Archive for coursesmart
With some reports showing that the Android platform currently holds about 68% of the market for applications, digital content creators are taking steps to increase their current offerings to meet these customers where their devices are. CourseSmart, a leading provider of digital educational materials and textbooks, has been available on the Android platform for some time, but today announced that it is enhancing its current Android capabilities.
“We have been a leader in the Android space for a long time, and our new application takes that commitment to the next level, offering consumers several highly-anticipated new features,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, in a statement today. “As mobile devices continue to proliferate, we will maintain our track record of offering innovation and convenience to both Android and IOS users.”
While the free CourseSmart app for Android has offered a number of support features like thumbnails, in-book search capability, zoom for graphics and charts, and more, today CourseSmart announced the ability for students to access content while offline.
“CourseSmart eTextbooks is reflective of the company’s long-standing commitment to the platform as well as a response to the growing market demand for Android applications,” stated the explanation in a press release. “CourseSmart’s enhanced Android app provides real time mobile access to students, even while an eTextbook download is occurring. CourseSmart users will also have the ability to checkout titles for offline use and sync notes and highlights across the reading system, ensuring access to their own notations regardless of which device they use.”
In addition to new features and access capabilities, CourseSmart materials have grown in popularity due to the full catalog of titles from 90% of the educational publishers that the company offers at as much as a 60% discount over the original print price. Students and faculty alike are able to access their course materials through any Android-enabled device, tablet, or smartphone.
Digital textbook companies like CourseSmart and Kno recently launched innovative, interactive dashboards that help increase student learning outcomes by providing valuable feedback on how students engage with course material, but McGraw-Hill High Education announced today that its launch of such a dashboard is aimed at a very specific demographic of students.SCOREboard, the latest McGraw-Hill platform, is the first of its kind learning tool that helps students prepare for Advanced Placement courses and exams.
“AP exam enrollments have risen steadily over the past decade, but unfortunately student performance on those exams has not,” said Christine Willig, senior vice president of products at McGraw-Hill School Education, in a press release today. “Of the high school students taking AP exams, nearly half fail to earn what is considered a passing score. With SCOREboard, students can get a clear picture of precisely where they stand well in advance of their exam, giving them the academic edge they need to perform well on the exam and ultimately in college.”
While digital learning dashboards are not new–McGraw-Hill’s own LearnSmart dashboard already has over one million users–this is the first tool of its kind to be sold to schools via subscription model that will engage students with the core focus of AP classes. Those classes, eight in all, include AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Economics, AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, AP United States Government and Politics, AP United States History, and AP World History.
One of the key features of digital interactive learning tools such as SCOREboard is the ability to tailor study time to identified areas of deficiency and facets of lower confidence level. This personalized instructional assistance means students no longer waste valuable time with study concepts that have already been mastered, but instead are focused on topics that are not as ingrained.
SCOREboard is available now for use on PC and Mac and will be available for iOS devices by next school year. For more information or to purchase SCOREboard, please visit their website HERE.
While some sectors of the education industry are still waiting for the explosion of digital textbooks that can provide budget-friendly solutions with immediate updates to new information, e-textbook providers are already making improvements to the design concept of an academic ebook. It’s no longer enough to create a digital edition of a standard academic textbook; today’s learners and educators want all-in-one solutions that allow access anywhere, while also providing self-evaluation and feedback on curriculum engagement.
CourseSmart, a leading provider of digital educational content, already provides over 40,000 titles from fifty publishers and is at work in over 100 institutions. However, it’s not simply the ebook files that have students and educators clamoring for digital solutions, so much so that Simba Research predicts digital textbooks will make up 14% of the academic publishing market by next year. Instead, it’s the full use of technology that has encouraged users to seek out digital opportunities.
“CourseSmart has been a welcome addition to our campus,” said Randy L. Bullis, J.D., Director of Online Education for Career Point College, in a press release. “Our students have responded positively to the convenience of digital course materials, and faculty and administrators are enthusiastic about the potential of CourseSmart Analytics, which we hope will be instrumental in helping us address key issues such as retention and improving learning outcomes.”
