NEXT: Emporia State Builds Awareness on Learning in the Digital Age

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Tue,03/22/2016-09:17

While digital technology has been embraced by entertainment, science, the arts and even finance, in the academic world, it has enjoyed a more restrained reception. “The whole idea of digital learning used to mean little more than a PDF version of an established textbook,” points out Nicole Guerrieri, Director of Digital Education for Barnes & Noble College. “But that’s changing now as digital is being seen as a completely different entity — transitioning to a completely different way of learning.” That transition, and recent insights about how students learn from newer technological platforms, spiked Emporia State University’s Professor of Literacy, Dr. Elizabeth Dobler’s interest, while watching her own four-year-old son navigate the web for the first time. “That experience led to really exploring online reading strategies, and how they’re both similar and different to how we learn in print,” she says.



Dr. Dobler’s interest in digital learning was shared by three of her faculty colleagues at Emporia State which, together with Barnes & Noble College’s Guerrieri and Emporia State’s Memorial Union Bookstore Manager Mike McRell, led to the idea of creating a forum to learn more. “In our early talks planning the conference, we soon realized that this needed to expand beyond just a discussion on e-textbooks,” McRell explains. “It developed into a broader discussion on everything that is going on in the digital world. It needed to include not only how students learn using digital content, but also how our education students — our future teachers — were going to utilize technology in their teaching methods.”

Dr. Dobler agrees. “We came to the conclusion that there was so much to know — accessibility, availability, price — on all of those issues, we thought it was the perfect time to get everyone together and learn more about the pros and cons of digital learning,” Dobler says.

The result was the university’s first Kansas Higher Ed E-Textbook Summit, organized in conjunction with Hornet Connected Learning, Kansas Association for Educational Communications & Technology and Barnes & Noble College. The participants in the event included faculty from Emporia State University and neighboring campuses, as well as students. The summit’s title was perhaps a misnomer as the conference covered more than just e-textbooks. “This conference was really about digital learning,” explained Guerrieri. “Universities face more and more challenges regarding student sucess, and this summit covered everything from changing technology to shifting student learning preferences to costs to time and resources, to how new digital learning platforms can help them achieve that goal.”

The summit covered how technology can help deliver digital content, open educational resources (OER), custom course materials and seamless course material adoption and purchasing experiences. “The Summit allowed for some really varied perspectives, growing from group conversations with a lot of differing opinions,” Dr. Dobler points out.

Participating in several sessions throughout the forum, Barnes & Noble College Research Consultant, Andrea Eveland, said the event highlighted many of the hurdles digital technology faces in the academic setting. “Faculty are already over scheduled, and it’s difficult to devote time to learning new initiatives, so they really need to be able to see clearly the measurable benefits of how it will help them perform their jobs, and how their students will benefit.”



As a researcher, the Summit also provided Eveland with a valuable perspective on students’ attitudes toward digital. “It really brought to life a lot of the research we’ve done at Barnes & Noble College focusing on Millennials and Generation Z, and how their expectations about learning are changing,” she says. An illustration of that is how well digital learning fits into Gen Z’s preference for collaborative learning. “I also think the current high school generation is going to bring with them very different perceptions about digital learning when they get to campus,” she says, acknowledging a generation familiar with a digitized world since birth.

Dr. Dobler agrees, yet points out the advantages of students having options. “The biggest thing I’ve learned from my own research is that students are individuals. We each learn in different ways and have different strengths and areas of growth in our learning. I really believe having the option of both print and digital resources lets students have more control, and therefore greater success, in how they learn,” she says.

Article reposted from Barnes and Noble College NEXT.

Click here to read original article.

Temple University "Fly in 4 Program"

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,03/16/2016-09:37

Working while attending school is something many college students experience.  Last year, Henry Fountain, a freshman at Temple University was working two jobs until he finally quit one of them.  As a result, Temple University gave him $4,000.

Going to school while working can be tedious.  You have to keep up with your studies, while at the same time balance your work schedule and class schedule.  Fountain, now currently a sophomore said “[he] was able to see a dramatic difference” in his studies after he quit one of his jobs.

