DIGITAL CONTENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION – PRACTICAL FINDINGS David McCarthy Director of Digital Education at Barnes & Noble March 7, 2011
What is ?
is a free ereading platform with a focus on features critical to success in with digital textbooks and educational content.
Through faculty and student interviews, was developed from the ground up based on the needs of students.
More than simply an eBook reader, is an end-to-end solution for students to acquire, organize and study their assigned content.
Growth of etextbooks
Barnes and Noble has seen a significant increase in digital sales this past fall.
14% of students have purchased a digital product as part of their studies.
The general acceptance of digital reading for pleasure is bleeding over to higher education content.
Reasons for Purchasing eBooks
Price is the primary factor
Only way to obtain the textbook [out of stock, preference by the professor, custom PDF type eBook that the professor created for sale].
18% of students who purchased an eBook did so because they enjoy the features.
10% of students who purchased an eBook did so because they had never used one and were curious.
WHERE WE ARE HEADED…
… BUT IT WONT BE EASY.
Who believes that books will follow the path of music and convert to digital in the matter of a few years?
What is taking so long?
Barnes & Noble had an ereader ten years ago.
What is taking Ebooks so long? Music went digital overnight.
What is taking so long? Ereading fundamentally changes the way users interact with content. Digital music only changed the distribution of content. Consumption was still done through speakers of some sort.
The book works very well
The book works very well
The book works really well
The book is a piece of hardware used for thousands of years. It is the ultimate “reader”
Inexpensive – You get free reader hardware with each physical book purchased
No batteries needed.
So simple a three year old could use it
Replacing the physical book is not going to be easy.
And yes students love them
The digital dream is even more difficult for education content.
No other user interacts with the physical content more than students
Multiple books a once
Three Layers of eReading Reader Software Content Hardware Digital reading is accomplished through the lens of hardware and software.
Digital Studying Reading/Studying Software Content Hardware Realize, for students studying is much more important than reading. All layers have to be conducive to studying.
Which device would make the best ereader/study platform for students.
iPad or Other android tablet
Why not Digital Readers B&N.com Company Confidential 08/20/11
Why not Digital Readers B&N.com Company Confidential 08/20/11
What hardware works for studying
The optimal requirements of an higher education ereading hardware solution :
10 Inch screen or larger
8 hours or more of battery life
Decent input mechanism
Mouse and keyboard
32 gig or more of memory
Candidates in the market today
Nooks and Kindles – Not higher education appropriate. Nookcolor shows promise for as a satellite device.
Ipad – Meets the minimum requirements
Coming android tablets – Shows promise for higher education content.
PC/Mac – Currently the best study platform.
PC/Mac and Mobile Satellites S Heavy duty studying Home/Library Digital Content Ecosystem Cloud hosting digital locker Sync through a common cloud (locker) Reading on the go. Light studying
What hardware works for studying
Devices such as tablets will be used for studying as satellites to a central core of a PC/Mac.
The PC/Mac will still be the ultimate hardware for some time.
Almost all students have one so there is no incremental costs
It is currently the only platform that can handle all of the software needs of a student (word processing, specialized software…)
Any solution you review should contain an option for PC/Mac.
eReading/Studying Software eReading software need to be conducive to studying
Features Students Want
Based on several surveys related to digital textbooks, students are saying these features are most important:
Search within and across content
Annotation/highlight and sharing of notes
Downloaded texts over online access - Flexibility of where and when they can access their books.
Integration with other course content including lecture notes, professor guidance…
Who are students most interested in collaboration such as sharing notes, highlights and discussions.
With other students in their class
With students across the world using the same book
With an online study group
With their professor
Replicate real world use cases of print textbooks where appropriate.
Enhance study experience using features unique to etextbooks.
Create tools that allow students to manage and link all of their content including textbooks, notes, instructor provided content and study aids.
Textbooks Internet Study Aids/Other Books Instructor Supplied Class/Study Notes Students need to deal with a myriad of content. Each is managed independently Students are “content pressured”
Textbooks Internet/Other Content Study Aids/Other Books Instructor Supplied Class/Study Notes Reader Note Taking Content Management Common Interface , Format and Smart Extracts
Reader Platform A true reading/studying ecosystem Study Ad-ins Trade Books Periodicals
DRM is a necessary part of a full featured ereading solution.
Major education publishers require a proven system of DRM.
Due to content ’s high price and students shared interest, higher education content is under greater risk of piracy
Components of DRM
Content distribution limitations
508 Accessibility Requirements
Accessibility issues have plagued some instances where reading solutions have been used.
“ Read aloud” content does not mean 508 compliant.
Look for the following in 508 compliant platform:
Text to speech on content AND controls/navigation
Navigation without use of mouse
Each institutions’ needs are different so compare the platform features to the intended user base.
