We’ve written before on this blog about the promise of digital textbooks to improve the learning experience for students with special needs. Today, I’d like to take a closer look at the accessibility ecosystem that supports students on campus, and how we can help that community.
Designing courses can be a challenge, especially for an online environment. There are many tasks involved, such as defining competencies, identifying appropriate content, creating effective learning activities, and distributing the course. After students take the course, you may be left wondering, was this course effective? For students, taking an online course can be challenging as well. Students can be overwhelmed by learning different platforms, finding the assigned content, and interacting with faculty and peers. There is no magic bullet. Or is there?
After the spring back-to-school rush, our friends in the independent campus store industry come together for two key conferences, the Independent Collegiate Bookstore Association annual meeting (ICBA) and the National Association of College Stores Campus Market Expo (CAMEX). At these conferences, store leaders and staff learn from industry thought leaders, and each other, and discover new tools to help their stores contribute to the mission of their institutions.
While there’s plenty of cool “front of the store” merchandise on display at ICBA and CAMEX--one can acquire a collegiate branded spatula, or team spirit cowboy boots--the store leaders we work with are focused on something more critical than game-day attire. For the campus store folks focused on course materials, the mission is improving affordability and student outcomes. Increasingly, college stores are the driving force behind lowering the costs of course materials. While their per-unit margins may be shrinking, campus stores are stronger and more valuable to their institutions than ever before.
At VitalSource, we’re all about improving learning outcomes and affordability, at scale. While digital delivery of materials through new models like Inclusive Access have made course materials more affordable than ever, it’s the improvement in learning outcomes that makes digital course materials so special.
What does at scale mean in terms of learning data? Last year, VitalSource delivered over 20 million titles to 5.7 million students and 1 million faculty. These learners and educators read over 2.4 billion pages, created 177 million annotations and searched their content library over 66 million times. That’s learning data at scale.
Across the nation, a growing number of colleges and universities are looking for innovative solutions that can help lower costs and raise student achievement.
One of the many challenges in higher education is the cost of course materials and textbooks. Print textbook costs have risen 82 percent over the last decade – that’s more than three times the rate of inflation. These high costs have led a growing number of students to delay or avoid purchasing required course materials, even though they know their grades will suffer as a result.