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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

CourseSmart Launches the First eTextbook Application for Android Devices

April 20th, 2011 by CourseSmart

CourseSmart, the world’s largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials, further expanded its mobile footprint today with the launch of CourseSmart for Android 1.0, a mobile application specifically designed for the Android Operating System (AOS). Students and faculty across the country can now access all of their eTextbooks on their AOS-enabled smart phones, netbooks and tablets.

“Increasing demand for mobile access to eTextbooks coupled with the exponential growth of Android-run devices has led to record numbers of students and faculty embracing mobile devices across their institutions,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart. “The Android application is another example of the importance of our device-agnostic mobile strategy, ensuring all students and faculty can enjoy a superior eTextbook experience on devices they choose to own.”

CourseSmart for Android 1.0 leverages the unique capabilities of the devices running the AOS to provide a truly advanced eTextbook experience, including the ability to:

  • Search for a topic within a single book or across an entire eTextbook stack and access the table of contents;
  • Zoom in on text and graphs;
  • Scroll through or jump to individual pages;
  • Read eTextbooks in landscape or portrait mode;
  • View, add and edit text notes.
  • Enjoy anytime, anywhere access to 90 percent of all core higher education textbooks in use today; and
  • Shop for additional books at up to 60 percent off using a specialized AOS version of CourseSmart’s website

Compatible with the most popular Android-run devices, including the Motorola Droid, Samsung Fascinate, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC Droid Eris, HTC myTouch 3G Slider, HTC Evo and Samsung Galaxy 7, the first Android tablet, the application has been extensively tested by students and faculty prior to release.

“The App was very easy to use and figure out. The layout and organization was well thought out and simple. I love that I can now access my books from anywhere,” said Carlisa Mikels, Bachelor of Science in Psychology Candidate at the University of Houston-Victoria.

“Knowing that the App is built for phones and tablets, I was impressed. It was easier to select books, and they displayed nicely in the Galaxy Tab,” said Pete Rottier, Center for eLearning Instructor at Cleveland State University.

The CourseSmart for Android application is available for free from the Android Market and can be accessed at http://www.coursesmart.com/go/mobile. Additionally, in an effort to protect the student, faculty and institutional users of our App, CourseSmart’s mobile privacy policy has been certified by TRUSTe.

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The Evolution of eTextbook Content

February 15th, 2011 by CourseSmart

The Smartphone, and later the iPad, revolutionized the way we consume content, both on the internet and in applications. Whether reading the news, scrolling through Twitter timelines, or playing games interactions with content have changed dramatically. Users actively participate with the content, liking posts or articles, seamlessly and instantly sharing content with friends, and even commenting on stories and discussing content with other users in real time. With the introduction of new forms of e-books, interactions with content viewed on a Smartphone or tablet device have turned once passive readers into active readers.

 

In April 2010, the release of a classic piece of literature, Alice in Wonderland, changed the way readers interacted with tablet device content. Atomic Antelope’s highly interactive e-book version of the Lewis Carroll classic allows readers to experience the written words in a completely new way. Pictures within the text come to life as the reader tilts, turns and taps their way through the text. 

 

As etextbooks become more prevalent on campuses across the nation, and students become more comfortable with digital resources as study tools, one can only hope that etextbook content will evolve to the level we see in Atomic Antelope’s Alice in Wonderland.  Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology, published by McGraw Hill, a CourseSmart publisher partner, previews how textbook content can evolve for tablets such as the iPad. Ganong’s etextbook allows students to interactive with the material in a new way, creating a richer learning environment. Imagine the day when all etextbooks allow students to interact the way Ganong’s does; letting readers quiz themselves by hiding tags on chart or images, turning chapter review sections into interactive quizzes, and animating diagrams.

 

The timing for the evolution of etextbook content isn’t certain, but it’s exciting to think one day with the tilt of an iPad a diagram of osmosis comes to life as particles pass through cell walls. Or maybe, with the trace of a finger over a blank graph a parabola is drawn completing a practice problem at the end of chapter. Once again the interactions with content will change the way users read books, and hopefully, how students retain knowledge.

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BlackBerry PlayBook creates real competition for Apple iPad

February 7th, 2011 by CourseSmart

After the flux of tablets debuted at the consumer electronics show just one month ago, I was surprised to recently find a tablet I had not yet become familiar with; the Blackberry PlayBook. Of course, the first thing that came to mind “Is this going to be the iPad killer everyone’s been expecting?”