Digital Content growth
Digital textbook growth is driven by several factors:
Students adoption of format
Growth of relevant technologies
Publisher cost structure and market efficiencies
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Digital Availability 10% 60% Propensity To Opt For Digital 10% 40% Digital Textbook Market 1% 3% 6% 12% 25%
Content is not just textbooks Adopted Content Type Textbook 63.3% Professional 15.7% Trade 12.2% University Press 1.5% Other 7%
Publishers are Torn on Digital
Why Publishers Embrace Digital
Undercuts the Used Book market.
Reduces operating costs
Good PR around lower pricing
The end results is that textbook content is moving to digital, but not as quickly as trade books.
Why Publishers Are Fearful of Digital
Reduced pricing control
Enables competitive products
Piracy, piracy, piracy
Formatted as a single stream of text
No concept of page
Most common standard – epub
Most commonly used in trade content
Content Formats - Reflowable
Formatted exactly as the printed page.
Most common standard – PDF
Most commonly used in textbook content.
Content Formats – Page Fidelity
What about multimedia Publishers are only now creating digital versions of their flat content. Next steps will be to incorporate more interactive content but doing this at scale is some ways off due to costs. The major issue is there are no standards around mixing book and multimedia content. Students want the multimedia to be effective in their study. They would rather have the transcript of an hour video vs the video itself.
Content Management is Complex
Over 207,000 unique titles adopted
Over 201,000 of the 207,000 titles had demand of fewer than 1,000 units
Nearly 16 percent of these were custom titles
26 percent of the titles used by faculty do not have ISBNs
Over 14,000 of these titles had a digital option
Only 7 percent of titles used by our faculty
Over 8,000 unique publishers represented
Online & in-store is expected
Barnes and Noble College bookstores by the numbers (2009)
A case study in eTextbooks
Collaborate with universities to learn more about digital content and eReader usage.
Test and inform the NOOKstudy application with design and functionality feedback from the pilot.
Faculty and students received NOOKstudy and eTextbooks
Students completed two surveys during the program.
Participants and faculty received access to 24-hr technical and program support.
As possible, “First Day” presentations were given to participating classes.
Campus bookstores reserved physical copies of the textbook as back-up.
NOOKstudy Research Program: Participation
Pennsylvania State University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Texas A&M University
University of Pennsylvania
West Virginia University
Application: Contribution to Performance and Efficiency
91% of students said that ereading platform either improved their class performance or had no negative impact.
Improved Performance or Efficiency:
Being able to search for a particular word or phrase in the textbook has improved my efficiency in studying.
I use my laptop extensively and take notes on it, so having a copy of the book on my laptop at all times helped me work on my class work whenever I want without having to worry about whether or not I have the book with me.
No 10-lb book to carry around = epic win.
It really helped me with the tests.
Application: Student Experience
Slightly less than half of students brought their laptop to class (48%)
60% of students used NOOKstudy once a week or more often
The Top 5 Current Features, as rated on usefulness by students
Reading Controls (paging, zoom…)
Finding terms in a book
Creating Highlights and Annotations
Reviewing previously created Highlight and Annotations
Managing your Digital Library
DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT (DRM)
Many students objected to DRM (copying, printing, downloading to 2 devices) on philosophical reasons.
Non-philosophical reasons for objecting to the limits:
Wants to download the eTextbook to 3 computers (home, work and school.)
Desires access to the eTextbook on a lab (shared) computer.
CONFIDENTIAL Students' Views on DRM
Overall research conclusions
Given the opportunity, students are willing to experiment with reading and studying digitally.
When students do read and study digitally, results indicate that they find it as effective or more effective than studying with the physical book.
When students do read and study digitally, their responses to usability of features shows that their expectations are high.
They expect basic features to be as good as print experience (e.g., notes and annotations.)
Also, expect that there are compelling features that go beyond what is feasible in the physical book experience (e.g., tags across notes, organizational capabilities.)
Impact on Campus
The roles of these entities will be redefined
Issues of eReading on Campus
Classes will have a mixture of physical and digital students
Digital students could have a mixture of formats
Students allowed to bring laptops and readers to class
Digital textbook players
Specific Digital Textbook Providers
Follet - Cafescribe
Coursesmart – Partnership of major textbook publishers (Cengage, Mcgraw Hill, Pearson…)
Barnes & Noble (HW,SW,Content)
LMS – Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai…
As portable and tablets capabilities improve they will be better candidates for etextbook platforms.
Increase in smaller and specialized content
Increase in multimedia content
New distribution models including subscriptions, open source content, and institution mandated.
There will be a blurring of lines between ereaders, LMS, and internet resources.
Wrap up Themes
eReading in higher education is more about estudying than ereading.
Evaluate solutions on the entire ecosystem
Hardware, eReading/Study Software
Tablets and portable devices are currently satellites to a PC/Mac base. This will change over time.
Constantly poll your students and faculty.
Don ’t over commit. This is going to be a longer transition than other digital media.