A tool for a professor-centered edtech world.

7 01 2013

This one’s for all the historians out there, and perhaps all my readers who still think I’m a Luddite. Because this where I want to tell you about something I’ve been working on and see if any of you out there want to help.

I’ve mentioned Milestone Documents here many times before. A few years ago, when I decided to teach my American survey class without a textbook I started using their service as a replacement. For a $20 semester long subscription, students get access to a wide variety of online primary sources, all well-introduced and edited down to a size that most college freshman will actually read. What I like most about teaching this way is that my assigned reading perfectly compliments what I actually teach. I just go down their list of documents and link to each one I want students read on my syllabus.

While I was delighted to ditch my textbook, a lot of other professors have been reluctant to do so. Therefore, Milestone Documents has begun the process of putting together secondary materials of their own, something they are calling a “textbook layer.” However, this one will be like no other textbook available. It’s going to be written in discrete pieces, like their documents collection. That way professors can assign the parts of the book they teach, and ignore the ones that they don’t. Of course, those pieces will be organized by themes. The professors who assign them will be able to pick not only the parts of the textbook that they teach, but the appropriate primary sources too. Best of all, access to the textbook layer and the original Milestone Documents will cost only $30 per student per semester, just $10 more than access to Milestone Documents by itself.

I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the US History II textbook subject area and need help on two fronts: Milestone Docs needs authors to write the individual textbook entries and review board editors to help make the whole thing coherent. Indeed, while I’ve been calling this a textbook, from an editorial standpoint this process will bear a greater resemblance to a big encyclopedia. Since I’m not the employer I can’t talk payment rates, but I can assure you that compensation for authors and editors will be competitive with other encyclopedia projects out there.

So if you specialize in post-1877 US History and are interested in joining us, e-mail a cv and short note to me at the address at right and cc it to Neil Schlager, CEO of Milestone Documents (Neil [at] milestonedocuments.com). With respect to the editorial review board team, we’re looking for people of various specialties who have substantial teaching experience at the college level, but grad students are more than welcome to join us as writers. If you specialize in other survey areas, including US History to 1877, World History or Western Civ, send your cv directly to Neil and he’ll put you in touch with the Editor in Chief for the appropriate area.

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