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NEXT: Enhanced Digital Learning Can Improve Reading

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,12/26/2018-13:40

It’s a problem schools must solve: Many undergraduates hate reading.

 

For years, teachers at good public and private schools have been perplexed about how to help students find joy in a good novel, story or work of creative nonfiction. Many introduce topical texts, movie tie-ins, shorter and shorter works and, of course, the greatest story-tellers, speakers and sentence-crafters they know. Still, students complain over the shortest assigned reading.

 

But students’ reluctance to reading matters. Non-readers suffer in school and on the job. Reading often — and taking on challenging texts — makes swifter, stronger readers, capable of gleaning necessary details from a textbook or careening through a relevant Wall Street Journal article. It also affects many other skills. And those who don’t read lack models for writing. Those who don’t write well can suffer academically or not perform well in many professional contexts. Just ask managers of recent graduates.

 

THE GOOD NEWS

Developing technologies have the potential to rescue reading for the future. Enhanced digital course materials that offer personalized learning and support can bring students back to reading.

 

In higher education, companies like LoudCloud offer several options growing in popularity. It combines open educational resources (OER) with courseware that include e-text, self-grading quizzes and videos. Students can use digital tools to highlight text or make comments with notes. Teachers can access those notes to find out how students are engaging with the text.

 

“These students want simple interfaces for their content that provide enhanced reading experiences,” said Sesha Bolisetty, vice president content operations for Barnes & Noble Education, which owns LoudCloud. “That’s why we included features such as highlighting, note-taking and flash cards into the eBook portion of our Courseware. We also created a built-in functionality that allows students to highlight topics they need help with and send notifications to their professor.”

 

In the past, it’s been very difficult to assess reading skills. It’s a silent, independent process — especially in college. Enhanced digital course materials with quizzes and tracking capabilities allow teachers to “peek inside” a student’s mind and see how they’re responding to material. It takes the guesswork out of knowing when students are prepared for class and it allows teachers to target specific concepts or ideas for review or discussion in class based on students’ needs.

 

In the development of reading skills, enhanced digital materials serve as a bridge. Many reluctant college-age students are struggling readers who need to develop the habits of strong readers. Enhanced digital learning materials make that easier and more intuitive for them. Example: strong readers reread. They review confusing passages and they don’t feel humiliated when they fail to understand something immediately. Less experienced readers, by contrast, give up quickly when they’re confused. They become discouraged and blame themselves or the author for their inability to grasp the meaning quickly. This can make reading a challenging text an exercise in frustration. Strong readers interact with a challenging text— usually by way of taking notes. Weak readers remain passive.

 

Enhanced digital learning materials can turn students into better, more engaged readers who reread passages, take notes or seek help to understand the material. In a collegiate environment, it can help students cultivate habits that will serve them throughout college and beyond.

 

Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.

Click here to read the original article.

 

NEXT: Why Early Access to Textbooks Is So Important

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Thu,12/20/2018-15:32

The number one online tip for college students getting ready to start classes: Read ahead. Buying learning materials in advance — before the start of class — allows students to devote some summer hours to processing the new material. The wisdom of this advice becomes clear when you consider the numbers.

 

A full-time student with a four-class schedule must devote 12 to 20 hours a week solely to reading. That’s not impossible, but when you add in other forms of study — writing, research and test prep — college is a full-time job. Many students are also employed part-time or participate in athletics or music. Some join sororities and fraternities. Plus, most college students want a social life as well.

 

STUDENTS SHOULD PLAN FOR DISRUPTION

Reading before the term starts is fundamentally pragmatic. Whether it’s athletics, concerts, friends or Greek life, non-academic activities can easily overwhelm weekly schedules. And for non-traditional students, the importance of reading ahead can be even greater. Children, bosses and spouses don’t plan emergencies around study time. Research shows that cracking the books before the term starts and staying on top of assigned readings can be the difference between failing and succeeding if an everyday life crisis arises mid-term.

 

A study published in the American Journal of Physics found that 75 percent of students who completed reading before class reported an improvement in their learning. Students in the study were given a critical incentive: weekly quizzes devoted to each assigned reading. The results showed overall improved learning outcomes. Another study published in the journal CBE Life Sciences Education demonstrated that students who read ahead are more likely to interact in class — another source of improved learning outcomes.

 

COURSE MATERIAL PROGRAMS CAN HELP STUDENTS PREPARE

So, how can colleges and universities encourage students to not only buy their books before classes begin, but start reading? One option growing in popularity is inclusive access programs like Barnes & Noble College’s First Day. With inclusive access, colleges build the cost of course materials into student fees or tuition. Because the purchases are guaranteed, publishers are willing to offer these books at a much lower price. Students don’t have to do any extra shopping or budgeting for textbooks — and they save money.

 

Perhaps most importantly, students are guaranteed to have their books before classes start. Studies show that students who have their textbooks experience better academic performance. According to a VitalSource study, 70 percent of students say they would have better grades if they had access to required textbooks and course materials before the first day of class. That means faculty can start engaging students with the material on day one. It means there is more time in the term for assessment, review and discussion — and more opportunity for students to thrive.

 

In addition, faculty to adopt courseware with self-grading quizzes that give students extra incentive to prepare. Introductory courses for majors like biology, psychology and economics often enroll as many as 200 students in a class, who might rightly believe that no one will notice if they haven’t done the reading or don’t have the textbook. Of course, students know they’re struggling to follow the lecture. They know they’re probably not learning as much as they could, but too often they keep telling themselves they’ll get caught up. Then, suddenly, finals arrive and it’s too late to drop the class.

 

Students need all their required course materials in order to succeed in the classroom, but they need them at affordable price points, on the first day of class. By embracing new digital learning material programs like inclusive access and courseware, schools can help their students be prepared, save money and ultimately succeed.

 

Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.

Click here to read the original article.