Currently enrolled in Temple’s first cohort of the “Fly in 4” program, Fountain, like many other students in the program are guaranteed that they will complete their degree on time (4 years) or the university will pay for any remaining coursework that needs to be completed. 

Students enrolled in this program are required to sign an agreement stating that they will do the following:

1.       Consult with an academic advisor at least once a semester.

2.       Register and select courses that are consistent with their academic plan.

3.       Notify their academic advisor immediately if a course in their academic plan is not available.

4.       Complete at least 30 credits a year.

5.       Review graduation requirements for their school/college prior to the start of their senior year.

The goal of the program is to save students time and money by ensuring they graduate in four years.  The program also gives those students that need additional financial support $2,000 per semester if they agree to only work at most 15 hours a week.

Current Temple President, Neil Theobald said “he was troubled to learn some students were working 40 hours a week while trying to graduate in four years.”  Working full-time to pay tuition actually results in costing students more in the long run.  They end up having to extend their time at the university and push back their graduation date.

Studies have found that “nearly half of traditional-aged students work while enrolled in college,” and that working more than 20 hours a week can significantly lower grades.  However, researchers have found that “students that work [between] 10 to 15 hours per week are actually more likely to earn higher grades than those who don’t work at all.”

The “Fly in the 4” program limits the number of hours a student enrolled in the program is able to work and provides them with the financial assistance that is equivalent to what they would be making if they were to work 30 hours a week.

Reducing the number of hours a student has to work frees up time and “[…] need to earn money, so they can reallocate that time to course work and to staying on track to graduate.”

Barnes and Noble College prides itself on building student and faculty success.  We believe in affordability and ensuring that we provide students with the materials they need to enhance their learning.  Click here to read Our Complete Solutions for Faculty and Students.

For more information click here to read the original article, “Paid Not to Work?” from Inside Higher Ed.

For more information about Temple’s Fly in 4 program, click here.

NEXT: A Deeper Focus on Faculty

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,03/09/2016-12:16

Back in the 1970s, the idea of occasionally bringing in professionals, a journalist or a lawyer, to teach a single class in college was considered a sound academic practice. “It was never meant to be an employment model, except to bring in expertise the college didn’t have,” explained Adrianna Kezar, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Southern California, in a recent WHYY, Radio Times broadcast. “But over time, and state budget declines, it’s increasingly become the business model for higher education.” While it’s more likely than not that the professor leading a college class today is outside of the tenure track, the needs of those adjunct teachers, and how they can help their students, can be very different from that of full-time faculty.


This changed landscape for college learning prompted Barnes & Noble College to conduct a recent survey of 1,400 faculty members, and the overwhelming response they received confirmed much about the makeup of today’s university teaching staff. Of those who identified as adjunct faculty, 44 percent taught in a full-time capacity, 56 percent taught part-time, and nearly a third taught at one or more institutions. Already helping support the needs of faculty with learning material adoptions through programs like FacultyEnlight, the research maintained Barnes & Noble College’s belief that adjunct faculty members might need additional support and tools to be successful in ensuring positive academic outcomes for their students. “What hasn’t changed is that faculty, in general, are time crunched, and in response, we’re building a series of programs that we can provide to them as additional resources,” says Jenna Radigan, Barnes & Noble College’s Senior Corporate Marketing Specialist.

An early fix came from a solution the company already had in hand. The Career Now initiative, was developed from research into the career preparedness of students and how that could significantly influence the ability of graduates to obtain fulfilling and rewarding careers after college. “Not only does our research tell us that faculty really want to be able to spend more time helping and preparing students for job success, but it also tells us that they are the number two influencers in careers,” Radigan notes. It’s an important point, especially for adjunct faculty who are most often not provided permanent office space for meeting students after class, and for whom juggling different courses at different campuses can make scheduling appointments particularly challenging.

