NEXT: A Courseware Solution for Easy Adoption of OER

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Tue,11/15/2016-09:58

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.”


Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.

Click here to read original article.

NEXT: Five Minutes with John Sweeney

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Thu,11/10/2016-16:55

Our “Five Minutes With…..” feature journeys to Rhode Island, where Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, and Chief Financial Officer for Providence College, John Sweeney, talks about the uniqueness of the institution, his sixteen years as a Barnes & Noble College partner, and why he believes Lincoln can still bring out the best in all of us.

What was your first job?

I was always interested in education, and when I was in grad school, I had some experience with teaching, but at the time, I was heading into the financial sector. About seven years in, I realized you can actually do some pretty beneficial financial things in the wonderful world of education.

How do you describe your current role at Providence College?

I’m the Senior Vice President of Finance and Business — larger schools might break out those two functions, but I like the opportunity of being able to do both here. It means I can be involved in building things while making sure we can find the money to pay for them.

What are you working on right now?

One of the ongoing challenges is how we can continue to increase the value of a Providence College education and allocate the most effective resources to support that. Through hard work and dedication by a lot of people, we’ve been fortunate with improving enrollments and financial matrices for the past six years running — and a lot of that has to do with increasing the understanding of that value and enhancing the Providence College educational experience. A couple of years ago, I happened to meet Lenny Wilkens, a three-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and a Providence College alumnus — and just hearing his story about his college experience and how it helped change his whole trajectory, despite the challenges he faced, was really a testament to the way this place changes lives. You hear story after story like that, and I get to see it firsthand — every day.

What are some of the major changes you’ve noticed happening in higher education?

There’s been a much greater expectation on the institution to be responsive to the changing needs of students. Delivering on those expectations — whether it means establishing a gluten-free zone in the dining hall, an increase in support or career services, or even improvements to the infrastructure and technology of the campus and facilities — they are all representative of a dramatic change in our students’ thinking. We’re also aware of increasing our student diversity — and that’s a broad-based definition. It’s not just about race, ethnicity or religion, but also diversity in geography and in family economics. We’re continually trying to reach out and improve and expand access at Providence College, but how can you make everyone feel welcome and enriched by the experience is a problem that I think all institutions are facing right now.

In your view, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing education today?

Last year, a report showed only 98 four-year public and private institutions graduate more than 75 percent of their students in four years. Fortunately, we’re one of them — we’re one of the 98. Our retention is over 90 percent, our graduation rates are in the mid-eighties, and the vast majority of our students graduate within four years, which is an important expectation of our students, even if they switch majors. We also have a unique, team-taught, four-semester required program on the Development of Western Civilization — literally from Plato to NATO! It’s designed to show our students how different academic fields are woven together to impact history. It’s certainly a tough program, but it aids critical thinking because the world our students are entering is changing fast. Understanding its complexity, whether the student is an accounting major or chemistry major, is going to be key to their success.

What makes for a great campus partnership in your view?

It has to be mutually beneficial. There has to be a willingness to undertake new ideas, and frankly, even accept a certain amount of risk. For us, it’s important to have a partner that understands what we’re about as an institution, and that understanding creates opportunities for both of us. In that regard, Barnes & Noble College is very identifiable. I’ve been involved with the company for some sixteen years (with two schools) and have personally gotten to know so many of the decision makers there, and for a large company to still have that personal touch enables us to get a lot of things done that really benefit our students.

What’s the story you’d most like to tell about Barnes & Noble College?

We were an early adopter of book rentals, and for our relatively small size, it was remarkable how much it saved our students. I think the other point is convenience, when our students are able to pick up their books, pre-boxed and paid for at the beginning of the year. It really creates that convenience they’re looking for and draws them to the bookstore — and I think that’s key to supporting the students and improving their experience. It just isn’t about sales or commission, but those things will happen when you take care of your customers.

Where do you think the biggest opportunity lies for student success in the future?

Everything you do has to be about student success — so our faculty and staff here, wherever they are in the college and whatever their role — have to be geared to that student ...continue »