If you've logged into Hero and things look a little more wonderful than usual, then possibly it's because of our brand-spanking new Adoption Editor. Or you have a rose-tinted monitor on your work computer.
Either way, this article will get you acquainted with what's new in the new Adoption Editor, what's the same (but prettier), and how it all transfers to student booklists. Use the table of contents below to skip around, or read the whole thing top to bottom. There will be plenty of pictures.
- Getting to the Adoption Editor
- Search for Something that's been Adopted Before
- Search for Something New
- Content Negotiation
- Messaging Publishers
- Sample Copies
- The Best Options Popup
- Upload your Syllabus
- Create Custom Items
- Add Videos, Files and Links
- Publisher Recommendations
- Course Level Comments
- Rearranging Adoptions
- Editing and Removing Adoptions
- Commenting on Adoptions
- Requiring your Adoptions
- Sharing Publisher Resources
- Re-Edit Course Materials
- No Materials Required
- Zero Cost / OER Courses
Getting to the Adoption Editor
This part will feel pretty familiar, but we'll start with it. Short version: you'll get to the Adoption Editor exactly how you always have.
- If you're a Faculty member, then Hero will take you right to your courses, where you can always click Find New Course Material, Edit Course Material, or Readopt Last Term's Material.
- If you're a Course Coordinator, then in addition to anything the Faculty member can do, you also have your highly specialized Course Dashboard, which as you know can jump you into the Adoption Editor six ways to Sunday.
- If you're a Campus Admin, then you have your own Department Dashboard, just as specialized as a Coordinator's, and of course you can jump around like a Faculty user any time you like.
One way or another, you'll find your way to the Courses page. It looks like this:
After you click one of those buttons (try the one on the left), the fun begins!
Search for Something that's been Adopted Before
When you first click into the Adoption Editor, you'll see a screen that looks like this:
We'll talk about Searching for New material and uploading your Syllabus in a minute (that's a new feature!). For now, let's look at how to search for something that has been adopted before. If you're following along at home, click Search Historical.
By default, Hero will pull up some historical adoptions for you, saving you a button click (With the time you've saved, go tell someone you appreciate them. We appreciate you.). In fact, if we've loaded your historical term data into Hero, there will be a whole list of past adoptions here, grouped by the course and section in which they were adopted. So if you know that last spring your book selection was spot on, or if it was the winter mini-term three years before that, if we have it, Hero will show it.
Of course, in addition to showing you anything you've ever adopted, Hero can show you anything that's ever been adopted for any course at any department, any term, even any school where we have access to term data.
Which, sure, you say, that's cute. But it's more than just a parlor trick. If you have a colleague who you've always respected, if you've heard about a school's major track and are intrigued--if anything out there in the academic community makes you curious, you can easily research other Hero schools here.
The point of this whole Adoption Editor is to give you access to anything that can make it easy for you to put the best content in the hands of your students: the content with which they'll engage enthusiastically, and also the content from which you can teach enthusiastically. Historical Search is one of the tools in your chest. And it's a little bit like accessing everyone else's tool chest at the same time. Pretty neat.
OK. On to the search for New course materials. And then we'll talk about what happens when you actually want to adopt something.
Search for Something new
What you should see right off the bat is a whole lot less clutter, and a whole lot of the same functionality. As always, enter a title, author or ISBN in the search bar to grab textbook suggestions. The results are ranked based on Amazon relevancy, thanks to Hero's stellar Amazon integration.
Let's talk about that Textbook/OER filter. The Textbook side is pretty self-explanatory: search textbooks, adopt textbooks. But if you have a hankering for Open Educational Resources, click that button to either filter your current search or start a new one. If you live in a state where OER adoptions are mandated, that's a fantastic button. If you don't live in a state where OER adoptions are mandated, that's still a fantastic button. Here's what OER search results look like:
OER search results come from a variety of partners in the publisher industry, and they're being updated often. Part of the fun of the OER filter is being able to watch these options grow.
