This blog is dedicated to the topics of Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education. it is intended as an information source for the college store industry, or anyone interested in how course materials are changing. Suggestions for discussion topics or news stories are welcome.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Retail Transparency- What does it mean for you?

Here’s an interesting read  that speaks to retailers getting ready for new technologies that  will bring new store transparency.  The author, having recently attended NRF Big Show, says that now that stores have the technologies available that will give the same opportunities to reach shoppers and influence their behavior as in digital channels, stores will need to make the necessary changes in order to take advantage of the insights this new retail transparency brings.   
Some of the technologies in the article talks about Bluetooth tracking, Wi-Fi-based tracking, heat maps, interactive digital signs, targeted ads deployed within the store, point of sale at the shelf, and various combinations of these are all available in turning the store black box into as formidable of a competitor as the e-Commerce site.  These new tools will let stores know much more about the operations of the store than ever before but all the new data and analytics will not mean much if retailers do not take action based on them. 

“In this era of transparency, it's not enough to solicit feedback from shoppers - passionate or otherwise. Just like people get frustrated with negative product reviews that don't result in any correction of product flaws, they will get frustrated with getting asked for advice about "their" store and then having that advice ignored. Not all advice has to be taken, but if it's not taken, there should be some acknowledgement and a brief explanation of why that particular idea is difficult or not the highest priority.”
Here are three recommendations from the article:
  1. 1.       Measure store managers on sales conversion rates based on minutes spent per customer, not on sales per hour and labor as a percent of sales.
  2. 2.       Connect store managers and employees to each other.
  3. 3.       Look at how the store can market itself.

The first two may seem less relevant within the college store industry today, but the third hits home.  College stores must increase their capability and sophistication at "telling their story" both on and off campus.  Stores must market themselves in new ways focusing on value and outcomes wherever possible.

Monday, January 30, 2012

1/3 of US Adults Own an Ereader or Tablet

According to this study the number of adults who own either a tablet or an Ereader jumped to 29% in January from 18% in December 2011.  The ownership of devices doubled from 10% to 19% just between mid-December and early January.  This article states since there was no new Apple products during that period and assumes that a large share of the growth can be attributed to Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Page Turning Technology

Check out this video that demos the new page turning technology developed by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.  The demo shown in the link was implemented using a private Apple API.  With South Korea planning on going all digital we can expect to see more innovations coming out of that country.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Responses to Apple's E-textbook Announcement

Here’s a collection of responses from campuses that came after Apple’s E-textbook announcement.  Here are the brief summaries and to read entire responses click here.

“More professors will try making custom textbooks for their courses.”

“Making it easy-to-create books will help authors keep textbooks more up-to-date.”

“Alumni offices and other departments can now enter the e-book world.”

“Apple’s announcement is far from revolutionary, and in fact locks content in the company’s products.’’

“Apple will likely refine its e-textbooks over time, as it did with the iPod and iPhone.”

“The spotlight on e-textbooks will help all players.”

Probably the key takeaway at this stage is that Apple's foray into e-textbooks will help further accelerate awareness and adoption of digital course materials.  A great thing for companies and retailers that are already positioning themselves in that direction.  Perhaps not so great for those who still think digital does not matter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

5 Things a Consumer Wants

A recent Chronicle article suggests that with the mainstreaming of e-books there should be more reader-friendly services such as the following:
  1. Let me subscribe to my favorite authors. 
  2. Keep books updated for one price.
  3. Buy a print copy, get an electronic copy too. 
  4. Give more of my money to authors.
  5. Indie bookstores should sell e-books. 
If I could pick one of the 5 myself, I would go with #3.  And if I were to add one to the list -- it would be, let me more easily lend or share my digital books.  My wife and I like to share books, but too often we are unable to do so with our ebooks -- unless we were to trade our devices.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

E-books Continues Growth

USA Today’s Best Selling Books data reports that for 42 of the top 50 titles, the e-book editions were the most popular format according to sales data from December 26 to January 1.  For e-books, “the two weeks after Christmas is what the two weeks before Halloween is to pumpkins,” says Michael Norris, an analyst with Simba Information.   Norris predicts, after the post-holiday surge, e-books will see more sales in “short bursts and slow trickles” the rest of the year.

