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Creative Uses for Textbook Companion Web Sites

by Denise R. Boyd

In today’s competitive textbook market, it’s difficult to find a textbook that doesn’t include free access to a companion Web site. These sites are packed with useful study tools, many of which can be adapted for use in classroom presentations. Moreover, the prices students pay for their books includes the cost of developing them, so I have always felt obligated to find ways to use them. In my experience, there are three categories of uses for the materials commonly found on companion Web sites: (1) for ungraded, self-directed student reviews of textbook chapters; (2) as graded assignments; and (3) as presentation tools in the Internet-wired classroom or computer lab.

As most experienced instructors know, self-directed use of available study materials is often the variable that separates successful and unsuccessful students. Students who are inclined to use every available means to learn and achieve in your class should benefit from explicit instructions from you as to how to use the study tools on the companion Web site effectively. First, you might recommend that, after reading each chapter, they take chapter quizzes found on the sites until they achieve perfect scores. Alternatively, these quizzes could be used along

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