Let's talk about that Cost Wizard, as well. If cost is no object, leave it right where it sits. If you'd like to filter your results by cost -- remember, this is the estimated average cost that your students will pay for the content you adopt -- then the Cost Wizard slider is an easy way to find the best content at each price point. If you drop the Wizard down to $0.00, searches will only show you free content, generally from OpenStax.
Sometimes the best course material is free. Sometimes the best book comes from outside of the mainstream publishing industry. And sometimes you get what you pay for. Point is, you can now research your options with one mouse swipe.
Wiley readers will have already noted that when you search, you get search results, and that there are a bushel of buttons and links by some results. This is a part of Hero we get very excited about, because for some faculty members, this point right here is the point where the decision gets made. If a book has a digital version, if there's a discount for a certain class size, if the publisher has included enhanced resources, anything that makes one piece of content better than another, this is where the faculty member needs to know about it.
So, that's what the new Adoption Editor does.
Title and other bibliographic information is kindly provided by Amazon and kindly curated by Sidewalk, which means that that Average Price fluctuates right in line with the market, and that the average won't be skewed by someone selling their copy of the textbook for a penny, or a million dollars.
Right there next to the Add button, you'll notice that every item is open for a price reduction. Back in the day, Hero had an option to negotiate lower prices for you if you were willing to adopt a digital version of a textbook. And we still do that: if you're interested in going digital, publishers are often interested in selling you textbooks at a reduced price that they don't have to print.
But then we got to thinking: what if every item was up for negotiation? publishers know that you have a choice in the content you adopt, and the sticker price is one of the reasons you choose what you choose (or don't). So if you'll tell Hero how many students you estimate will attend your class, we'll talk to the publishers for you, and see if we can work something out. Best case scenario, you get the same book for cheaper. Worst case scenario, you haven't lost anything. Click that Learn How link to get started.
These are the bells and whistles, the textbook industry's version of power steering and windows you don't have to crank up and down. publishers like to differentiate their content with supplemental enhancements, and they can now show that enhanced content right in Hero. If you click Publisher Resources, it will look something like this:
In addition to every type of link, file or embedded video that they've added to the course -- you can easily share all of these with your students, by the way -- publishers will sometimes include two different ways to contact them. The first way is right on this screen: click the Contact publisher link to reach out to their Sales team.
The second way is much cooler. Let's talk about it next.
If a publisher has enhanced their content in Hero, then we've automatically created a way for you to talk to them. Click Message Publisher to send them a message.
Along with that message, Hero will include the book you were looking at at the time, so you don't need to worry about typing out the exact ISBN about which you have a question. Just type away and click Send.
When the publisher signs in to Hero, here's what they see:
When the publisher responds to your Message, their response will show up in the new Messages feature in Hero. You'll see it in your main menu when you first log in:
And would you look at that, the publisher wrote you back!
Fire off as many of these messages as you need. And of course, scroll up and down if you forget what book you're talking about with which publisher.
That Sample Copy business sounds intriguing. Let's talk about that next.
Get Sample Copies
As with all these publisher enhancements, you won't see the option to Get a Sample Copy of a textbook for every search result in Hero. But when you do see one, you'll know that that publisher actually created a Hero account, logged in, and personally enhanced the textbook you're considering. They're right on this platform with you, and as you just saw, you can have a whole conversation with them without ever leaving Hero. Since this Adoption Editor upgrade is coming out in the fall, we're going to go ahead and call that spooky cool.
OK, Sample Copies. If you'd like one, just click that link. Any instructions the publisher included will pop up, along with a sample copy request link. Click the pretty red button. It's that simple.
OK, let's adopt some stuff!
The Best Option Popup
We know your fingers have been itching to do it, and some of you have definitely already done it: click that Add button. Meet the Best Option popup.
If you're of a certain age, you might remember those little paper fortune tellers in elementary school. The Best Option popup is like that, only you get to see every fortune at once. Starting from top left and going clockwise, you have the choice to:
- Adopt the text you just selected.