In the article, Russ Grandinetti, VP at Amazon says it print and digital sales are both up, but “digital is growing significantly faster.”  He also says, “For anyone who cares about books, it’s never been a better time to be a reader.  The choices have never been greater- what to read, when to read it, and how to integrate books into you daily life.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New e-Textbook Pilot

The Chronicle reported recently that a group of universities will launch a new e-textbook pilot program.  Campuses including Cornell, UC Berkeley, University of Minnesota, the University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin are pooling their buying power and have signed on with one publisher, McGraw-Hill, to provide digital textbooks to a handful or courses at each campus.  This pilot is being paid for by the universities instead of charging students a fee but if the pilot continues, students would pay the fee.

In the article, there is a reference to new data on Indiana’s pilot project that states students saved an average of $25 per book.   The article does not mention whether the savings were compared to new books, used books, or rental books, or how the "savings" was calculated and confirmed. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Digital Books Reached $3.2 Billion in 2011

Juniper Research reports that digital books in 2011 earned about $3.2 billion in revenue and is expected to triple to $9.7 billion by 2016 according. 

“Readers are showing increasing loyalty to digital book and the e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over course of months, rather than years.” says Angela Bole of Book Industry Study Group.

But it doesn’t spell the demise print publishing.  Some analysts believe print for newspapers will become extinct and magazines need to figure out the balance between print and digital.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mobile Payments Will Continue its Momentum in 2012

That is what one article predicts as more NFC enabled phones enter the market and companies sharpen their business models.   The article summarizes significant mobile commerce events of 2011 and provides a snapshot of what the market players are doing in this space.  Here are some of the highlights mentioned in the article:
  • Starbuck Corp. reported having nearly $26 million transactions since January 2011. They also managed to gain wide acceptance for mobile payments without Near Field Communication.
  • Square Inc. announced 1 million users of its mobile payment system.  It processes approximately $11 million each day without NFC. 
  • Google launched Google Wallet with Isis.  Isis gained pivotal partnerships with key industry players.
  • AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile USA are supposedly investing more than $100 million into Isis.
  • Isis signed Visa, Amex, and MasterCard Worldwide to its system.
  • Isis plans to pilot in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas this year.  Consumers using Utah’s transit system can pay the transit fare using the mobile payment system. 
  • PayPal announced its mobile plan without NFC.
  • Smaller companies are signing agreements with wireless carriers for mobile payment options.  Companies like Boku, Danal, and Zong are finding niche markets in the industry.
  • Some predict if Apple launches an NFC-enabled iPhone that would create the market.   Apple owns 31 patents related to NFC technology.
  • A research firms predicts NFC handsets in 2012 will be close to 80 million, a 129% increase from 2011.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Project MUSE Platform Goes Live

Project MUSE's new interface, featuring book and journal content integrated on a single platform, is up and running.  Project MUSE is a leading provider of digital humanities and social sciences content.  The new interface allows you to access over 12,000 scholarly book titles from nearly 70 distinguished university presses and related publishers can now be located and browsed along with the content from MUSE's more than 500 respected journals.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Interactive Books for Adults

Here is a website that posted the “Best Interactive iPad Books of 2011 for Adults.”  While interactive books for younger audiences are coming out in droves, interactive books for adults are not so hard to come by.  According to the article, this sector is under-reviewed and the products can be very costly making it difficult for consumers to decide which book-app is the right choice for them.  The website lists these as the best interactive books for 2011:  Our Choice, The Last Supper, History of Jazz, The Waste Land, Man in Space, On the Way to Woodstock, and Here on Earth.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Textbooks get grade of Incomplete

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by American Public Media on the current state of e-textbooks this week.  They pulled pieces from the interview for the story, but the story was a good public-level capturing of the topics.  You can also listen to the audio version or view the print transcript on APM's Marketplace site.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apple's Major Education Initiative

You can watch Apple’s video that announces three new products that Apple hopes to be a disruptive technology to education.

The first product is called iBook 2, a free app, features digital textbooks for students.  Apple states that they are currently working with some publishers including Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, all of whom have signed on to provide e-books to Apple’s digital store.

The second product is called the iBooks Author, also a free app, that lets authors and publishers create interactive digital textbooks.  The app is basically a powerful tool that allows text, videos, references, and interactive images to be easily embedded into the digital books. 

The final new product is within iTunes U and lets teachers plan their curriculum and gives the ability to communicate with their students.

