Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
Overall, the text comprehensiveness is comparable to other books designed for the Calculus based 200-level physics course. For example, I was disappointed in the treatment of convection, which was almost entirely qualitative, with one oversimplified quantitative example. However, this is common among similar texts. Considering many of these students are future engineers and physicists, this concept could be given more depth. However, the inclusion/explanation of the Van der Waals Equation of State, and behavior and phase diagrams of real gasses was a nice addition. Previously I have pulled this information from a text different from the main course text.
Accuracy rating: 5
Conceptually, yes. I did not check example problems or end of chapter problems.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
The book uses up-to-date terminology and descriptions of topics. There are links to resources outside of the OpenStax system, such as links to Java simulations, which may become broken or give students trouble as the resources move or become out of date. For example, students working on campus computers will know how/not have privileges to add sites to exceptions lists to get around in-house security apps from blocking sites with out of date Java simulations.
Clarity rating: 4
The book typically uses careful, up-to-date language, with special care taken for concepts that are non-intuitive and/or commonly lead to misconceptions. For example, the description of the zeroth law is similar to other texts, but puts emphasis on a lack of net energy exchange, which puts the student in the right mindset for understanding equilibrium and for examination of the remaining thermodynamics concepts. The in-text links to simulations are useful, for example the Maxwell speeds distribution simulation (the Brownian motion option is especially illustrative). Some links to additional resources led to unfinished pages, which might frustrate students and instructors, for example the link to additional information about the ultraviolet catastrophe: http://cnx.org/contents/_dS0E2kQ@2/Introduction
Consistency rating: 4
As is typical, looking at the chapter organization, you find that capacitance appears on equal footing to Electric Charges and Fields in terms of each getting a chapter. It would be nice to see an organizational structure that is more consistent with the hierarchy of "fundamentalness" but I don't have an immediate solution to offer on this point, so this is more a comment than a critique.
Modularity rating: 4
The level of modularity seems appropriate and is similar to other texts for this course. Volume II appears less modular than volume I, which is a good think in my opinion, because Volume I was modular almost to the point of being distracting. Students like that the problem solving strategies are broken out and highlighted, however this may encourage students to avoid reading the text and only search for the specific information they need to solve HW problems. This is an issue with all texts, however.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3
Follows the standard organization/structure/flow found in most textbooks for this course.
Interface rating: 3
Some graphics appear to be relatively low quality in the ascetic sense, but not sufficiently low to hinder understanding. The links to additional content, especially simulations, are a fantastic resource and these should be touted and brought to the "front" of the interface in order to capture students and draw them into investigating the simulations. Some links lead to unfinished resources, hopefully those will be updated.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
Cultural Relevance rating: 3
Does not appear to be culturally insensitive or offensive. The microscopic nature of the majority of the content in this volume offers relatively fewer opportunities for depiction of people, compared to Volume I on mechanics for example. The majority of photographs depicted white individuals, however a few other cultures were represented. Considering the current political climate, conscious care might be taken to make language specifically inclusive, for example instead of using "desert dwellers" to refer to people who live in the desert, "people who live in the desert" might be used instead. The word "she" appears roughly 4 times in the text, 3 of these in one problem. The word "her" appears roughly 3 times in the text, one of these in the same problem. The word "he" appears many more times, the large majority of these are in a historical context. With these removed, "he" and "his" appear roughly the same number of times as "she" and "her".