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Blackboard Set To Test-Drive e-Textbook Integration

Blackboard has collaborated with Vital Source Technologies to launch a pilot program to test e-textbook integration with its Blackboard Learn learning management system (LMS).

Under the agreement, Vital Source has integrated its Bookshelf e-textbook platform into Blackboard Learn for testing at colleges including Indiana-Purdue University-Fort Wayne, University of Alaska-Anchorage, and Fayetteville Technical Community College, according to a release.

The integration is expected to be available this summer for Blackboard institutions, according to a company release, and will offer two purchase models dependent upon how textbooks are distributed at a specific institution. Schools that include textbooks as part of tuition can place e-textbooks directly into Blackboard Learn courses for immediate student access, while a student-purchase option would allow instructors to make e-textbooks available for students to purchase or rent from within the Blackboard Learn course environment.

"My students read more because with this technology, you can assign the reading, and they'll know that I'm checking closely on whether they've read it or not," said Minnie Wagner, business and healthcare management program chair at Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville, in a prepared statement. "So it has helped students to be more proactive and make sure that they're prepared for the class."

The ability to annotate e-textbooks, link to content from anywhere within a course or assignment, and assess how students are progressing through content are features of the integration that professors have expressed satisfaction with so far, according to information released by the companies, while students have been enthusiastic about using e-textbooks on mobile devices.

"We are happy but not surprised that instructors and students alike have expressed great satisfaction with the integration of digital content from our VitalSource Bookshelf platform into Blackboard Learn," said Kent Freeman, chief operating officer of Vital Source, in a prepared statement. "We look forward to making the integration available to institutions everywhere that want to easily deliver learning resources to students and help teachers incorporate digital content into lesson plans."

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at sportswryter@yahoo.com.

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