By making the Career Now toolkit, a program offering resources and in-depth career advice, available to faculty, teaching staff are able to make the best use of their time with students while also offering significant guidance that will help students in their career preparedness. The outreach to faculty, tenured or not, fits well with Barnes & Noble College’s already established presence on the college campus. The research highlights that adjuncts see Barnes & Noble College as a company on whom they could depend, with 66 percent of respondents saying they trusted the brand, and with the majority viewing Barnes & Noble College as a partner in the academic experience for students. The survey revealed that faculty also spend time in their Barnes & Noble College managed campus bookstore with 62 percent of adjuncts and 76 percent of traditional, full-time faculty reporting they visit the store several times throughout the semester.


Whether its adjunct faculty looking for stronger campus ties and better support, or established faculty needing help with developing course materials for their classes, Radigan says the two-year-old Igniting the Faculty Connection outreach program is only just getting started. “Coming up, our on-going communications are going to focus on everything from developing course pack materials to research on Generation Z and their changing expectations about learning,” she says.

With textbook adoption season just about to begin on campuses across the nation, that kind of support will likely be welcomed by all faculty members. “We want to be able to extend our help beyond the adoption process, beyond course materials — beyond just simply the transaction,” Radigan says.

Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.

Click here to read original article.

Student Survey Returns Some Interesting Insights About Customization and Digital Course Materials

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,03/02/2016-16:00

Often times when considering custom course materials, cost savings to students tends to be a prominent argument.  While cost savings continues to be a major concern for students and schools, a recent survey conducted by XanEdu, Inc. confirms that customization along with digital solutions can reduce major challenges in student satisfaction faced by today’s faculty. 

Despite the lower than expected digital textbooks sales over the past decade, some possibly surprising student opinions come to light in this survey.  It’s clear from these survey results that the digital access is becoming increasingly important to students. 50% of students say they prefer some form of digital access to their course materials including laptop/desktop, tablet and smartphone.  And more importantly for faculty, nearly 60% said they would be more likely to use their course materials if they had digital access.

Despite digital textbook sales plateauing in the 5-10% range, this survey shows that today’s college student is seeking a convenient format of hybrid course materials, which gives them the ability to choose print or digital access at a specific moment of need.  This may shed light on a simpler path to improving student engagement and outcomes.   The more convenient faculty can make access to content the better for student usage.  

The modern student has roots in tradition but is evolving with technology and craves a personalized learning experience.  In fact, faculty who continue to use expensive, traditional textbooks are being viewed negatively by students more often. This survey showed 57% of students said they would rate a course as “somewhat more negative” or “much more negative” if a professor assigns an expensive resource.  Faculty have an opportunity to proactively drive down the cost of their course materials to impact the students’ perspective on the quality of their course. 

While many administrations are beginning to promote the use of more cost-effective course materials like custom and OER, the decision to adopt ultimately falls onto the individual instructors. For faculty, cost reduction for students is compelling, but the process of revamping an entire course with OER course materials is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Unfortunately, 50% of college students still believe that their university or college isn’t doing enough to control the costs of course materials.  The disconnect between the interest of the administration and the faculty’s ability to implement a change is the challenge to overcome.

Schools that find ways to help their faculty more easily drive down the cost of course materials through customization and alternative course materials should see an immediate increase in students who have access to/ownership of the material. Additional data collected by XanEdu shows that sell through rates are correlated directly to the price of the material.  For example, at one partner school, the sell-through rates increased from 68 to 100 percent over two school years after employing XanEdu course materials.

Beyond accessibility and alternative content, a large percentage of students find more value in collaborative learning strategies.  According to the same survey as above, 44% of students prefer working collaboratively as opposed to solitary study.  This data tells us that students want and expect a more personalize learning approach across the classroom including the course materials.

In summary, the data shows clearly that students want and expect an interactive and collaborative learning experience.   Course materials that enable collaboration and learning at the moment of need, can significantly improve student access and opinion of the quality of the course and school’s support.  

Click here for more information on how XanEdu can help you implement customization and digital strategies for your course or school-wide.

Data Source: Since 1999, XanEdu has been providing course materials to over 10 million students. XanEdu, Inc. conducted this survey to get a better understanding of generational differences and current/former student learning preferences. This data was gathered was former and current American college students and is statistically significant.