Manta Offers Free Student Reference Guides To Students
February 25, 2013 Jenny Thomas
Most of us have adapted to the new and improved paperless way of life. Heck, many of you out there have led the charge to rid your company of wasteful pages that must be filed in favor of electronic documentation and storage.
But you’re not alone if you wouldn’t mind seeing a good, old-fashioned hard copy every now and then.
Budget cutbacks and rising costs have forced companies into eliminating expensive luxuries like paper, printers, and ink, but it’s not just about doing away with endless print jobs. The online world has many resources available. We get our news more efficiently online, as all you loyal IT Jungle subscribers already know, and webinars have become a hugely popular means of instruction. Savvy vendors also use webinars as a way to showcase products to potential customers who can no longer afford to attend national tradeshows.
Bill Hansen, president of Manta Technologies, was on the forefront of the push away from paper. He saw a place for multimedia programming courses for businesses, and was a co-creator of the first computer-based training courses for IBM systems way back in 1985. In 1994, he formed Manta and introduced online learning to the AS/400 marketplace.
So when Manta first brought online courses to the IBM i community, the whole point was there was no longer the need (or expense) for the traditional course handout. Students could easily look up any topic in the original course at their PCs. But old habits die hard.
According to Hansen, some students continue to request a desk reference to consult when they had finished their studies and were back on the job. Others consider printed handouts to be an integral part of their learning experience. “I don’t learn anything until I can highlight it with a yellow marker,” Hansen recalls one student telling him.
Most of us can relate to that statement, too. Hansen included. That’s why Manta has made available student reference guides in PDF format for all series and stand-alone courses since the late 1990s. Twenty-six volumes are now available.
And the best part is the PDFs are free!
The student reference guides have actually always been available for purchase, at cost, but the printed version is a “nice to have” that is not always included in a student’s training budget. “We never tried to make money on them,” Hansen said. “It was more of a service since they had to buy the whole course, anyway.”
“Our South African partners had trouble because printing is even more expensive there,” Hansen explained. “They would have actually lost money on the printed versions because they cost so much to create.”
Hansen says he has found most students prefer reference materials in PDF format that can be stored on their PCs or tablet computers. Using a variety of freely available PDF readers, students can add notes as they would with a printed student reference guides. Or, gasp, students can print out their student reference guide of choice and break out the highlighter.
Downloading the student reference guide for a series or stand-alone course takes only a few seconds. When students start a Manta course, they receive a custom menu showing the series and courses to which they have access. Next to each title is an icon that can be clicked to download the corresponding student reference guides, which is then placed in a separate window where it can be saved or printed.
Manta students can now print out student reference guides to their heart’s content. (Click graphic to enlarge.)
The free student reference guide PDFs are available for download to current students. “Once a student’s license expires, they can’t download more, but nothing happens to what they currently have,” Hansen said.
Visit www.mantatech.com for a free preview of any of Manta’s 115 courses and competency exams.