 

Doing more research, I found that the functionality of the Blackberry PlayBook is very similar to that of the iPad. Where the PlayBook differs is where it may have the most impact on college students. First and foremost PlayBook supports Adobe Flash. For anyone who’s tried to watch a Flash video or access any Flash content on the iPad you already know the frustration. PlayBook’s ability to give users a full web experience means never missing content, viewing videos on class websites, opening embedded documents, and maybe being able to view a cool Flash site, or play a game in your off time between classes.

 

Another feature of the PlayBook that really caught my eye is the ability to wirelessly tether the tablet to a BlackBerry. With a Bluetooth connection, you can access anything on your phone through the tablet. Using the Bluetooth connection, you can sync all of the information you enter on your phone with your tablet, and vice versa. When I’m running out of class I can quickly enter homework assignments and important dates on my phone and have it all sync up with my PlayBook without duplicating anything. You can even access the BBM on your phone using the PlayBook, so you can still message all of your friends.

 

These two features will help set the BlackBerry PlayBook apart from the iPad. Sadly, Research in Motion has delayed the release of the PlayBook, originally scheduled for March 2011, and now rescheduled for May 2011.

 

With most campuses encouraging or sponsoring the use of the iPad for classwork and for reading digital textbooks, do you think the PlayBook has the ability to kill the iPad? Which tablet would you choose?

 

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The “iPad Class” Revisited

January 25th, 2011 by CourseSmart

Last semester, we reported on the denizens of universities deciding to provide iPads to students, and even incorporate iPad usage and etextbooks into the fall semester curriculum. One class in particular, Professor Corey Angst’s Project Management course at Notre Dame University, piqued our interest. At the beginning of the fall semester, Angst proposed introducing the iPad into the classroom to collect data on how the devices impacted the student’s coursework and interactivity with the coursework and each other.

 

In late December, Angst released study results, and for us, the takeaways were somewhat expected. Overall, Angst found that students were more likely to find class more interesting, explore course related topics outside of class, and manage their time more effectively. Equally as important as the iPad’s functionality as an eReader was its ability to consolidate information and allow students to perform functions not available when using standard print textbooks. While Angst’s research did not include an evaluation of the iPad’s impact on student’s retention of information or their ability to learn more effectively, students were overwhelmingly in favor of continued use of iPads in the classroom. A large proportion of students who participated in the study reported it would be difficult to return the device at the end of the semester. From the study findings, it seems clear that the iPads and the use of etextbooks had a significant impact on students.

 

With college campuses being a hot bed of innovation reaching as far back as the creation of the first personal computer to today’s biggest social media network, Facebook, it’s not surprising that college students (and even high school students) would take to the introduction of iPads in the classroom with ease. Hopefully, the future will bring the release of more findings from Professor Angst’s “iPad Class.” We particularly look forward to seeing the devices impact on the learning process.

 

To read more about Professor Corey Angst’s “iPad Class”, view the “Teaching with Angst” blog.

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Getting the Most from Your Tablet

January 6th, 2011 by CourseSmart

So, you got a tablet this holiday, and you can’t wait to take it back to school. While access to email, Facebook, and endless amounts of games are great, how can you really get the most of your new gadget this semester? Well, we’ve got a few tips to help you get the most from your device, and keep you at the top of your class.

Don’t judge a tablet by its cover.

Having a cool case for your tablet not only protects the device, but also serves as an extension of your personality. Companies like InCase offer cases in a variety of colors, materials and even patterns. But, why not make your case work a little harder? Cases with integrated Bluetooth keyboards are now hitting the market. Kensington recently released the KeyFolio for iPad, and Brando followed suit with a Bluetooth keyboard folio for the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Keep organized and carry on.

Coursework can get overwhelming very quickly if you aren’t prepared for the onslaught of essays, exams, projects and presentations. Keep your school life, and personal life organized by taking advantage of your tablets built-in calendar app. Color-coding classes, or projects, setting reminders and alerts will help keep you on top of everything happening this semester. Need some heavy duty organization? Check out web-based calendars like Google Calendar or Mozilla Sunbird. Both calendars offer the ability to create a highly organized calendar with the added bonus of being available to you anytime, anywhere on any web accessible device. A newer player in the organization game is Scrybe. Scrybe is a web-based organizer that offers all of the functions of a regular online calendar plus, thought-sharing, list building and research assistance. Perfect for those team projects you will be tackling this semester!

