College Insights · Article

Low-Cost Digital Materials Perfect for Online Classes

July 8, 2020

BNC OER+: Robust Academic Support Across Learning Environments

Just over one-third (35%) of students were taking online courses prior to the start of the pandemic, according to the Barnes & Noble College 2020 National Student Pulse Report. Among these students, online courses most commonly represented 25 percent or less of their overall curriculum. In follow-up research, 90 percent of students said that all their courses had transitioned to online-only as a result of the pandemic.

The transition was rapid — and students told us that it presented immediate challenges. More than half (53%) said the overall adjustment to online learning negatively impacted their confidence in being academically successful. Another 38 percent cited a lack of access to academic support as having a negative impact as well.

As colleges and universities plan for a range of contingencies in upcoming terms, it’s never been more important to equip students, faculty and administrators to move seamlessly between online and in-person instruction. Ensuring students have the resources they need to be successful is vital to smoothing future transitions.


Delivering enhanced academic support for students and faculty

Institutions must meet a variety of existing and evolving needs for their students and faculty to ensure a rich, meaningful student experience across learning environments — and demonstrate value.

Moving forward, students’ need for affordable course materials that they can access on or before the first day of class will only intensify. And, as they move more frequently between online and on-campus courses, it will be even more important that they can collaborate digitally with their classmates and their instructors, learning interactively and getting assistance when they need it. All digital course materials and learning resources also must be mobile-friendly, allowing students to learn whenever and wherever it’s convenient.

In turn, faculty should have a wide range of affordable options for course materials, including digital materials that are packaged with learning tools to provide additional, self-directed student support. Faculty also will need to be able to track students’ progress against learning objectives throughout the term and provide assistance when it’s needed most. The ability to monitor and intervene throughout the semester can help students to stay on course and instructors to manage their time.

“Our students and faculty absolutely love the ease of use and the low cost of BNC OER+.  I love that I am able to run reports to show the areas where my students may be struggling and make adjustments to the program to cover those areas more aggressively.  The built-in practice questions are helping my students to retain the information they just read and they are more successful on the chapter quizzes.  There really isn’t enough time to cover all the wonderful qualities of this program.”

— Teresa Hinkle, Assistant Professor and Criminal Justice Program Coordinator, Somerset Community College – Laurel Campus South

Administrators have an opportunity to meet these immediate needs and prepare for the future. BNC OER+ is a solution that provides students with robust learning tools and resources they can access anywhere — while lowering the cost of course materials.

Meeting affordability, access and achievement goals

BNC OER+ combines the original content found in high-quality OER with expertly curated, faculty vetted, supplemental content such as embedded video, auto-graded practice and online assignments. It includes an e-reader that facilitates interactive learning, allowing students to share content, make flashcards and categorize content for studying.

Regardless of whether they’re taking classes online or on campus, the solution also produces opportunities for students to stay engaged. Within the e-reader, learning features prompt student collaboration and discussion, and students can flag confusing content to their instructors to receive assistance. Additionally, the solution has social capabilities built within to further facilitate collaboration.

To support greater student success, the solution allows both students and instructors a clear picture into individual performance throughout the term. BNC OER+ ties all content and assessments to learning objectives so students are measured on the knowledge and skills they obtain. This creates progress indicators for students, along with analytic insights that alert faculty to students who are struggling with specific learning objectives. Faculty can focus on the students who need assistance and help them get back on course.

BNC OER+ is a turn-key course material solution for schools that face moving their courses online while still providing the support students need to be successful.

Learn more with a demo of BNC OER+.

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