MBS Direct presented the webinar “Navigating Your Digital Content Options” on Dec. 13, 2016. The focus of the program was to educate key higher-ed decision makers on lower cost digital options available to their students.
Carrie Watkins, MBS Direct senior digital consultant, covered four types of digital content options: eBooks, courseware, Open Educational Resources and alternative content, each with their own set of benefits.
“eBooks are high quality and vetted by subject matter experts,” she said. “They are less expensive, but don’t allow for any customization.”
Courseware are usually designed by traditional publishers and have engagement in mind. In most cases, the experience goes beyond embedded videos and includes interactive exercises and assessments, offering more options to instructors.
“With the plethora of material available through the platforms, faculty can pick and choose which elements they want their students to complete,” Watkins said. “The difficulty is they are all different and can range in price from less than $50 to well over $100.”
Open Educational Resources (OER) are more work to organize and distribute to students, however, they are often the least expensive. OpenStax, originating from Rice University, offers textbooks at little-to-no cost. However Watkins says managing OERs can be a challenge.
“Instructors have to comb through them make sure the material they need covered is there,” she said. “They need to be constantly monitored to make sure they are still active and don’t have broken URLs.”
Textbook course packs give instructors the ability to completely customize their materials to carry the messages they desire. From textbooks to interactive media and personal notes, the course packs option offers substantial savings and relevance to students. The MBS Direct eText Builder is a website where faculty can search for specific material and design their unique course materials.
Watkins demonstrated how when faculty adopt these materials, students can save close to $300 per book using some of the digital options on the market today.
MBS' dedicated staff provides fullfillment, consultation and research into the future of course materials for more than 750 higher educational and K-12 institutions. Partnering with a single distributor gives schools simple methods to access a variety of materials with a consistent delivery model. Watkins' team, The MBS Direct Content Solutions Group, works with schools to research low-cost alternatives on an individual basis, making navigating the digital course materials landscape less complicated.