Ditch the paper! Save your back and the environment.

Try something new this semester by purchasing eTextbooks instead of the old print versions. Not only are you eliminating the need to carry around those heavy textbooks, but you are also being green and saving some trees. Taking advantage of apps like CourseSmart’s new iPad app lets you view your textbook anytime, anywhere, and can save you some money as well. With features like highlighting, searching and printing, you can still mark up and even have print copies of the info you need most. Just grab your tablet as you head off to class for the day, and you’ve got all of your textbooks in one, easy to carry place!

 

Never miss a detail.

Once you’ve gotten your hands on a case with a keyboard and your eTextbooks loaded, you’re ready to tap out class notes like a pro, right? Well, even the pros could use a little help once in a while. If you decide to go paperless with your tablet this semester using a note taking or highlighting app can help you keep all of your class notes in order without having to carry around loads of binders or notebooks. New apps like Note Hub allow you to view multiple items at once, and you can even mark them up and take notes on them. You can easily view a textbook, notepad and calculator on one screen so you can tackle that crazy stats homework. You can even adjust the size of the items making the textbook larger so you can read the text, while still being able to use the calculator and write things down. Don’t let note taking for web research get you down. Many browsers now have compatible web highlighter add-ins that allow you to create persistent highlights, add sticky notes, and even share your highlights with friends.

 

Now that we’ve got you started with some tips to help you get the most out of your tablet (and your education) this semester, you’ll be taking better notes, studying smarter and saving a ton of time.

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Just Launched! Version 2.1 – New iPad app released with new features for college students!

September 8th, 2010 by CourseSmart

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The new iPad app Version 2.1 is now available at the Apple store with improved functionality!  Guided by user feedback, CourseSmart created new features that will make using eTextbooks much easier and more efficient.  Version 2.1 of the CourseSmart iPad app is launched just as college students are heading back-to-school, and planning to use their new iPads for coursework this fall.

New features include:

-Faster Performance - The faster the better!  Perfect for students who are always on the go and don’t have time to waste when assignments are due!
-Sharper Images - Images bring the text to life, and capture the attention of students who are visual learners.
-Bookshelf that supports unlimited eTextbooks titles - With 4-5 classes each semester, anywhere from 1 to 5 books per course, 2 semesters a year, 4-5 years of college… that’s a lot of books!  Students can easily declutter their dorm rooms with the new bookshelf feature  that allows for unlimited eTextbooks titles.
-Remembers where the user left off on a page - Don’t waste anymore time flipping through a book. This new feature saves time by remembering and recalling where the reader left off.
-Ability to mail an image or portion of a page - Group projects are a lot easier when classmates are all on the same page.  This new feature allows for snapshots of the eTextbooks page to be emailed to anyone right from the device.

More detailed features include:

  • Swipable paging
  • Pinch and zoom
  • Improved note functionality
  • Ability to “go to” a page directly
  • Improved page highlighting
  • Local page annotation
  • Share a portion of a page
  • Smoother swiping action

Have you used Version 2.1? Can you think of any other ways that the new features can help things move more smoothly for students on campus? Send us your comments.

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CourseSmart CEO Sean Devine speaks about eTextbooks on Fox Business

August 27th, 2010 by CourseSmart

Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, appeared on Fox Business News yesterday to discuss the buzz around the “next big thing”:  eTextbooks.

Sean Devine, CEO CourseSmart - Fox Business

With over 14,000 eTextbooks, Devine explains that CourseSmart eTextbooks are of course a good alternative to traditional textbooks.
Will professors and universities embrace the new wave of eTextbooks and implement education using the technology of the future? Devine strongly agrees.  Students have been using laptops in classrooms and around campus for years, so the concept of eTextbooks is easy to adapt.  The introduction of iPads and iPhones into the higher education system is revolutionizing how students absorb information and how professors can better incorporate these tools of the next generation into their curriculums.  But what about students who won’t be using an iPad this back-to-school season?  Not an issue - eTextbooks can be downloaded right on your laptop or desktop.

Even though the iPad’s official release was just last spring, it’s still no surprise that a number of universities are emerging as early adaptors to the concept of iPad’s on campus.  Some universities have even gone as far as creating technology programs that will provide every entering student in the freshmen class a brand new gadget.  Seton Hill is just one example.  They launched their Griffen Technology Advantage to provide each student with a MacBook Pro laptop and an iPad!