- Get Hero to try and negotiate a lower price for the text you just selected.
- Stick with the textbook you adopted the last time this course was taught.
- Take a peek at the textbook the publisher recommends you adopt instead.
It's a simple shortlist, and a great last step. Scan those options, and if anything strikes your fancy, keep researching. Otherwise, if you're happy, click Adopt with confidence. You've put in the right effort, and you've found the best textbook for your class and your students. Good on you!
But as you know very well, textbooks aren't the only thing that you can adopt to a course. Hero's Adoption Editor comes packed with a couple other options for you. Let's look at one we think every faculty member will like: the Syllabus Upload.
Uploading Your Syllabus
Your syllabus is the one place your students look (or, let's be honest, should be looking) to get the most most important details about your class. So when students come to Hero looking for their textbooks, you want your syllabus top of mind, and top of screen. Hero makes this pretty easy.
If you haven't already, click Upload Your Syllabus to get started.
This part is about as simple as file uploads get. Click that big red button, browse your computer, upload your syllabus, done.
Click that Add button to add the syllabus just like any other adoption. If you change your syllabus later, you can always remove it and upload a new one.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Creating Custom Items
Sometimes you need to create some bespoke course materials. This could be a reader you've compiled that the campus print shop will provide, it could be a stethoscope, or it could be 1001 Ways to Spice up the Dining Commons. Whatever it is, if you can describe it, you can adopt it.
Recognize that big red button? You know what to do.
If Hero recognizes the ISBN that you enter, it will pull in Title and Author for you. Otherwise, it's up to you.
If you need to adopt anything else, try the Misc. Materials option. You can set some Custom Pricing here too, if you like.
Once you're done creating items, adopt them just like you adopt textbooks.
Adding Videos, Files and Links
Since this next section is a bit like Custom Items, you might ask what the difference is. These items are all free. It's anything you'd like to attach to your class to help students along: a video to embed, a website they should check out, or the slides from your lectures.
And oh looky, there's a red button to press. One of the many differences between Hero and a missile silo is that we hope everyone presses the red buttons.
This part's pretty easy as well. Copy and paste a website URL, YouTube or Vimeo link, or upload something from your computer, then add it to your course. Vimeo or YouTube links will embed right on the courses page, so your students won't even have to leave Hero.
You might pull up your Adoption Editor and see an alert halfway down the page, like this.
This is a publisher recommendation. One of the lovely things about the new Adoption Editor is that it brings publishers and other content providers directly into Hero, and this is one of the ways that they can talk to you directly. Click down there and let's see what they recommended.
In this case, we've already adopted the recommended book, so this screen is a nice confirmation of our choice. What's going on here is not random: the publisher has logged into Hero with a bag of their favorite textbooks next to their desk. Then they've tied each textbook to one or more of over 6,000 possible subjects, and selected your specific school out of a list as a place they'd like to hear about the book. The Biology professor doesn't see this recommendation; just you.
Add Course Level Comments
One link left before we get to the business of Reviewing your adoptions. Click Add Course Comments to check it out.
This part of the Adoption Editor lets you comment on your entire course. You can tell students that you're excited for classes to start, if you like, or you can give them a set of instructions on which book(s) to buy, just so there's no confusion.
In the new Adoption Editor, you don't need to mess with organizing your adoptions into Option 1, Option 2, etc. Just leave a note telling your students to buy this one book (but an earlier edition is OK), and to hold off on these three books, because they'll be writing a paper on the one they choose, so they might want to attend class first.
This text field can be whatever you want it to be. Give your students the detail they need, or leave it blank if everything's already straightforward.
Review & Submit
Well, here we are. Time to roll through everything you've just adopted, rearrange it where you need to, comment on everything, and mash Save on the whole package. Once you click Review & Submit, this is what you'll see.
Let's get you situated. Your course-level comment is right up top (you can edit that, if you like), your adoptions are right below it, and your paths back to Course Materials or forward to a Saved Adoption are on either side.
