Similar to last week's post about eBooks, this is another suggestion that you think about the way you study.
I had two options for my Music 160 textbook this session: a traditional textbook with accompanying CDs or an interactive online textbook. The latter was an attractive choice because it was cheaper.
Cengage is quite wonderful. The Active Listening Guides ("ALG") point to specific music examples that illustrate concepts. Links throughout the pages jump to complementary materials that pulls me deeper into the lesson. There are a variety of practice quizzes throughout that help me evaluate how well I'm absorbing the material.
However, it forces me to tether to a machine. Unless there's a laptop at my disposal, I can't take the text and a highlighter to the kitchen table. If I am in the middle of an open-book test and my session times out, I lose valuable time logging back in. Also, with so much online learning (all four of my classes this session are heavy with online content), I experience eye fatigue.
I solved the problem by renting a copy of the textbook without the CDs. All said, I'm not sure I would have gone without the Cengage product because those ALGs and quizzes are valuable. I just wish I had made the plans ahead of time to best budget the associated financing of materials.
By the way, another music class offers an online text which I did not opt into and I do not regret the decision. The publisher, Norton, offers the material in a different manner. So, not all online texts are the same.