There are a variety of reasons to consider creating a custom course pack, including lowering the cost of course materials for students and adopting more curriculum-specific content. And there are many different ways to create this custom content, ranging from completely hands-on (where the instructor chooses each resource individually), to a concierge approach, which engages a team of experts to complete the entire process. So why aren't more instructors choosing this option?
According to MBS Direct's Senior Digital Consultant Carrie Watkins, the subject of custom course materials comes up frequently. "At least once a week I get a school that wants more information or a demo of the [eText Builder] site," she said. "The ability to customize the content to not only meet the specific objectives of a course but also make it easy to find the right materials has apparently been a major unmet need for our partner schools."
These are a few of the questions Watkins hears most often when talking with faculty members:
1. How much work is involved?
Even with access to a comprehensive database of more than 8 million copyright-cleared articles, book chapters, primary source documents and more, MBS Direct's eText Builder makes the entire process easy. To get started, faculty simply search by keyword, author, title or ISBN to find the content they want to include from the repository. They can also upload their own content. At any point before completion, resources can be removed or rearranged.
Assembling course materials tailored to a specific curriculum is even easier than you think — watch the MBS Direct eText Builder in action.
2. How much will it cost?
Because the student will only pay for what's included in the final pack, the price is variable — and entirely in the hands of the course pack designer. Materials can always be added, replaced or removed to adjust the price before the finished product is adopted.
Original materials like syllabi and lecture notes can be also be included, for no additional charge.
3. Will it check for copyright?
The final product is copyright-cleared for the semester, term or an agreed-upon duration. This means that faculty can rest assured that all of the included content is being used correctly.
4. Why is this better than just linking them in my LMS?
If faculty only have a few outside resources, then adding links in an LMS may be a great option. If they're using several resources, or if the outside resources are lengthy, then creating a separate course pack could be a better solution. Other factors to consider are how frequently the LMS is updated and how much control faculty members have over the content within the LMS. Or what will happen if the outside links are changed or the content is removed by the owner? Having a copyright-cleared, professionally-constructed course pack eliminates these issues.
5. What formats are available?
Custom course packs are available in print, digital or a combination of the two and are assigned an individual ISBN to make reordering even easier. In the digital format, video clips and other rich media can also be included.
6. What if I can't find what I'm looking for?
To request additional resources, faculty can fill out the form in eText Builder under "Locate My Content" with as much information as possible, then the team at XanEdu will research it. If the majority of what the faculty member wants is not in the respository or isn't material they have created themselves, they can simply use our traditional course pack process through LAD Custom Publishing or XanEdu.
For faculty members who would like an even easier process for custom course pack creation, XanEdu offers "Concierge Service," where all of the research and construction is completed by their team.