Students give book publisher insight

Brooke Holden, Staff Writer

Publishing company Heinle Cengage Learning hosted a feedback session on Tuesday, Feb. 26 to gain insight from Francis Marion University (FMU) students on the intermediate Spanish level and used the textbook Exploraciones.

Twelve students participated in the one-hour session held in the Cauthen Educational Media Center (CEMC) room 208A.

Heinle Cengage Learning designed the textbook for Spanish foundation courses. The book was a requirement for Spanish courses at FMU.

Executive Editor Lara Semones Ramsey, Ph.D., represented the publishing company during the feedback session. Ramsey asked students to give a review and share their opinions about their learning experience with the  Spanish textbook.

“It used to be years ago that professors were our consumers,” Ramsey said.  We would go to them and try to get them to agree to use our textbook. They made the selection, they told [students] to buy it, they bought it, it was all great.”

Ramsey has worked with Heinle Cengage Learning in an editorial position for more than 10 years. With the consumer shift from instructor to student, she has visited various campuses to collect information from students.

“[Students] are in a large sense, a demographic,” Ramsey said. “What they say today, in a group of 12, really impacts what we take back to our authors. We can give back to our editorial team everything from pricing strategy to what illustration might look like in a book.”

During the session, students were asked to tell what resources they use to learn new material and also, the quality of the resources. The publishing company uses information like this to create products geared towards consumer needs.

“[Students] are becoming much more smart and savvy,” Ramsey said. “We believe that we can have an honest conversation about our product and about what [students] might eventually buy.”

Students were shown a prototype lesson for a new edition of a book the company is working on.

Tari Federer, a senior Spanish language major, participated in the feedback session.

“I participated in today’s evaluation for the betterment of future students in the study of the Spanish language,” Federer said. “The new textbook that Cengage is working on uses a proactive, modern approach not only from their staff, but from the input of students nationwide.”

Federer added it was wonderful as a student to have her ideas and opinions heard and shared with the textbook publishers.

“It would be wonderful if all classes could have textbooks that addressed the students’ needs,” Federer said.

Ramsey claims Heinle Cengage Learning strives to meet the needs of students.

“The student-tested, faculty-approved approach model really puts us back in touch with our publishing roots,” Ramsey said. “It keeps us inspired and honest.”