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
August 23rd, 2011 by CourseSmart
CourseSmart®, the world’s largest provider of eTextbooks and other digital resources, recently launched its latest innovation: a social commerce shopping experience that will allow students to rent CourseSmart materials directly from the brand’s official Facebook page.
Students will be able to access CourseSmart’s catalog of eTextbooks and eResources directly on Facebook through a secure shopping cart and tab on the brand’s page. Shopping within the tab, students will be able to search for eTextbooks by title, ISBN number or keyword and then add the items to their cart. When ready to checkout, students will be linked directly to secure checkout at Coursesmart.com.
“CourseSmart has always made it a priority to provide students with the course materials they need in the most convenient way possible, and our new Facebook experience is the latest breakthrough in that arena,” said Jill Ambrose, chief marketing officer at CourseSmart. “We are excited to provide accessibility to more than 20,000 of the latest eTextbook offerings to college students where they already spend time, on their favorite social networking site.”
With so many college students already on Facebook, using the social network for social commerce was a natural transition for CourseSmart. This new Facebook feature is the latest in a series of industry firsts for the brand, which launched a beta version of its first-to-market HTML5 eReader earlier this summer, allowing users to access CourseSmart materials online and offline.
To purchase eTextbooks via Facebook or for more information on CourseSmart’s new social commerce tab visit www.facebook.com/CourseSmart.
Tags: college, CourseSmart, digital, digital course materials, E-book, e-books, eresources, eTextbook, etextbooks, Facebook, higher education, Mobile, mobile apps, social media, Students
March 1st, 2011 by CourseSmart
In mid February, CampusTechnology.com reported on the release of the 2011 report “Instructors and Students: Technology Use, Engagement and Learning Outcomes.” The survey, administered to both students and instructors revealed key points in opinions on the role of technology in the educational process.
Of the students surveyed, 86% agreed that their level of engagement in a course increased as the use of digital tools increased, and 67% of students preferred courses that integrated digital tools. While the use of these tools had little impact on external disruptions (e.g. working full-time, caring for families) digital tools helped students be more prepared for class and even helped them overcome aversions to using technology. Survey results from instructors showed a similarly positive sentiment regarding technology with 58% stating they believed technology had a positive impact on student engagement in the classroom, and an equal percentage matching students’ opinions of preference for courses in which technology could be used in the classroom. Additionally, 71% of instructors reported that the use of technology is a vital component in a course and has a highly positive impact on student learning. With this evidence that use of digital course tools are preferred by both students and instructors, and belief that these tools positively impact learning, the lack of adoption seems to be a non-sequitur.
Just today, John K. Waters reported for CampusTechnology.com new data and predictions of what seems to be sluggish growth in the adoption of etextbooks when compared to the growth in the availability of e-books. Currently, only 8% of students purchase etextbooks and roughly the same percentage access digital course materials. The National Association of College Stores makes the promising prediction that etextbooks sales will increase to between 10-15% by 2012. For etextbook publishers and providers like your friends at CourseSmart, this growth is a step in the right direction. But as quoted by Waters, Vineet Madan, the vice president of strategy and business development in McGraw Hill’s Higher Education group believes while “academic publishing is slower to change, so is the market we serve.”
Superficially, it appears the students much be the impetus for change to a technology filled educational experience. Alas, what can be made of the gap between students’ preference for integrated technology and purchase of digital course tools? Will the cliché “where there’s a will there’s a way” ring true?
Tags: CourseSmart, digital course materials, eresources, etextbooks, tech
February 18th, 2011 by CourseSmart
Since the first introduction of digital course materials, the subject of whether these materials have actually helped students learn better has been hotly debated. In the past two decades, digital course materials have changed significantly, leaving researchers, professors and even students wondering whether digital course materials and etextbooks were worth the investment in changing curriculum and bringing more technology into the classroom. Though there hasn’t been nearly enough time to develop comprehensive studies on students who use the newest forms of etextbooks and digital course materials available on mobile devices, some recent studies are shedding some light on the effectiveness of these materials at helping students learn and retain knowledge.
In 2003, a study of college-level biology students given access to a CD-Rom lab manual that included videos, animations and tips determined that students who used the CD-Rom based materials did not show increases in content mastery or assessment scores. Fast forward to a study conducted from 2009-10 where a group of college students who were given access to online digital course materials showed a marked increase in assessment scores. In both studies, students’ access to digital course materials was supplemental to traditional classroom instruction. While the results of these two studies fall at both ends of the spectrum, it’s important to note the drastic change in how the course materials were delivered to the students. Though the former study took place only 7 seemingly short years ago, the difference in technology available to students today is light years ahead. In 2003, students who participated in the study commented that they did have computers at home, but failed to note if these computers were portable allowing students’ access to the enhanced course material while in the classroom. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see students in class following along with a laptop or iPad, giving them increased access to digital course materials while in the classroom. It’s possible that the advances in technology and the general availability and mobility of that technology had a significant impact on the results of both studies.
These recent advances in technology, particularly mobile devices, along with the results of the 2009-10 study draw some promising conclusions about the future of digital course materials in the classroom and their ability to augment the student learning experience. Providing additional insight, students in an 8th grade algebra class in Riverside, California comment on the usefulness of having digital course materials available to them in the classroom. Students who might normally have struggled with complex equations are given additional resources to help solve problems, and are able to work at their own pace, creating an experience that lends to their learning.
Hopefully, future studies on student use of digital course materials will shed more light on the effectiveness of the tools at increasing learning in students at all levels. Until then, it will be in the hands of the instructors and the school districts to determine if digital course materials are right for their student populations and are effective in increasing learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
Tags: CourseSmart, digital course materials, eresources, eTextbook