The Direct Network

Helping Students with Digital Orders

Posted by Carrie Watkins on May 21, 2015 11:56:00 AM
Topics: digital content, Higher Ed, K-12

You’ve made it. You wanted to change your course materials to better reflect the learning opportunities you have in your classroom with your school’s technology initiative. So you combed through the digital list MBS Direct provided you, probably did a little research on your own, and you’ve found the digital material that meets what you want your students to learn next year. Congratulations. You deserve the chocolate-covered treat of your choice.

In a few months, your students will be logging in to their bookstore and ordering the materials that you so carefully selected. Are they ready?


To help your students and families prepare for the additional digital formats available this year, here are a few things you might consider making available to them prior to their bookstore open date:

If you adopted a VitalSource™ eBook

1. Help set expectations by letting your students and families know that they will be able to purchase a VitalSource eBook for the class. Let them know if this is an option for them to purchase or if you will be requiring all students to have the digital version. It may be helpful to explain your reasons for the change – cost, learning functionality, etc.

VS_3way2. Encourage them to download the platform on the devices they think they will use most during the coming year. This will prompt them to create an account with VitalSource, which they will need after they purchase the material. Even if the student doesn’t have the device from the school yet, they can still download the platform to a home computer or a personal device. They will probably use those for studying, too. Students can install the app or platform on up to four devices – two computer-based devices (desktop or laptop) and two mobile devices (phone or tablet). Students can always deactivate and add new devices as things change.

3. Provide support materials before they purchase. Feel free to link to our digital support site, or take information from the site to include on your own school or class website. VitalSource also has a number of great video tutorials on the specific functionality of the platform. Accessing the content for the first time is simple, but sometimes students like to know the process ahead of time. You can link to this video or even embed it in your website.

4. Familiarize yourself with the functionality of the platform. As faculty, administrators and IT, you will probably get your share of questions about how things work. Be sure to have the links above handy, but it never hurts to know the basics, such as taking a highlight or sharing notes among a study group. The more comfortable you are with the platform, the better the student experience will be. If you would like a demo of the platform, please let your account manager know, and we’d be happy to walk you through it.

If you adopted an Access Code

1. Help set expectations by letting your students and families know what they will be purchasing for next year. Access Codes typically show up in the bookstore as new options, and often include “site access” or “super site access” in the name of the product. They are set up as new only purchases because codes typically cannot be reused from year to year.

2. Help students understand what will happen after they purchase the material. Different publishers have different processes for access codes, so your account manager can provide information on the process for the material you adopted. If the student will receive a physical card with the access code, inside the accompanying book, for example, make sure students know this before they purchase. Or the student might need to be on the lookout for a confirmation email with a link. And for some material, the student will only receive a receipt of purchase that they will need to bring in at the start of class for the teacher to add them to the online material. Again, your account manager can help you understand which process your material follows.

3. Familiarize yourself with the platform. Understand if you need to do any setup prior to the start of class, and if you need any help with that. Contact your account manager if you have any questions about setting up your class within the platform.

If you adopted a digital course pack

VS_mobile1. Similar to the eBook and Access Code products, set expectations by letting students know in advance the type of material to expect when they place the order. The default for course packs is to have both the print and digital options available on the bookstore, but if you want just the digital option available, be sure to tell your account manager when you submit that adoption.

2. When students purchase a digital course pack, they will get an email with information on how to access the material. It will typically include an access code they will enter on the course pack provider’s website, where they will access the material you put together. Let us know if you need help with verbiage for your website that explains this process.

3. If you selected the digital format, either required or optional, familiarize yourself with the platform. Both our course pack vendors have excellent digital platforms for their material, including notes, highlights and offline access. Talk to your account manager to get videos on the reader for the course pack vendor you used.


About Carrie Watkins

Carrie is a former digital consultant for MBS Direct, who specialized in traveling around the country to learn about new products and services MBS Direct can provide to partner schools and bringing those ideas back into the office to work on with the digital solutions team.

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