According to Apple, all of the products are aimed to student engagement and revolutionizing the way students learn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beyond the Bookstore for Publishers

Yet another sign that it is time for stores to change many of their traditional ways of doing business.  A recent article encourages publishers to increase sales and profit through non-bookstore marketing, particularly in light of the trend toward decreased unit sales in print books from traditional outlets.   Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Given the choice, there are advantages to focusing only on non-bookstore marketing.  Here you can sell your content in any format – e-books, printed books, audio books or booklets.  You can also sell it in many more places, including retailers, libraries, corporations, schools and associations.  And in nonretail segments, book sales are sold on a non-returnable basis and you are generally paid more quickly.  If that were not enough, even more benefits accrue through special sales.” 
Here are ten reasons why the author says publishers should invest in the non-bookstore markets.  You can read the details of each recommendation in the article.

1) Compete in a marketplace larger in size than the bookstore segment.
2) Experience growth that is virtually limitless.
3) Take your titles to the potential buyers rather than waiting for them to go to a bookstore.
4) Reduce the competition.
5) Minimize discounting since buyers do not have immediate access to competitive pricing.
6) Sell books on a non-returnable basis.
7) Stimulate increased exposure. 
8) Increase your flexibility in negotiations
9) Improved cash flow, since some businesses purchase your products at list price.
10) Do what you do best.
Now I am sure many stores could articulate reasons back to publishers to encourage continued investment in the channel.  A couple obvious arguments come to my mind, however, that is not the thrust or focus of this posting.  The point here is that stores that want to succeed in the future must look at the trends and begin transitioning to new markets.  Continuing on a path to merely extend or defend what we have always done is a fast path down the spiral of decline.  We must rethink our value, or not be surprised when those who were once our partners are suddenly our competitors.  To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky once again, we must learn to skate to where the puck will be -- not where it is now or has been in the past. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Year Tablet News

Here are some recent news related to tablets:

Google Tablets-   Google announced in December that will launch its own tablet in six months but everyone is wondering whether it’s going to compete against the Kindle or the iPad.  According to this article, some of Google’s supply chain believes Google is targeting the Kindle Fire with its own 7-inch $200 tablet running on Android 4.0.

Nintendo Tablet- This story says Nintendo will launches app store and tablet controller that acts an e-reader that can display books, magazines and strategy guides for the company’s games.

B&N Considers Spinning Off Nook

The Nook for B&N did so well this past season that the company is considering spinning off its Nook business.  The article says that Nook’s business will grow to $1.5 billion this fiscal year and is currently in discussions to expand the Nook internationally.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wiley Publishing's Interactive E-book

Wiley releases new interactive mobile app for the perennial bestseller “The Leadership Challenge.”   The new app called, “The Leadership Challenge Mobile Leader Tool,” allows for daily interactivity for those who use the book as a guide for building good leadership skills.  The interactivity involves things like feedback process to tract and measure performance, practice routines, and inspirational quotes of the day among other tools.  Wiley and apps such as this are setting the ground work for the future of e-books where readers can engage with the content of the book more intimately. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Charming Video Promoting Traditional Books

Here’s a very adorable book trailer video for a short film based on Lane Smith’s “It’s a Book,” a very cute picture book for kids that promotes traditional books.  The video is an exchange between a book loving monkey and a techno donkey.

We came across this video in this article titled “Charmed by Books” published in the Chronicle.  This article is about an experience that a faculty member had when she introduced her class to a collection of old books in the University of Iowa’s Special Collections library.  As first, she was concerned that her smartphone and laptop wielding students would not be as thrilled by old books as she was but after this exercise this is what she had to say:

“Now, I dismiss predictions of the death of the book.  My new certainty that books and reading will endure wasn’t brought about poring over academic tomes or analyzing libraries’ circulation statistics.  It’s a conviction that comes from 15 students, expressions of glee on their faces as they watched one of their members discover the wonders of Reinhart’s Star Wars papercraft.

This winter I've got the sort of warm satisfaction that stems from others' real interest in what matters most to us. My students, they've got books: one on order from Amazon; one in a young woman's head, hoping to make its way into print; and others that many read and loved this term, which they plan to share with the children they'll have someday. I've seen the future of the book. It's in our students' hands.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

Custom Course Materials: Smart or Dumb?

Over the next few months, leading up to, during, and following CAMEX, NACS Media Solutions (NMS) will be promoting a "Grow Custom, Grow Green" initiative in the college store industry.  This initiative will focus on building awareness and encouraging college stores to develop or adopt business practices in support of the adoption of custom course materials.

A logo for this initiative has been designed and NMS has begun to recruit partners in this promotional effort.  To date we have just under a dozen companies and organizations that have agreed to participate in the initiative -- from large publishers to small startups.  We will talk more about those partners in the weeks leading up to CAMEX.

