January 20th, 2012 by CourseSmart
In response to Apple’s announcement yesterday regarding their entry into the eTextbook market, we at CourseSmart, as industry leaders, would like to welcome them to the party! With the explosion in popularity of eTexts over the past year, it’s certainly no surprise that Apple would want to make a late entry into the market.
Here are our initial thoughts:
We’re pleased about the impact Apple’s statement has made on the way people view the act of accessing educational course materials today. Any announcement which brings more awareness to digital course materials is good for students, and will help move the industry forward. However, yesterday’s Apple offerings left us with more questions than answers.
Here are our initial questions:
Are the apps only available for the iPad or will Apple become “device agnostic?” According to Student Monitor data that was released yesterday, only 9% of Higher Education students own an iPad. Although we do not know, we assume the number may be even lower for the K-12 market due to the price of an iPad. What about the millions of cash-strapped students who already own an Android device, a Kindle Fire or a Nook? Unless Apple intends to offer on other devices, the market will be underserved. CourseSmart was the first to develop an iPhone app, Android app, and Web app that allows even Kindle Fire & Nook owners to access CourseSmart eTexts through their very own device.
Will using iBooks 2 offer improved learning outcomes? While it’s great to see Apple providing many parity features that CourseSmart and other providers already offer, iBooks 2 isn’t really reinventing textbooks. Our publishers already have, with “eResources” which are much more advanced technologically. CourseSmart has the largest catalog of eResources from all the major publishers, who have partnered with the most credible authors. Interactivity is cool and interesting, but only if connected to improving student learning outcomes.
The development and consumption of digital content is well underway. Though Apple’s late entry to the market was not entirely unexpected, its impact on learning remains yet to be proven. CourseSmart, founded in 2007, is the world’s largest provider of digital content. Our catalog includes over 90% of the textbooks in use today. CourseSmart customers enjoy anytime, anywhere access. We look forward to the future of the digital publishing industry, and we’re eager to continue to be the market leader for our millions of student, faculty and institutional users.
Tags: Android, Apple, application, CourseSmart, devices, digital, digital course materials, eTextbook, etextbooks, higher education, iPad, tablet
October 18th, 2011 by CourseSmart
CourseSmart is in the City of Brotherly Love! We are descending on Philadelphia this week for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of more than 4,000 educators, administrators, and thought leaders in the higher education IT industry. In addition to chowing down on Philly cheesesteaks and doing our best Rocky impression on the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum, we look forward to networking with IT leaders and discussing new opportunities for providing students with equal and affordable access to digital course materials. We will also be spending time with our publisher and institutional partners talking about our latest integrations with Desire to Learn, Pearson LearningStudio, and Blackboard Learn.
We are thrilled to be a sponsor of the 2011 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, a distinction which allows us to host two refreshment breaks on the exhibit floor on Thursday, October 20. Stop by to chat with a CourseSmart representative about our latest innovations, or just to pick up some SWAG! If you can’t make it to the refreshment breaks, be sure to see CourseSmart CTO, Tom Hadfield, give a presentation in the Gilfus Education booth (#1457) on Wednesday, October 19, from 10:00-10:40am. Tom will be discussing the current and future state of digital course materials, and the changing consumption patterns of today’s students. And, if you will not be attending this year’s conference, get the latest news and updates from Philadelphia by following @CourseSmart_ on Twitter.
We are looking forward to an exciting and informative week in Philadelphia, and we hope to see you there!
- Nani Jansen, Marketing Coordinator, CourseSmart
Tags: blackboard learn, CourseSmart, desire 2 learn, devices, digital, digital course materials, E-book, e-books, edu11, educause, eresources, eTextbook, etextbooks, higher education, pearson learningstudio, Students, tablet, tech, Tom Hatfield
May 19th, 2011 by CourseSmart
In an effort to make higher education available to all types of students, some universities are launching mobile classroom extensions via an iPhone/iPad app, thereby making access to extended course materials, classroom discussions and assignments more flexible for the non-traditional student. While many students feel these mobile apps enhance their ability to learn, detractors believe a mobile app dilutes the value of education.
A widely known, for-profit university that has seen great success with the mobile app, is quick to call the experience an extension of the online classroom, making the learning experience flexible for its large population of online students. For a university founded on providing secondary education that meets the needs of non-traditional students, the mobile app benefits its intended market and increases the flexibility of the curriculum. Bringing the classroom to a mobile device also increases accessibility and reaches a greater number of students.
Those who challenge the idea of a mobile app “classroom” are quick to comment on the degradation of the learning process and the “on-the-go” perception a mobile app creates, arguing that universities who use them are diluting the value of a traditional college education. They also argue that learning designed to take place via a mobile app places little value on the focus and interaction required for a robust educational experience. They further insist that long-term retention of knowledge is closely linked to studying from physical materials, and an app removes the acute attention normally needed when learning from physical course materials or participating in face-to-face discussions.
The role of technology in the learning process continues to evolve, but at a seemingly much slower rate than that of the college student. And, with college students’ growing need for flexibility and mobility in their educational experiences, a “classroom” mobile app just may be the future of learning.
Are you a student who uses a mobile app? How has the app changed your classroom/learning experience? Faculty, would you like your university to introduce a mobile app for online course offerings?
Tags: college, devices, mobile apps, mobile device, Students
May 13th, 2011 by CourseSmart
After reading Joshua Kim’s Technology and Learning blog post titled “The Wireless Chain,” I faced the realization that until I read this blog post, I had never really examined my own wireless chain, or my constant connectedness to the internet, email, or even textbooks and online courses. It occurred to me that while this chain might not be crucial to me, there are hundreds of thousands of students who count on the strength and reliability of a wireless chain.
For those not familiar with the term “wireless chain”, Kim describes it as “the degree to which a person can move from place-to-place with uninterrupted access to wireless Internet.” For a college student, this chain can include wireless access available across college campuses, bookstores, coffee shops, dorm rooms, off-campus apartments, and any place in between. And, access to a continuous chain is vital for a student’s productivity as much as it would be for a business traveler, especially with coursework, studying, writing and reading sometimes all requiring constant access to materials online. Unlike me, the continuous nature of a college student’s wireless chain might be so ingrained in their lifestyle, that they hardly notice its existence until there is a failure or interruption in the chain. Just ask any student who struggles to connect to Blackboard via an overloaded campus wireless network.
It’s hard to ignore the importance of a wireless chain with the existence of laptops, Smartphones, and now tablet devices, and while a college student might not always be conscious of its existence, it shouldn’t diminish the need for college campuses and even businesses around campuses to create a seamless wireless chain.
If you are a college student, have you ever thought about how many links are in your wireless chain? Are there places you would choose to add more links to your chain?
Tags: college, devices, Mobile, smartphone, Students, tech, wireless