“We appreciate CourseSmart’s technology innovation, especially in the mobile arena, which is vital for our online student population,” continued Ann Jenkins, Instructional Designer and Training Specialist at Iowa Community College Online Consortium. “We have gotten a lot of positive feedback on CourseSmart’s Universal Reader, which offers students a choice between page fidelity and reflowable text views online and offline, on a wide variety of mobile devices from iPads, to iPhones and Android devices.”
The analytics, anywhere access, and user-determined readability are just a few of the features that are sparking a greater interest in digital adoption from a wide variety of ebook suppliers. While price is–and always will be–a major factor in determining title adoption, students have demonstrated that they will pay for quality content that meets their academic and technological needs.
A new pilot program has been put into place to allow more universities and higher education institutions to work within the online media model for student learning. This program, developed by EDUCAUSE and Internet2, includes over fifty publishers, notably the CourseSmart platform. GoodEReader spoke with Cindy Clarke, Senior VP of Marketing for CourseSmart, about the goals for this program.
“The spring pilot was very well subscribed and we’ve had feedback that more institutions are very keen to take part in the fall term,” explained Clarke, speaking of the original rollout which involved five schools and about eight hundred students.
While the offering will remain largely the same for this new fall 2013 program, there are some key differences based on that feedback. “One of the things that we’re adding to the subscription pilot is a faculty access program, giving those faculty members direct access to CourseSmart through their faculty access program. They can use CourseSmart for finding and evaluating textbooks for their adoption cycle.”
CourseSmart has learned from the original pilot program that both the students and the teachers were in favor of the subscription model, which affords students a significant savings over purchasing stand-alone titles while also giving them nearly limitless portability and access to their course materials. The savings through the subscription pack gives students twelve individual spots on their bookshelves that they can rotate their books through; the findings of the survey indicate that students tend to keep about five titles on that bookshelf at any given time, so the subscription model allows them to rotate their selected books through their bookshelves.
Of the large numbers of publishers who are participating in the fall pilot, McGraw-Hill, who has proven itself to be an educational publisher who stays at the forefront of digital textbook innovation, will once again be on board. In a press release on the fall pilot, McGraw-Hill’s spokesman explained the importance this type of program can play on the educational landscape.
“McGraw-Hill is excited to partner with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE to offer a pilot option that will deliver cutting-edge adaptive learning tools that take full advantage of the digital learning environment to enhance teaching and learning,” said Tom Malek, vice president, McGraw-Hill Higher Education Learning Solutions. “We’re looking forward to working closely with a select group of institutions and faculty that are interested in assessing the impact of these digital-first tools on teaching and learning.”
Following an expansion into Europe earlier this year, educational e-textbook company Coursesmart announced today it will begin marketing products to the Middle East and Africa. CourseSmart’s e-commerce platform for students and sampling platform for faculty and institutions will now be available in over 70 countries, spreading access to affordable digital course materials across the globe.
CourseSmart has also introduced a free trial for students on the international platform, which is available on all textbooks. The free trial includes a portion of the book and all features on the ebook reader, providing students with a preview of the e-textbook before they rent it. No credit card details are required to use the free trial – all the student needs to do is to set up an user account with an email address.
Fionnuala Duggan, Managing Director of CourseSmart International said, “CourseSmart’s expansion into new territories reflects the international demand for the e-textbook platform that we have experienced. It will provide instructors in all the participating countries with full access to the digital samples, and our institutional and student e-commerce offering will also be available.”
As more and more schools look to the technological, environmental, and fiscal benefits to going completely digital for academic titles, there are still some nagging doubts that may cause decision makers to drag their feet. Public schools have to face the issue of who is to pay for the devices each student will need, while all educational settings have to worry about heightened accessibility issues, specifically for visually impaired students who won’t benefit from the high-resolution graphics and videos that many supporters say make digital textbooks superior to print.
One major issue, however, is the constant questioning as to whether students actually learn better with digital textbooks, which may now have been resolved. CourseSmart, a top provider of digital academic materials, unveiled its beta launch of its new CourseSmart Analytics, which will effectively measure how long students interact with the material on their device screens.
“We have long believed in the benefits of analytics as a means to improve learning outcomes, increase retention, and graduation rates, and help lower the costs of higher education,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart in a press release. ”We are thrilled to bring these benefits to reality through our CourseSmart Engagement Score Technology™, which will provide faculty with meaningful metrics about students’ engagement with digital course materials so they can offer guidance to maximize student performance.”
