Earlier this week, CourseSmart announced a new program that will provide faculty with improved access to e-textbooks and now Blackboard has announced several significant partnerships to make accessing e-textbooks easier.
On Wednesday, Blackboard announced that is partnering with McGraw-Hill, Follett Higher Education Group, and Barnes & Noble. The partnership with McGraw-Hill will give instructors and students the ability to search McGraw-Hill Connect, the company’s e-textbook catalog, through Blackboard Learn. The catalog currently features 250 titles in 34 academic disciplines. The partnerships with Follett and B&N will allow students to purchase and access the assigned materials in Blackboard Learn.
According to the press releases, Follett’s Cafescribe and Barnes & Nobles’s NOOKstudy will also be integrated with BlackBoard learn. The CafeScribe Blackboard Building Block is already available but the Nook Blackboard Building Block will not be available until later this year.
This news follows last week’s announcement that Blackboard has acquired Elluminate and Wimba. Both companies are leading providers of online learning and student collaboration tools.
The tools can be used in a variety of ways including support for distance learning courses and to facilitate collaboration on campus with virtual office hours, tutoring, or team meetings. According to a posting on the Blackboard blog, Blackboard’s clients utilize the technologies from Elluminate and Wimba so Blackboard acquired both to serve their whole community.
In the press release, Michael L. Chasen, Blackboard President and CEO noted, “We've heard directly from our clients that this technology has become increasingly fundamental to the learning process for the online course experience and beyond. Collaboration technology is joining the range of solutions that our clients are leveraging to support and improve the teaching and learning experience. We expect this will grow as institutions look for cost-effective ways to encourage social learning and support learning interactions of all kinds."