As publishers continue to move their titles from basic eTextbooks and online resources to highly-integrated whole-course solutions, the array of choices in their catalogs – including eTextbook formats and digital resources — can be overwhelming. A new white paper discusses the customer usage data that has inspired publishers to accelerate their delivery schedules for personalized, integrated course solutions. Here is a list of what to look for when evaluating the latest generation of digital resources:

  1. A streamlined, efficient reading experience and a cohesive, useful set of resources that is available to the student, on demand, in order to make the learning experience easier and more productive – glossaries, pronunciation guides, maps, charts, illustrations, and audio reading capabilities. The only interruptions to the reading experience should be those initiated by the learner.
  2. Everything in one place, including helpful features and utilities, such as the ability to annotate and highlight text, access to library-quality resources, ability to customize teaching and student materials, and the ability to track student progress. Instructors and learners should not have to go to a different “place” in order to access additional capabilities.
  3. An engaging, learner-centric approach that contributes to improved outcomes. Assessment and remediation features should have an integrated, clean, and modern interface that encourages learners to complete assignments, to utilize a self-paced format, and to obtain the right level of assistance – when and if needed.
  4. Adherence to accessibility standards, including built-in audio capabilities, screen contrast and font adjustments, and other accommodations.
  5. A fully-customizable solution – one that enables instructors to add, delete, and re-order content in order to meet the unique needs of their students.
  6. Integration with a wide variety of Learning Management Systems (LMS) in order to make it easier for instructors who teach at two or more institutions or departments to use the same publisher-provided materials across multiple LMS environments.
  7. Platform independence to support the BYOD initiatives that are in place, or in the planning stages, at many higher education institutions.
  8. Social Learning capabilities that make it easier for students to collaborate and communicate with other students and the instructor.

Are you currently using eTextbooks or integrated course solutions in conjunction with your courses? What capabilities would you like to see added to integrated course solutions in the future?  We would love to hear from you.  Please share your suggestions in the comments below.