What is the difference between an iPad vs. an eReader in regards to etextbooks?  Devine simply points out that the eReader only allows you to read text.  The iPad allows you to do so much more - giving students the augmented educational experience of text accompanied by vivid and colorful images, detailed excel spreadsheets, search functionalities, and even the ability to highlight, and note-take.  The CourseSmart iPad app gives students an overall interactive experience far more advanced than that of the average eReader.

A study conducted earlier this year predicted that 1 out of 5 textbooks will be digital by 2014. So the movement has begun.

Do  you think that eTextbooks are the next big thing?  We bet you can guess our response…
…absolutely.

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New iPad & iPhone App Versions 2.0 - iPad-a-Day Giveaway

August 16th, 2010 by CourseSmart

Students and faculty at universities nationwide are getting geared up to head back-to-school if they haven’t already begun the semester!  Things have been extremely busy for CourseSmart, but we are very excited to share our latest news and updates with our readers.

The new iPad & iPhone app Versions 2.0 launched last week providing a new and improved way for students and faculty to view CourseSmart eTextbooks, eResources and all other features on their iPad and iPhone – anywhere, anytime!  Both apps are available now, for free, at the Apple app store.  Go to www.coursesmart.com/go/mobile for details.

In honor of back-to-school, starting tomorrow August 17th we will be launching our iPad-a-Day giveaway.  Everyday through August 30th we will be giving away a free iPad to a lucky college student.  If you are a college student be sure to sign up for your chance to win!  Click here to enter.

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“eTextbooks for the iPad” now live!

April 11th, 2010 by CourseSmart

We are pleased to announce that CourseSmart’s “eTextbooks for the iPad” is now live on the iTunes store and available for download to the iPad. We are excited about this application because it means every college student in North America can buy one or more of their textbooks as CourseSmart eTextbooks and access them on an iPad.

The process is simple for students.

  • They begin by coming to www.coursesmart.com and searching for their assigned textbook. CourseSmart has more than 10,000 of the most widely adopted textbooks on campus, covering most of the market.
  • Once they find their assigned textbook as an eTextbook, students can purchase a subscription to the title either as an online eTextbook (your textbook in the cloud) or a downloadable one. Students with an online eTextbook subscription can access their eTextbooks on the iPad through the Safari browser even without the iPad application.
  • Once a student has an existing subscription at CourseSmart (which he or she can access on netbooks, laptops, or other computers in addition to iPhones/iPods/iPads) they can download the eTextbooks for the iPad app and access these same subscriptions on their iPad.

Now that our initial application is live, the team at CourseSmart is working hard to develop a “2.0” version of the application to launch this summer. We are excited about the opportunity to better leverage the iPad environment and talk to our customers about what they would like to see in our future applications.

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CourseSmart on the iPad. How will it work?

January 28th, 2010 by CourseSmart

Like a lot of people with iPhone app’s, we are encouraged by Apple’s assurances that iPhone apps will run on the iPad from day one of its launch. That gives us confidence that our app, eTextbooks for the iPhone, will be available on the iPad and give every student in North America the ability to buy one or more of their textbooks as a CourseSmart eTextbook and use it on an iPad.

The process is simple for students.

• They begin by coming to www.coursesmart.com and searching for their assigned textbook. CourseSmart has more than 8,800 of the most widely adopted textbooks on campus, covering most of the market.
• Once they find their assigned textbook as an eTextbook, they can purchase a subscription to the title either as an online eTextbook (your textbook in the cloud) or a downloadable one. The main difference is that the online eTextbook can be accessed through any computer connected to the Internet while the downloadable is restricted to one computer.
• Once a student has an existing subscription at CourseSmart (which he or she can access on netbooks, laptops, or other computers) they can download the eTextbooks for the iPhone app and access these same subscriptions on their iPhone, iPod touch, and now iPad.

Of course, the iPad is a very different device than an iPhone and we are now hard at work designing an updated application to take advantage of those differences.  We believe that, while the iPhone is a valuable tool for study and review, the iPad will be more valuable as a primary reading and studying tool. Our updated application will seek to better support that type of activity.

We will launch a new app as soon as possible to the launch of the iPad and likely a second release of it, based on what we learn from our initial customers, before back-to-school 2010.

Check out our iPhone app now and the iPad app in March.

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