Monday, October 29, 2012

Digital Content Opportunities

Digital Content Opportunities
It isn't often that I find a published article that fairly and comprehensively covers a subject, but a recently published article in EDUCAUSE Review about digital content is one that is well worth reading.  Although the orientation is understandably towards technology, many stakeholder perspectives are represented.
Here are some highlights which I think are worth consideration:
1.  Course Materials Committees — although the focus is exclusively on e-content, the importance of establishing a "Course Materials Committee" is reflected throughout the article — engaging students, faculty, library, IT accessibility, and business professionals in an open dialogue.  Many campuses have done this and I recommend the group not limit the discussion to e-content, but include textbook affordability and other course material and content alternatives.
2.  Varied Options & Partners — repeated in many ways is the need to test the waters with a variety of pilot programs, various content platforms, and different business models.  College bookstores have been engaged in digital content initiatives since at least 2005 and continue to seek new alternatives including the Campus e-Bookstore digital content platform.  Campus CIOs have also been actively engaged in the process, as evidenced by the Internet2 pilot programs.  But the campus libraries also need to be engaged in one, coordinated discussion in the context of the e-resources they provide.
3.  Assessment of Successassessing the results of pilot programs is important to determine the most successful options for students and faculty in terms of learning outcomes as well as affordability, but there are also enrollment management implications when considering the metadata that may be available with e-content.  Data collected about how the e-content is used can indicate to an instructor when a student is not using the materials or otherwise challenged.
4.  Institutional Collaboration — the opportunity to form partnerships with other institutions of higher education on e-content programs will not only help satisfy central system directives to collaborate with other schools as a way to save costs.  It also has the potential to pool resources and expertise while leveraging buying power that can help to reduce costs for the institutions and their students.
The full article can be accessed at the following link:
Enjoy this article and consider how your bookstore is engaging with the many stakeholders to this important discussion about improving learning outcomes, textbook affordability, and ultimately — student success.
Written by Guest Blogger, Jeff Nelson, Director, Bowling Green State University