One of our partners in this effort is the Collegiate Retail Alliance (CRA).  The CRA has been working diligently with publishers and leading college stores in this area -- such as the college store at Broward College in Florida.  The CRA is creating a toolkit for stores to assist in developing custom so that it is easier to grow their custom business.  NMS will support the CRA initiative in several ways, but in particular we hope to facilitate the wider sharing of knowledge and best practices in this area, as well as increase awareness of the value of custom course materials. 

To be clear, this initiative is not about “dumb custom” – i.e., the “custom that is not customized.”  For example, taking a book, ripping off the cover, putting in the faculty syllabus (maybe), and putting a new cover on with the school and faculty member names on it would be considered "dumb custom."  Our focus is on “smart custom” – i.e., custom aggregated content that is aligned or matched to student learning outcomes. Smart custom is created in partnership with faculty and linked to course descriptions, syllabi, and accreditation targets for student learning outcomes. It is in recognition that one of the biggest complaints of students is that the faculty member does not use large portions of the course materials required, and also considers where course materials are headed in the future with increasingly custom course material offerings.

There is ample evidence to show that by building custom (and by that I mean smart custom, not dumb custom) stores can lower the cost of course materials for students, increase the value of the course material product for students, increase faculty satisfaction, increase store and publisher revenues, and create an opportunity for competitive advantage.  It is a strong win for nearly all players.  It is a sound strategy for building market share and driving traffic.  The strategic timing for focusing on custom is now as the percentage of custom is poised to grow and many of the college store's traditional and future partners are focused on customized learning solutions.

Custom does not by default negate book buyback or the used book market.  Many custom books can be bought back.  Increasingly course materials will likely shift away from used books, particularly on the digital side (where there is no used market), but even with print (where growing rental adoption further reduces the used supply or selection).  Beyond that, there are ways to reduce the cost of custom even further (e.g., "binder ready" or "ala cart" versions) in order to make them more competitive with used options in the eyes of students.

Our interest is in growing high-value (i.e., smart) custom which is more aligned to student learning outcomes and in recognition that the old "one-size-fits-all" approach to course materials is beginning to change toward a "just-what-you-need-to-succeed model.   Publishers are moving toward models where they are pressed not not to provide just a standard textbook, but one which enhances the learning outcomes in the classroom.  Custom can also help institutions as they work to differentiate themselves and what they teach. We are trying to increase the intrinsic value of the products being supplied so that when students make a purchase from the college store they know that not only is it the correct materials for the course, but that the materials are there because the faculty member intends to use them in the classroom as a part of achieving targeted learning outcomes. In this way, college stores contribute to student success academically, while also improving the affordabilty of educaiton. 

Smart custom also recognizes that each faculty member teaches a topic a little differently, and moving toward custom is therefore in part about the traditional academic mission of most college stores, the relationship between stores and faculty, and how stores add value to a community.  It also recognizes that the top factors that most faculty consider when making a textbook selection is how the textbook fits "what they want to teach" and "how they want to teach it."  Price is often a distant next factor.  Smart custom helps stores provide faculty with materials that better fit their top two decision criteria, while at the same time reducing costs and increasing relevance/value -- which are top decision factors for students.  Traditional course materials, whether new or used, often no longer accomplish that alignment or level of value delivery. 

Growing custom also allows stores and faculty to better embrace the open source (OER) movement.  If we can develop the proper mechanisms, faculty could choose to blend the OER and commercial content which best fits their interests -- and OER content could be made more visible to faculty. Doing so has the potential to further reduce course material costs.  That makes it less of an "either-or" decision, and more of a "which pieces of content work best together to improve student learning outcomes in my classroom" type of decision.

Focusing on custom is not just about store sales.  Done right (again, smart custom, not dumb custom) focusing on custom can reduce cost and increase value for students.  Is it good for bookstore sales?  I hope so -- sales should increase if the value delivered increases.  More importantly, it is about strengthening the alignment of the store to the academic mission it was created to serve.  Custom (whether digital or print) is going to be a growing part of the course materials landscape in the years ahead and stores would be unwise to ignore the market opportunity, or the student value proposition.

