The e-Text initiative at Rowan-Cabarrus was a success after its first semester (Fall 2014), so we decided to expand it almost immediately. In Spring 2015, we added two English courses to the e-Text listing—both very similar in their content, course objectives and goals for students. In these two courses, we decided to use the same Cengage textbook, but different editions. In ENG-102, Applied Communications II, we used an earlier version delivered digitally through CourseMate. This was a “simple way to complement (Cengage textbooks) and course content with study and practice materials.”* In ENG-114, Professional Research & Reporting, we chose the latest edition of the e-Text, which enabled us to pilot MindTap from Cengage. This was a game changer for us.
Continued Success & Innovation
We quickly discovered how interactive, customizable and complete the MindTap platform was. In Fall 2014, we were only using MindTap readers (not full courses) and CourseMate to deliver our e-Texts to students. Some courses were using accessible PDFs while more advanced, digital options were being developed. At that point, we hadn’t yet crossed into the realm of online-only course solutions. That would come in the spring of 2015.
As the semester went on, our excitement and anxiousness about the possibilities with MindTap grew. We knew having all this innovation in one place would help us expand the initiative across the college, but we were starting to realize the platform could also enhance the educational experiences of our students. Throughout the spring and summer of 2015, we pinpointed e-Text courses that we could transfer from MindTap Readers or CourseMate to full, MindTap courses. We also increased the impact, jumping from 11 e-Text courses to over 25 in just one year. In Fall 2015, e-Texts were moving beyond Liberal Arts into other divisions of the College.
Expansion & Support
As we added courses to the e-Text program, we increased support around the College. We held trainings and drop-in sessions in August, January and May, enabling students to make appointments or drop in to the tutoring centers for hands-on help as needed. I put my personal contact information in every e-Text course so students could reach out to me with any challenges or questions they encountered. Rowan-Cabarrus made sure that the faculty and staff who were in direct contact with students every day were trained, comfortable and empowered to teach students how to use e-Texts for the first time.
In Fall 2016, even more courses made the jump to e-Texts, including Developmental Math, Curriculum Math and Computer Information Technology. By Fall 2017, the College will be roughly 60% e-Text, with Accounting, Literature courses (we never thought we would see that due to copyright!) and even Physical Education likely making the switch. While we could sit back, admire our progress and watch as adoptions continue to steadily increase across the College, I’ve got to be honest—we want more. We’ll always want more for our institution and our students. That’s where Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 come into play. Until then.
*“CourseMate”, n.d., para. 1. Retrieved from https://www.cengage.com/learningsolutions/demo/cmate