“Analytics will be a powerful tool in higher education, especially when data is reported in easy-to-understand, actionable ways,” said Ellen Wagner, Executive Director, WICHE, Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET). “The higher education community is hungry for actionable data that links student engagement to their learning content. With the CourseSmart dashboard, professors will be better able to fine-tune lesson plans, critique student performance, and even tailor suggestions for specific students on how to study more effectively to help them stay on track and stay in school.”
Beta versions can be viewed through a variety of digital learning platforms, and more information can be found on the CourseSmart website.
CourseSmart, the largest provider of digital academic materials, announced today that it would be rolling out a subscription plan that allows users to pay a flat-fee for access to e-textbooks. As many as twenty different schools will be invited to take part in a pilot program, in part with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE, to provide materials at a more affordable scale.
The subscription program will allow students at the participating schools to put titles on their bookshelf each semester for a pre-determined price.
“CourseSmart is pleased to partner with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE to offer this innovative new business model which sets a new standard in the use, affordability, and accessibility of digital course materials,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, in a press release. “The CourseSmart Subscription Pack offers compelling benefits to both students and faculty: students can save money, reduce book load, and conveniently access their books digitally in one place, and faculty can be confident that they are helping students obtain needed texts and materials more economically and efficiently than ever before.”
Schools can opt for licenses of the materials, or students can pay their own materials’ bills, with no semester cost amounting to more than $275, a noticeable savings over the typical cost of print textbooks.
“We are excited to partner with CourseSmart on this research project,” said Shel Waggener, Senior Vice President, Internet2. “CourseSmart was one of the innovators in filling an unmet need in the marketplace for an affordable, one-stop shop for e-textbooks. Their early commitment to accessibility and creativity in developing options to participate in this process show their commitment to deliver these existing solutions to all students.”
Started at the Indiana University and now growing to twenty-five higher ed institutions, a trial run program on the implementation of digital textbooks at the college level is designed to show universities basically how digital can be implemented. This test is being conducted by Internet2 and Educause.
It wouldn’t seem like rocket science. An ever-growing number of publishers and digital textbooks designers is producing content at a high speed rate. Adults are adopted e-reading across multiple devices and platforms at an equally staggering rate. So what is there to be concerned with, and why do schools seem to need a hand-holding lesson in how digital textbooks can work for them?
Because when it comes to textbooks, especially those at the college level, it’s not just as simple as distributing one math book. University faculty often develop their own materials suited for their courses. That’s the content that is in addition to the content created by the major educational publishers. Before anyone can simply throw away the old print textbooks and adopt digital across the board, there are questions that have to be answered and scenarios that have to be envisioned.
For example, one of the universities involved in the 25-school pilot program has already pulled out over concerns regarding accessibility. This very real concern over making sure the digital text is appropriate for every student, regardless of impediment or disability, led to a two-year study involving CourseSmart.
One of the features that is different about this pilot program is that the students are not required to purchase the digital content, which is good news considering digital textbooks can often cost as much as their print counterparts due to the high cost of research and creation of the book. Instead of individual student purchases, the universities will maintain a site license, much like schools already do for software. Students who opt for a print edition can choose to print out the portions they need or purchase a print-on-demand edition, which tends to be more cost effective for both the consumer and the publisher.
While the pilot is not only to have students evaluate the digital materials themselves, it is also meant to gain feedback on the process of actually implementing e-textbooks on a broad scale. The results of the program will be shared at two conferences later this year.
CourseSmart, a leading supplier of e-textbooks for higher education, shared the results of a two-year study on the use of digital textbooks which had been commissioned by Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) and AccessText Network (ATN) following a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The study tracked the reactions of 1,185 higher education students who participated in an ebook rental program, some of whom required accessibility that isn’t available in print editions.
“We could not be more pleased to be a part of the STEPP Project (STudent E-rent Pilot Project), an effort that should be applauded for its mission to level the playing field in higher education. The economic realities of earning a college education make it paramount that all students find savings, and this program ensures that students with print related disabilities can not only enjoy the cost benefits, but also capitalize on the countless digital efficiencies of eTextbooks that their peers have appreciated for years,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, in a press release today. “It is encouraging that so early in the program, we are already meeting our goals and we look forward to continuing to work with AMAC and ATN to help ensure all students can enjoy the benefits of eTextbooks.”