So watch for more news, announcements, and information about the NMS Grow Custom initiative in 2012.  We aim to build awareness and grow the volume of custom course materials available through stores.  We will have several activities at CAMEX focused on the Grow Custom initiative and our partners.  We will be updating our website to list our partners and provide links to information on their products and services.  You can also complete an Interest in Participation Form to learn more about this or other current NMS initiatives.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Apple Rumors

Couple of Apple rumors to report for this post.   First, Digitimes reports that Apple will introduce two versions of its new iPads next month at the Macworld/iWorld conference.  According to CNET, sources working with Apple says the new models will target the mid and high end customers, while keeping iPad 2 to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The second rumor floating around is that Apple is going to make a big announcement at the end of this month related to Apple’s entry into the textbook market.  According to this article, the event is expected to be held in New York City due to the concentration of publishers headquartered there.  Sources say the announcement will be focused on iTunes University, a content sharing platform, and iTextbooks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Libraries as a Retail Outlet

Peter Brantley (Internet Archive) is probably one of the more interesting and vocal folks in the library community regarding digital -- at least in terms of those we hear often outside of the library space.  He has written and presented a number of interesting pieces in different forums. 

Recently on the Publisher's Weekly Blog he took some time to consider the role of the library in the future of publishing and retail, particularly given the "rental" type of model many digital options are moving toward.  He says, "The most important strategic opportunity for publishers rests where it has never before existed: in essence, considering libraries to be their best retail outlet."  Back in 2007 we forecast that libraries and college stores would have increasing potential for overlap.  Some of the points in his piece seem to reinforce that perspective.  It is also interesting (again) to hear how companies like Amazon threaten the future existance of libraries as much as they threaten many traditional retailers.  Again, the potential for collaboration between bookstores and libraries seems like one part of the solution to the challenges and options that Peter describes. 

Peter goes on to note that:
What is important in this observation is not merely the availability of an alternative: It is that the alternative is founded upon an entirely different set of economic and market criteria. What that means is that if market competition dwindles — for example, if a large bookselling chain is forced to ultimately close its doors — publishing is not left with one or two firms operating out of a commercial technology space for whom content is ancillary. Instead, they also have the ability to conduct business through a very different kind of not-for-profit collective that reaches into nearly every single community in the country — constituting a marketing and distribution model that could be replicated to a great extent internationally.

In 2007 college stores, libraries, and IT units sat down to discuss the future of content and information in our areas.  Much has changed in the last five years, and clearly each area is clearly pursuing initiatives with increasing overlap -- but unfortunately, without increasing collaboration.  If each of our areas see survival as an imperative, perhaps it is time to rejoin in conversation, and collaboration, again to pool our strengths and create a joint roadmap for the future.

Of course, we should at first note that the majority (yes, the majority as in over half) of college stores are non-profit organizations tied to the academic mission of non-profit academic institutions.  In many ways, college stores already operate as something of a non-profit collective within academic communities across the country.  Peter suggests some extensions to our traditional model, though, that are intriguing to consider and could be the basis for future store-library collaboration, that benefits publishers, libraries, retailers, and consumers.  Our related "content-with-a-purpose" missions lend us to approaching problems and solutions a bit differently, and those approaches have value.  That value, as Peter notes indirectly, partly lies in providing publishers with alternative channels as a point of leverage against what may otherwise become a fairly monopolistic set of distribution options. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Big Ten to Conduct Digital Textbook Pilot Study in Fall

Here’s a recent report about Big Ten universities conducting a digital textbook pilot study in conjunction with Courseload, Inc.  The universities are working together to develop a pilot study that allows members of the Big Ten schools to purchase a trial package of electronic textbook services.

The universities are trying to learn about the experiences for students and instructors so that they can make future decisions regarding e-textbooks.  The pilot is going to be conducted at MSU next fall and the university is currently looking for faculty participation and wants to involve up to 1,000 students.  The student bookstore assistant manager says he expects “sales to be affected by digital textbooks but bookstores, to some extent, have already started reducing prices to compete with electronic books, but the technology and pricing still isn’t good enough for students to choose them over hard copies.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Phasing Out Paper Receipts

We posted a blog about digital receipts a while back but there is a recent post on the Retail Consumer Experience website that provides another good take on this topic.   This is a website many of our readers might be interested in reading in general, with a number of interesting stories.  We chose to highlight this story as a rapidly emerging technology that has a range of potentially positive business implications for retailers.

