As digital textbooks become more common on higher-ed campuses, providers are making it easy for professors to share textbook notes and resources with students through their class learning management system (LMS) software. The latest provider to do so is Follett Higher Education Group, which announced May 19 that a new standards-based system would integrate its eBook material with popular sites such as Moodle, Sakai, and Blackboard.
Educators who use textbooks supplied by Follett’s CaféScribe, which also brings students together through social networking to form online study groups, can take detailed notes in the web-based format, pointing out the most important lessons to students and fellow faculty.
Until recently, those notes couldn’t be shared on a college course’s LMS, where students go to see class assignments, chat with peers and faculty members, and watch class videos online.
Now, college students will be able to see CaféScribe notes posted by their professors on their LMS web site, and they’ll be able to go directly to the notes via hyperlink, “automatically placing the notes in the context of the eBook and vice versa,” said Bryce Johnson, director of eTextbook solutions for Follett, which is based in Illinois and serves 1,600 campus bookstores nationwide. “Students will not experience this as two software environments, but instead as one learning experience.”
Johnson added: “Our whole desire here is to bring [CaféScribe eBooks] into the online environment. We want to bridge that gap between LMS and [electronic textbooks].”
Flat World Knowledge, a New York-based publisher of open electronic textbooks, also allows educators to link digital books to their LMS sites, pinpointing a certain chapter or lesson if needed, said Eric Frank, Flat World’s president. And educators who use CourseSmart eBooks have “the ability to access CourseSmart content from within an institution’s various campus systems,” Heather Shelstad, the company’s director of marketing, said in a statement.
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