For all the debate on the widespread changes occurring in higher education today, there has been less discussion about a more fundamental change occurring in college lecture halls and campuses, and that’s the revolution that’s occurring in the way that students want to learn. While campus bookstores haven’t yet seen the anticipated sea change of student preferences from traditional textbooks to digital platforms, the notion that today’s generation of learners has a short attention span is rooted in something more fundamental: they engage, learn and retain information in a new and very different way from their campus predecessors.
After successful pilot programs were conducted throughout the summer, Barnes & Noble Education recently launched next-generation digital courseware that is designed to meet these new learning challenges, while also giving students and faculty access to the most affordable, customizable and easy-to-adopt course materials available.
Encouraged by pilot programs at five different colleges and universities, including Penn State University, Cuyahoga Community College and West Liberty State College, the pilots elicited responses that the courseware was easy to adopt, enabled vital first-day access to materials, and facilitated better learning. “I used to do four exams and my colleague said that was way too much content to ask them to cover,” said Rebecca Witt, Assistant Professor at West Liberty State University. “She said that students navigate the course better if you grade them more frequently. That’s why I started grading them on chapter quizzes. The students liked this better, and courseware makes it easier for me to do.”
It’s also hoped that Barnes & Noble Education Courseware will introduce more faculty and instructors to the opportunity to easily integrate OER (Open Educational Resources) into their course support materials. “Open educational resources are a cost-effective solution for today’s educators, but according to our research, less than five percent of faculty adopts them, primarily due to the effort required to assemble the right materials for the first day of class,” said Kanuj Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Education for Barnes & Noble Education. “Barnes & Noble Education Courseware enables faculty to get started in minutes; easily add, delete or adapt content to match their syllabi; and conveniently access on-campus support,” he added.
Barnes & Noble College’s own research indicates that 69 percent of faculty see their use of OER materials in the classroom increasing, and by building a turnkey, easy-to-adopt courseware solution on a foundation of high quality OER, including OpenStax, the move is designed to create quality, easily implemented digital course materials at a significant reduction in cost.
Powered by Barnes & Noble Education’s LoudCloud platform, there is also the added opportunity for faculty to help monitor student progress and improve learning outcomes. Last month’s launch featured an initial offering of ten general introductory education courses, including Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Macroeconomics, U.S. History 1 and 2, Developmental Math, English Composition 1, Introduction to Sociology, Microeconomics, Introduction to Non-Majors Biology and Developmental Reading/Writing. The modules can be purchased securely through any one of the Barnes & Noble College campus bookstores nationwide, and are now available for colleges and universities to adopt for the Spring 2017 semester. In addition to the digital courseware, a print companion option will also be available so students can learn in the format that best suits their needs.
“We want to empower educators with the right insights, at the right moments, to help their students succeed,” Malhotra said. “Barnes & Noble Education Courseware gives faculty and administrators the tools to improve personalized learning and retention at a significantly lower cost to students, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to driving student success at each campus we serve.”