NEXT: OER - Myths, Realities and Results in Today’s Classroom

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Tue,06/12/2018-11:18

The core benefits of open educational resources (OER) are decreased costs for students, as well as increased access and engagement. These benefits address some of the central challenges facing higher education. So, why isn’t that translating into more widespread adoption of OER?


According to recent research from the Babson Research Group, the number of faculty members at two- and four-year institutions using OER as course materials has nearly doubled in the last year. However, that only equates to 9 percent of faculty using OER during the 2016-17 academic year.


After thousands of conversations with faculty across the U.S., Barnes & Noble Education (BNED) has pinpointed three central concerns related to OER adoption: awareness, change and choice. The concerns are valid, but OER can provide meaningful answers and solutions for teaching and learning. To dispel some of the OER myths and questions that often arise, here are the realities, based on faculty feedback and results.



Most faculty know about OER resources through providers such as OpenStax. However, there can be confusion over the use of “OER” to reference both stand-alone e-textbooks and the online learning platforms that match those e-textbooks with a complementary set of resources. It often leads to the question, “Why would I pay for something that’s free?” The answer is simple: a significant amount of effort and resources go into building advanced OER courses in a learning platform such as LoudCloud. The small fee associated with these digital courses covers the on-boarding, training and deployment of the platform and the courses.


An e-textbook alone simply doesn’t meet the needs for today’s faculty and students. BNED Courseware, powered by LoudCloud, includes original content such as videos, PowerPoint lecture slides, activities, practice exercises and assessment that represents a complete courseware solution — all tied to learning objectives. Faculty and subject matter experts create and curate this content, ensuring that it’s accurate, up to date, and peer-reviewed where appropriate.


These OER courses offer significant value to the faculty and students who are searching affordable digital courseware alternatives. BNED Courseware brings the best of both worlds: the embedded OER textbook and all the additional course resources to go along with it.


Perhaps even more importantly, BNED Courseware offers analytics and reports that give faculty insight to student performance. It’s a valuable tool in identifying students who are struggling and need early intervention to help them get back on track.


“With the analytics we’ve been experimenting with this year, we can, for the first time, take steps to help students succeed even before they have a poor performance on an exam to drag down their grade and, even better, before they even start the course,” said Dr. Dan Krane, Vice President of Faculty at Wright State University and Professor of Biological Sciences.



Faculty aren’t just advocates for what they need to be successful – they are tireless advocates for their students. If they’re going to make a change in how they teach, it must result in a positive experience for everyone. So, even faculty seeking more resources and support can be hesitant to add another online platform to the mix, especially when they’ve already invested so much time getting comfortable with their learning management system (LMS).


The advantage of BNED Courseware is that it fully integrates into the campus LMS. Students won’t even realize that they’re moving between platforms with the Single Sign On access to OER Courseware from their school’s LMS. The interface is clean and simple, and the platform is fully mobile. Students can easily read text and move through their learning path on their phones or tablets. It’s about simplicity and flexibility to work within their own preferences and schedules.


Faculty are often surprised by the amount of quality instructional support that is available with Courseware and how similar it is to other learning platforms in terms of functionality. The level of customer support available from BNED also surprises even the most experienced OER users. BNED Courseware is not just a platform, it’s a service — and it offers support that extends beyond the relationships faculty already find in their campus bookstores.



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Lowering the Cost of Course Materials

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Mon,06/04/2018-11:50

Just like you, Barnes & Noble College is always striving to provide the lowest cost options for your students on the course materials required for their success.  For print materials, used textbooks are the format of choice for most students with rentals being a close second.

With the increased popularity of eBooks and interactive Courseware, driven by the Gen Z population who are entering our campuses today, we have an even greater responsibility to lower the overall cost of course materials. Your bookstore is addressing this with the launch of our First Day™ model. Providing you with an option to lower the cost on your required digital course materials.  The model provides access within the LMS to digital course materials on or before the first day of class at a reduced price that is included as a course material charge on the student account.  Please contact your Bookstore Manager for more details on this exciting program.

Beginning August 1, 2018, we will be providing another unique opportunity for students to save money through Cengage Unlimited.

Cengage Unlimited is a student choice option designed to lower costs and improve access to learning.  A Cengage Unlimited subscription gives students access to more than 20,000 digital products and 675 courses.  For more details on this exciting new subscription model you can go to: https://www.cengage.com/unlimited

  • Cengage Unlimited will be available to students through the bookstore which accepts all payment methods and special funding
  • The bookstore will offer Cengage Unlimited at the same price as from Cengage directly
  • Students using a Cengage Unlimited will be offered the opportunity to order a print-rental for ($7.99) the cost of shipping and the Cengage Unlimited print rental fulfillment process will be handled by Cengage directly

The bookstore will offer students the option to purchase Cengage Unlimited at $119.99. This option could prove to be a cost saving alternative for those students that will be using multiple Cengage titles in their courses.

As a faculty member, there is nothing special that you need to do!  You still submit your course material order to the bookstore, just include the CU access length along with the other course materials you will be using and the bookstore will continue to offer all of the affordable options available. 

If you are using a Cengage title and wish to let your students know of the potential savings, you should direct them to the bookstore where we can explain the benefits of the program and more.