Friday, January 6, 2012

E-Book Piracy on the Rise

There has been a recent report that E-book piracy is on the rise especially with the increased sales of e-readers and tablets.  Publishers in the UK issued 115,000 warnings to illegal file sharing websites in 2011, up from 50,000 in 2010, according to the story.  It is believed that illegal downloads account for up to one in five e-books downloaded.  Publishers are trying to work with search engines like Google to reduce the prominence of these sites.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Investors See Opportunity in-Class Social Networking

The New York Times reports that Coursekit, a higher-education social networking company, just raised $5 million in venture investments to expand the company and wider distribution.

According to its co-founder, Coursekit wants “to build what Facebook has done for your personal life, but for your school.”  Coursekit’s software allows faculty to upload homework assignments, answer questions, grade work and facilitate discussions with their students, according to the story.  Coursekit is free for now but the company says its main focus is attracting users, not making money.  Coursekit hopes to gain enough momentum and become one of the “go-to services” that faculty and students use on campuses that is when the company perhaps can have a successful business as a storefront for books and other education-related materials.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Textbook Distribution Study

We recently posted a story on Daytona State College reconsidering going all digital.   This is a follow up to that post.   Here is the article describing the study that Daytona State conducted that led to their decision.  The study was conducted over four semesters with 12 faculty members and more than 1,250. 

The study compared the experiences of students and faculty using four textbook distribution models: print purchase, print rental, e-text rental, and e-text rental with e-reader device.   The following are suggestions for developing a digital program on campus based on the study:

·         Offering faculty the option to teach with e-texts rather than requiring them to do so

This seemed like an obvious one.  We really don’t want to force anything upon the faculty.  Although there was a study from a few years back in the dental school area that found moving to digital in a "big bang" or all at once approach was more successful than transitioning more slowly. 

·         Ensuring that infrastructure is adequate to meet greatly increased demands

According to the study, the students had challenges accessing publisher’s content and had some initial problems with overloading on wireless network.

·         Remedying the technological skill deficits inherent in an open-access student population

This is a quote from the study, “ After teaching with an e-text, one faculty member concluded, “We need to get more students up to speed technology-wise- top spend more time explaining simple tech concepts.” Another faculty was quoted as saying s/he noticed a “huge learning curve for some students or students without much [previous] opportunity to use technology.”

·         Guaranteeing students cost savings large enough to compensate for their initial discomfort and frustration with the technology

Cost savings are a key driver for student adoption, but so is perceived relevance and value. Any initiative focused solely on cost is likely to not achieve its intended outcomes.

·         Providing resources and support for faculty adapting their instruction to fit new formats.

The study suggested digital programs should be supported at every level of the college including programs and departments.  Faculty remain a barrier to digital course materials and there is need for more professional development and consideration of what it will take to get faculty to convert.

Perhaps the real lesson here is to have a digital strategy in advance, and to look before you leap.  While digital course material technologies are maturing, there are still some barriers that prevent wholesale converstion across every discipline or every institution type.  The lessons learned by Daytona State are not surprising, but they are important for other institutions considering similar all-digital moves. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thank you to our readers...

As we reach the end of another year, Jeong, Veronica, and I will take this opportunity to thank the many readers of this blog from around the world, whetheryou follow the CITE occasionally or regularly. A special thanks to those who contributed with thoughts, comments, encouragements and even disagreements.

In the past year, numerous innovations, emerging technologies and other developments affected the course materials and retail industries -- from Borders closing and the rise of the tablet, to new course material providers, growth in price comparison, rapid adoption of rental models, and new legislation. 2011 was an eventful year, and 2012 promises to provide an even faster pace as digital course materials and mobile technologies begin to pass the "knee of the curve" and move toward meaningful adoption. The question, of course, is, "Who will control the channel and markets for the new course material formats?"

In 2012 NACS Media Solutions (NMS) and the CITE will take time to focus on some very specific themes. In line with our "Market Share, Not Margins" theme of the past couple years, this year we will emphasize "Grow Custom." We will take time to highlight companies and technologies that grow 'smart custom', why custom is good business practice, and how custom provides increased value to faculty and students. Our real "Grow Custom" campaign will kick off with CAMEX in March, so stay tuned for that and other announcements and developments.
As for The CITE, we welcome your feedback, as always. Readership was down this year, due in part to the summer hiatus, as well as possibly other reasons. There are far more voices out there now talking about changes in course materials, and so some of the original purpose of The CITE is now somewhat served by others. However, the CITE did earn a top 5 spot among the "50 Best Textbook Blogs" this year, and saw its 1000th posting after passing its third year of existance. Many thanks to our readers -- new, old, regular, or occasional, North American, or abroad.

Hoping for a happy and prosperous new year to you all!!