If you adopted your textbooks all willy-nilly (if you haven't tried adopting textbooks all willy-nilly, you really should), then you'll want to rearrange them here. The order you see on this screen is the same one your students will see.
If you move your mouse over an adoption, you'll see little up/down arrows in the corner. Click those to move adoptions around. In this case, the course Syllabus should probably be on top, since we want students to look there first.
Editing and Removing Adoptions
If you don't like what you see, you can edit any item at any time by clicking Edit Item. For textbooks, editing will turn the book from one that Amazon recognizes to a Custom Item for your school.
And if you adopted the item by mistake, you can always get rid of it by clicking Remove Item.
Commenting on Adoptions
Just like always, you can comment on any adoption. Send those comments straight to the bookstore, or post them alongside your adoptions for your students to see.
Requiring your Adoptions
You probably recognize those little checkboxes over on the right hand side. Use them to mark an adoption Required, Optional, or Recommended. Adoptions are Required by default.
Then use the variety of comments at your disposal (store-facing, student-facing, and course-level) to make sure everyone knows what they should purchase and when.
OK, are you ready to pull the trigger? Let's Save This Adoption and see what happens.
Right off the bat, there's a comforting message from Sidewalk, letting you know that only diamonds are forever; you can edit the adoptions for this course whenever you need to.
Secure in that knowledge, let's scroll down the page a bit. There's your course-level comment in a welcoming green, and there's your syllabus, right up top. Students can see your comment to them, and download the syllabus.
Next, there's the Anthropology text that's going to be the bedrock of your course. Remember, the publisher included enhanced content with this title, and we liked the looks of it. Click View Publisher Resources to get re-acquainted.
Sharing Publisher Resources
Just because a publisher included it, doesn't mean an item's the best fit for your class. Click Share on anything that you'd like your students to see included with the textbook.
If we keep scrolling down, you can see your custom items, your supplementary links and embedded videos; everything is there, just like you like it.
Re-Edit Course Materials
Down at the bottom of the page, just like it was in the beginning, is a big fat Edit Course Materials button. As it turns out, once you look over how you've organized your adoptions, how a student will see it, you might have an edit or two. Click that button to pull up the same Adoption Editor you just left and adjust anything you need to.
But wait, there's more!
We've skipped two subjects so far in this guide, and it's mostly because we were caught up in all the pretty colors we just added to the Adoption Editor. But let's talk about them now.
No Materials Required
You might not, after all, need to adopt anything to your class. If your students are some of the lucky few who don't need to purchase course materials to get a stellar education, then you can forget everything you've just read, and click one simple button.
When you first look at your empty course, there's a checkbox right there for you. Check that, and you'll be off to the races.
Of course, just because no materials are required doesn't mean you should avoid talking to your students. That course-level comment is always open to you.
Zero Cost and OER Courses
If those terms make sense to you, then you'll also like these features. Some states in the US are passing or have passed legislation requiring faculty to note when a course has "zero cost" to students. Each state is tackling this a bit differently: in some states, the course materials have to be literally free to students. In others, there's a legal difference between "zero cost" courses and courses that have adopted Open Educational Resources. Regardless, some schools need a way to categorize and report on courses that fall into these buckets.
And whatever those buckets mean to you, Hero can help. By default, we turn all this off. But reach out to Sidewalk Support and we can turn on one or both of these checkboxes for you. They'll show up on the Review & Submit section of the Adoption Editor, like this:
If you check those, it might look like nothing happens in the Booklist (mostly because nothing happens in the Booklist). But, for you Campus Admins out there, something does happen on your Stats page. Head there and check out your new Sections Report.
Download the Sections Report, and start slicing the data any which way you like.
Neat, right? This should get you started down whatever path you need to follow to keep current with the newest laws on the books.
OK, that's it! If you're absolutely enthralled with the new Adoption Editor, then we're right there with you. If you're absolutely confused or have several grievances you absolutely have to air, then we're right here for you. Reach out to your nearest Customer Success Manager, or hop over to Sidewalk Support to post your question. We'll get you taken care of.