Background and Rationale of the Series

This new series has been produced to meet the new and changing needs of students and staff in the Higher Education sector caused by firstly, the introduction of 15 week semester modules and, secondly, the need for students to pay fees.

With the introduction of semesters, the 'focus' has shifted to module examinations rather than end of year examinations. Typically, within each semester a student takes six modules. Each module is self-contained and is examined/assessed such that on completion a student is awarded 10 credits. This results in 60 credits per semester, 120 credits per year (or level to use the new parlance) and 360 credits per honours degree. Each module is timetabled for three hours per week. Each semester module consists of 12 teaching weeks, one revision week and two examination weeks. Thus, students concentrate on the 12 weeks and adopt a compartmentalized approach to studying.

Students are now registered on modules and have to pay for their degree per module. Most now work to make ends meet and many end up with a degree and debts. They are 'poor' and unwilling to pay £50 for a module textbook when only a third or half of it is relevant.

These two things mean that the average student is no longer willing or able to buy traditional academic text books which are often written more for the ego of the writer than the needs of students. This series of books addresses these issues. Each book in the series is short, affordable and directly related to a 12 week teaching module. Each will only be six chapters long, giving one chapter per two teaching weeks. Thus, module material will be presented in an accessible and relevant manner. Typical examination questions will also be included which will assist staff and students.

However, there is another objective to this book series. Because the material presented in each book represents the state-of-the-art practice, it will also be of interest to industrialists and specialist practitioners. Thus, the books can be used by industrialists as a first source reference that can lead onto more detailed publications.

Therefore, each book is not only the equivalent of a set of lecture notes but is also a resource that can sit on a shelf to be referred to in the distant future.

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