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FAQ*

(* These questions haven't necessarily been "Frequently Asked." This is just a good place to put lots of miscellaneous information.)

What schools are using APEX Calculus?
For the Spring, 2017, semester, I know of about 20 schools in the U.S. that are teaching calculus out of the text. At some schools, APEX Calculus is the text; at others, at least one member of the faculty is using the text while others teach from more traditional texts. 

Virginia Military Institute, where I am on faculty, and Southern Virginia University, have officially adopted it. (Contact me if your school has adopted this text; for now I won't give names of schools using the text unless I get their permission.)

Why is the print version in black & white? Why not sell a color version?
The text is supposed to be affordable. The price for printing 300+ pages in color through CreateSpace is about $40. Multiply this by 3 for the three volumes and the price is still less than half of a new traditional text, but is too close to the cost of a used text. I have a hope that one day I can negotiate a lower per-book rate with CreateSpace in color.

What are the copyright restrictions on APEX Calculus?
I've copyrighted the text under the Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial (BY-NC) License. That means that you can modify the work as long as you acknowledge my contribution, and you don't sell your work. (If you want to collaborate and eventually sell something, contact me.)

Will my campus bookstore sell this text?
I can't promise you they will, but mine does. In fact, they actually insisted on doing so, largely because some athletes were promised free textbooks as part of their scholarship. CreateSpace is a different kind of publisher than Pearson, but your bookstore should be able to do business with them. Give your bookstore manager the ISBN/URL information found on the Purchase page and they should be able to stock all volumes of APEX Calculus.

What kind of feedback would you like concerning the text?
Any and all constructive feedback is welcome. Just use the Contact page. I'm particularly interested in:

  • Typos/mathematical mistakes - I know they exist and I want to eliminate them. Version 3.0 was aided greatly by people submitting errors found in Version 2.0. (See the Errata page for a list of known mistakes.)
  • Critique of explanations - too wordy? Too terse? Did I miss an insightful way of presenting something? Did I hit it just right? (We all love compliments!)
  • Ideas for new material - what sections are missing that you'd really like to see? 

Is a solution manual available?
Not with worked-out solutions. I can send instructors a copy of all answers (even & odd) if you like - this can be handy. To get a copy, use the contact page to write and use your official school email as a return address. I'll only send this out once I verify you are indeed an instructor (and not a student).

How often will new versions/editions be created? What will happen to the old versions? What changes will be made from version to version?
New versions/editions will only be made to fix mistakes, add needed material or make adjustments that make the text demonstrably better. I am well acquainted with the "new edition cycle" from traditional publishers that we've all grown to loathe. I will not mimic that. APEX Calculus is not "threatened" by the used textbook market in the same way traditional texts are; new editions won't be written to increase new book sales.

Version 3.0 has been available for 2 years. During that time, I've become aware of a number of mistakes & typos that I'd like to correct. Plus, new content is planned, specifically topics surrounding Green/Stokes' Theorems. When version 3.5 (or, 4.0) comes out, I truly hope it is stable for quite a while. The new version will not change all the exercises to similar, yet different, problems. It will just fix mistakes and add content.

I may need to "fork" the text at some time to include material some really want and other really don't. I'll do that very infrequently and cautiously.

Old versions will be available in .pdf form for a long time. Old print versions will be available for as long as people are interested. If an older version is no longer selling in print form, I'll take it out of print.

Where is Green's Theorem? (Or Topic X?)
APEX Calculus was originally written to satisfy the needs of my students in Calc I through III, and we don't teach Green's Theorem in our Calc III but rather in a separate topics course. I have heard from two different schools that they really want Green's Theorem in the text before they adopt it. I plan to soon write material associated with Green's Theorem.

If there is a topic you'd really like to see in the text, let me know, and/or write material yourself.

How do I get started writing additional material for APEX Calculus?
First, know what you want to contribute. On pencil/paper, sketch out the sections, then examples, then figures that you think should be included. I don't think it is worth learning my TeX conventions until this is done.

Then download the source files found at GitHub. Compile the file "Calculus.tex" to produce the whole text. I use XeLaTeX to compile as I use the Calibri font. (If you don't have Calibri, check out Carlito.) If you use pdflatex, the spacing of the text will be significantly different.

From there, poke around the .tex files found in the "text" folder to see how Examples, Definitions, Figures, etc., are created. There isn't a manual (yet) helping you navigate my LaTeX code, but you should be able to figure it out with some sleuthing.

This isn't a process for the faint of heart. While I advertise that "anyone" can make changes to the text, that really means anyone is permitted to make changes, not "it's so easy even a child can do it!"

Are there any other open texts written under the APEX model?
No and yes. No, no other collaborative texts. (And, it turned out, APEX Calculus wasn't nearly as collaborative as we wanted. See the About page for more if you are interested.) However, there are two texts, Fundamentals of Matrix Algebra and An Introduction to MATLAB and Mathcad that were written by people associated with APEX Calculus. You can find out more about these texts at www.vmi.edu/apex.

Why are the covers of your texts so boring? Why just the solid colors and a little text?
I think there is a fine line between a cover that look really nice and a terrible-looking cover that clearly someone hoped would look nice. I sketched out a couple of ideas for covers that I thought would look great; when I started to actually create them, they looked awful. Maybe someday I'll get a professional graphic designer to make a great-looking cover that includes a windsurfer, a jalapeno pepper and a business woman thinking intently about her calculator. For now, though, the colors are handy. I teach both Calc I and Calc III, using two different volumes of the text. I never confuse the two.

Are textbook publishers evil thieves, stealing our student's money?
No, no, no. They generally produce high quality products, written by accomplished educators, that have successfully taught millions of students around the world. Publishing textbooks is their passion and their livelihood, The books they produce are unquestionably expensive; people can argue whether or not they are worth the cost. (A Lexus is expensive; while it isn't worth the price to me, it obviously is to others.) 

I am befuddled, and frustrated, by some of the practices employed by the publishing industry. I fully understand that they must market their texts - they need to let people know these books exist. That costs money, and these costs are invariably passed along in small/large ways to the consumer - students. I'm ok with that. But some of the marketing doesn't make sense. Why did I just get two copies of a calc book in the mail, unsolicited? Why did a colleague in my department also get THE SAME TWO COPIES? Of course, these are "Instructor Editions" with nonsense labels warning me to not violate copyright and sell this book to others as this increases costs to students and destroys the environment.

The people I have begun to have real problems with are people like me - college/university faculty. We have, for far too long, chosen texts without seriously considering the costs to our students. There is something fundamentally wrong when the people choosing a product are not the ones who pay for it. And we have long been frustrated with the practices of publishers, or thought "This text is pretty good but wish it had such and such," and have done nothing about it. We are part of the problem.

The criteria for college tenure/promotion, in turn, needs to change. Young faculty will not be interested in writing/supplementing open texts if it doesn't count toward tenure.

So, no, textbook publishers are not evil. One expects that they will pursue a business model that they expect will maximize their profit, which will not necessarily have the student's best interest in mind. In a perfect world, this pursuit of profit should have been held in check by college/university faculty, who should have the student's best interest at heart. We want them to have a high quality text. We should also consider whether or not they can afford it. (Currently, students are deciding they can't and are buying fewer books.) And we shouldn't make them pay for an online HW system because it makes our life easier. In short, publishers are pursuing profit and we are enabling them.