring the cover images of the relevant titles for your department, and instructions on how to access them. These could be displayed at the front of the classroom or by the door, to ensure they are visible to learners.
Direct learners to further reading
If your learners have access to PowerPoints used in class, these can be a valuable way of ensuring learners are able to access the relevant e-books easily. For example, a slide at the end of each lesson could direct learners to the relevant supporting title, and even which page from the e-book is relevant to that lesson. When learners come to revise for the subject, they will know exactly where to find high quality revision materials.
Keep track of where you have embedded e-books
Our service is subject to an annual review of e-books usage, to ensure that our e-books are useful and relevant. This means that from time to time, a book may be removed from the service. Most of our e-books are purchased on a three-year licence (excluding GCSE English and maths which are licenced for 5 years) meaning that their licence will eventually run out, and they will be replaced with either the same title but a newer version, or a similar version of the same book. It is important to keep track of where you have embedded e-books, such as the VLE and PowerPoints, so that you can easily go back to your files and edit the links. This will not happen regularly, and you will be updated of any changes to the e-book collection.
Join the mailing list
The best way to stay up-to-date with e-books for FE is to join the mailing list. This will allow you to receive our monthly newsletter which will be packed with advice for promoting e-books for FE and user stories of things that have worked well. This is where you can be kept abreast of developments to the service, such as books that are coming out of licence, as well as new additions to the collections. We hope to create a community of best practice, where users can share success stories as well as any resources that have been created to support e-books for FE. For details on how to stay in touch and to sign up to the mailing list, please visit our JiscMail guide.