While the project’s main focus was to attempt to reduce the cost of student textbook expenses by 50% over print edition purchasing, an objective that the project achieved, an additional goal for the program was to drastically reduce the cost of textbooks for students who required specialized texts due to a disability.
According to the release, “the STEPP project, initially announced in October 2010 and designed to offer eTextbooks that are specifically modified for accessibility in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, marked the first time students with disabilities could enjoy the benefits of significant cost savings inherent in an eTextbook rental program. The eTextbooks that are part of the program are digitally formatted for qualified students and distributed through CourseSmart.”
As the project results indicate, there are both financial and accessibility benefits to digital textbooks, especially when the rental option is available to students who would otherwise be required to purchase print.
CourseSmart is one of the industry’s largest companies that focuses on etextbooks. They have a strong presence in the USA, UK, and Europe for digital textbook distribution. The company currently serves over 3.3 million users worldwide and represents 90% of US core higher education course material. Currently, CourseSmart is available at around 1,000 American campus bookstores. Today the company is expanding further into the United Kindom with a new partnership with Blackwell’s.
Blackwell’s will integrate with CourseSmarts extensive library of content to offer its customers a wide range of etextbooks and resources through its website and physical stores. This partnership will enable Blackwell’s to supply 21st century etextbooks around the clock for its customers. It will also deliver cost savings to students with CourseSmart rentals (of 180 or 360 days) available at up to 50% off the purchase price.
“At Blackwell’s, our priority is always to provide our customers up-to-the-minute access to the best textbooks and digital course materials,” said David Prescott, Managing Director, Blackwell’s Bookshop and Online. “We have selected to work with CourseSmart in the UK because we believe their technology platform meets the needs of today’s students by being both interactive and inclusive, bringing a valuable addition to the Blackwell’s portfolio of textbooks both in-store and online.”
Digital Textbooks in the student arena are gaining more traction in the industry. With the success of tablets and e-readers, many students are scrapping their physical textbooks and moving into a most cost effective digital frontier. CourseSmart today announced that it has saved students more than $100M on etextbooks and digital course materials since it was founded in 2007.
In the educational segment, Coursesmart is one of the leading companies to provide a comprehensive service that allows students to save up to 60% by going digital. In the USA and United Kingdom, the company offers 90% of the core textbooks in use today. They currently offer over 30,000 titles from over 33 publishers.
“CourseSmart was founded on the principal of expanding access to higher education by offering students significant savings on their required course materials, and as thecost of earning a degree continues to rise, it is essential that students have digital options. We could not be more proud of reaching this significant milestone of saving students more than $100 million dollars,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart. “CourseSmart’s savings go beyond the textbook sticker price, because students can access their digital course materials without having to purchase a dedicated device or specific eReader.”
Coursesmart recently debuted in the UK last month and has been steadily gaining traction for their partners September back to school semester. There is lots of excitement for students to save up to 60% on digital textbooks and have an alternative to the bulky ones they have known all their lives. CourseSmart announced today their new eCommerce platform in the UK and Europe.
“The world of textbooks is changing. Through the proliferation of tablets, handheld devices, laptops and computers, the academic world is moving online and engaging with students like never before. We are very excited to be at the forefront of this evolution,” said Fionnuala Duggan, Managing Director of CourseSmart International. “The eCommerce platform will help students to save money, instructors to engage online, publishers to access a developing market and booksellers to be part of this significant development in publishing.”
Basically the new platform actually allows students to buy the books they had free samples of. The Online Sampling Platform allows you to instantly preview and select eTextbook titles for use in specific courses. With the advent of the new eCommerce platform students can now buy the books they want and read them on on a myriad of platforms. You can read the books online directly from the CourseSmart website or their various apps for mobile devices and tablets.
Students can make highlights and annotations on the books they buy and the books actually maintain the page fidelity and preservation, mirroring the print edition’s page numbers, full text, diagrams, illustrations and charts. You also gain the ability to ability to cut and paste as well as email sections, notes and highlighted text.