eTextbook Trends: CourseSmart makes progress.

—- the Gilfus Education Group is tracking progress in the eTextbook marketplace and will be posting updates as various vendors make headway in providing education institutions with new capabilities.  —–

CourseSmart Partners with Select Higher Education Institutions to Provide Instant Access to eTextbooks — Faculty at Universities Across the Country Will Have Direct Access to the World’s Largest Catalog of Digital Learning Resources in Higher Education —

SAN MATEO, Calif., July 12, 2010 – CourseSmart, the nation’s largest digital course materials provider, today announced the launch of a new, custom-designed program for universities and colleges across the country, which provides faculty members with easy and convenient access to eTextbook formats of more than 90% of the most popular textbooks. CourseSmart’s Faculty Instant Access Program enables authorized faculty members the ability to gain immediate access to an ever-expanding library of digital content while connected to an institution’s Learning Management System or Campus Portal. CourseSmart developed the “Faculty Instant Access” program to allow seamless, single sign-on access for instructors, creating a significantly more efficient way for them to find out about, access, evaluate, and use complete eTextbooks and other digital learning resources from the world’s leading publishers.

As the exclusive provider of eTextbook evaluation copies, all faculty at the nation’s colleges and universities have the potential to use CourseSmart to find and evaluate textbooks and resources, and view materials anytime, anywhere. The Faculty Instant Access program is initially being rolled out to a select group of innovative higher education institutions to provide their faculty with an optimized eTextbook experience, offering improved access within their respective campus systems for expanded review opportunities of all core higher education eTextbooks and new digital learning tools.

Faculty members at the universities that have been invited to participate, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will be the first to have access to this program. The Faculty Instant Access program provides instructors with real-time on-demand access within their campus systems. These systems include Learning Management Systems such as Moodle, Sakai, Desire2Learn and Blackboard, as well as Campus Portals such as SunGard Luminis, Datatel Portal and uPortal.

“Digital content capabilities are rapidly changing the way that institutions, instructors and students access and use educational materials. The new Faculty Instant Access program creates a more streamlined evaluation-to-selection process for instructors while introducing them to digital tools that can enhance their students’ classroom experience and ease their administrative burden,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart. “As a result of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, faculty are under pressure to select the best materials for their students faster and sooner than ever before. In creating this new program, we are focused on supporting institutions and their faculty members as they embrace the digital transformation of education and make the often time consuming process of selecting course resources as digitally efficient and simple to manage as possible.”

CourseSmart’s advanced enterprise architecture, leveraging the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability [LTI] standard and other widely-used authentication protocols like Shibboleth, ensures a secure, flexible and lightweight integration within a campus enterprise system, including almost any LMS or SIS platform. With its architecture, CourseSmart provides each school with ‘single sign-on’ (SSO) access to its respective campus system and provides faculty with privileged access across the entire CourseSmart system and catalogue. Further, CourseSmart’s program offers a reader through its downloadable Mac and Windows version that addresses all accessibility standards, ensuring all faculty members who are blind or have low vision are able to take advantage of the Faculty Instant Access program.

CourseSmart has the world’s largest catalogue of digital course materials and is the easiest way faculty can evaluate textbooks while also helping students save money and get instant access to their assigned course materials, taking advantage of 60% cost savings and digitally efficient capabilities of CourseSmart’s eTextbooks, including:

  • Anytime, anywhere access to materials via or through various mobile devices and tablets, including the iPhone and iPad
  • Search function for topics within a single book or across an entire eTextbook stack
  • Highlighting and note-taking capabilities within the eTextbook, which can be easily recalled or searched
  • Access to Table of Contents
  • Page fidelity and preservation, mirroring the print edition’s page numbers, full text, diagrams, illustrations and charts
  • Ability to cut and paste as well as email sections, notes and highlighted text
  • The choice to print only what one needs

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About CourseSmart

CourseSmart provides eTextbooks and digital course materials that improve the educational process by offering students and instructors a unique combination of the right course material, anywhere, any-time access and a low cost. As the nation’s largest digital course materials provider, CourseSmart has a rapidly growing digital library of more than 90% of core college textbooks available in higher education, the same titles produced by major publishers in print and recommended by faculty across North America. The company’s eTextbooks can be purchased for an average of 60% less than print texts and offer users the ability to print what they need as well as search and copy and paste features that help to streamline students’ studies.