Principles of Biology, an Interactive Textbook

Principles of BiologyNature Education is set to release its first completely digital, interactive textbook titled Principles of Biology.  It isn’t just an EPUB or PDF version of a print book, but a completely native collection of 200 modules “combining textual instruction, high quality figures, simulations, interactive exercises, self-tests, and formal tests”.  Neither will the book be frozen in its content; Nature Education will make periodic revisions to keep the text up-to-date.  The purchase includes “lifetime access”.

The textbook isn’t an app, but more like a website built with Flash and HTML5 to provide interactivity.

According to the announcement from Nature Education:

As the first major textbook designed specifically for the digital world, Principles of Biology takes full advantage of the many benefits of the digital medium.

    • Integrated Learning Each module integrates text, high quality figures, interactive exercises, simulations, video, and assessments into a single, rich flow of learning for the student.
    • Customization Instructors can easily customize Principles of Biology by rearranging or deleting any of the 200 modules, adding their own material, and turning on and off particular sections within the modules.
    • Anytime, Everywhere Access All content in Principles of Biology is fully accessible on desktop and laptop computers, mobile phones, and tablet computers, ensuring that you and your students can take advantage of the material wherever you are.
    • Real-time Gradebook Each of the 200 modules in Principles of Biology concludes with a multiple-choice online test of key concepts covered. The results from this test feed automatically into a gradebook, allowing instructors to track how their class as a whole is grasping the material … down the level of individual questions and learning objectives.

This ebook model will pose challenges to current ereaders.  Libraries will need to figure out how to catalog and provide access to dynamic electronic materials like this.