The progress and changes that moved through the college store industry and course materials market over the past eight years continue to excite me. This blog reflects many of those developments, and The CITE passed its fifth anniversary earlier this month. In that time more than 85,000 unique visitors from 178 different countries visited the blog. By the time you read this entry, The CITE will have passed its 1,500th posting.
The coming years will be full of change for those interested in course materials, innovation, technology, and education. Whether MOOCs, adaptive learning systems, emporium models, gamification, or something else, it is clear that innovation and technology will comprise a progressively larger part of education and course materials.
Learning anywhere will continue to grow in effectiveness and scalability, and learning may increasingly be measured more by its outcomes than classroom contact hours. Big data, learning analytics, neuroscience, and other advancements will yield new insights from data, helping each student reach his or her full potential, and creating possibly more efficient channels for designing and delivering new products and services.
And those are just the beginning. If you still think that change is three to five years away, then you are already five to six years behind.
College stores, particularly independent stores, are at a strategic inflection point. Whether the future is more promise than peril depends on how the industry positions itself. The industry must address a range of retail technology shortcomings, and get better at communicating its story and value to a wide range of stakeholders. The incumbents who survive disruptive or breakthrough innovations are those who create networks of strategic partnerships, and experiment both creatively and with strategic intent. They are willing to admit that they must change, and then do. Put another way, “Smart goes up. Stuck goes down.”
I often joke that I am unable to say “hello” in under 50 words. Saying goodbye is certainly no easier. Thanks to my many colleagues and friends in NACS, among the college stores, and well beyond. I have so enjoyed experimenting, teaching, learning, collaborating, and debating with many of you. I was pushed more than once to reconsider a viewpoint or perspective, and I hope I encouraged the same in return on more than one occasion. I hope that many of our paths cross again, with everyone able to report a happy and successful story.
Many warm regards,
MarkMark R. Nelson, Ph.D., MBA, CAE