The Direct Network

It's Alive!! Custom Course Materials, Now Even Easier

Posted by Carrie Watkins on Dec 10, 2015 6:00:00 AM
Topics: Higher Ed, K-12, XanEdu, eText Builder, custom course materials
By creating custom course materials, your faculty and staff can provide on-point, cost-effective materials that reflect your curriculum more precisely. And now it's even easier to assemble the right resources — find out how:

Custom Course Materials, Now Even Easier

Course packs used to be the Frankenstein’s monster of academic content – good material from various sources stitched together in any way possible, resulting in a mishmashed compilation and the occasional skewed page. With the help from one of our copyright clearance vendors, we’ve given this monster a makeover.

Earlier this year, we launched our eText Builder, a new site where faculty can search through thousands of articles, case studies and other fantastic pre-copyright cleared content to easily put together a course pack. At least once a week I get a school that wants more information or a demo of the site. 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.

But we don’t just stop there.

XanEdu, one of the companies we work with for copyright clearance and our partner on eText Builder, has made it even easier to build a course pack. As in, practically effortless. Through their Concierge Services, faculty can submit as much or as little information about the materials they need and the team of researchers at XanEdu can scour their repository of pre-cleared content to find the right pieces for their course. From a syllabus or just a list of major topics, XanEdu’s researchers can build a course pack to fit that specific course.

There are a couple ways a school can get started using these services. If the faculty member knows some of the specific material they would like to include, they can start in eText Builder and build what they know. They can search by keyword, author, title or ISBN to find the journal articles, primary source documents or open content they want to include. They can even upload their own content.



When the faculty member has added everything they know, they can ask XanEdu to help by filling out the form under “Locate Your Content” with as much information as possible. A representative from XanEdu will follow up to help complete the course pack.

If the faculty member wants even less involvement, they can work with their MBS Direct Account Manager to send XanEdu the syllabus or list of topics. A representative from XanEdu will be in touch with the faculty member to get clarification.

Like all course packs from MBS Direct and XanEdu, these can be delivered in print, digitally or both, depending on the needs of the students in the class.

Faculty who want the digital option can opt to use XanEdu’s reader, which provides mobile apps as well as a browser-based and downloadable options, or we can put the course pack into Vital Source where it can share shelf space with other digital titles students may already have.

As with all course packs, the faculty member gets final say over the final compilation. If the course pack has gotten too expensive or too long or if they decide to change a topic within the course, the professor can add, remove or replace pieces of the course pack before it is formally adopted.

Course packs can help faculty provide content that matches exactly how they teach a course, and students don’t have to pay for a book when the class only touches on three chapters. No matter if your faculty members want a very hands-on approach or would prefer to have it built for them based on our course syllabus, the course pack options and concierge services through MBS Direct and XanEdu can help faculty can save time and students save money on their course materials.

For more information about eText Builder, talk to your account manager or check out this walk-through:

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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