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Solano Community College Deal Continues Use of Pearson eCollege

A community college in Northern California has struck a deal with Pearson to provide the institution with free use of the vendor's learning management system (LMS) and charge a flat fee to students for use of digital content and courses. Solano Community College, which has about 11,000 students, is working with Pearson, its LMS provider.

Under the terms of the new arrangement, in those courses that use Pearson texts, students may opt to pay a flat fee of about $80 to use Pearson ebooks and all supplementary digital materials made available by the publisher, and the college will have continued access to the LMS for free. Students can also choose to use hardcopy materials.

Pearson will provide its online LMS, LearningStudio (previously, eCollege), to faculty and students, along with its MyLab and Mastering series of online courses, customizable courses through CourseConnect, and Pearson eText, a library of content available to students via the Internet.

Instructors may choose to use any of the Pearson digital materials in face-to-face, online, or blended classes. Faculty are under no mandate to use Pearson materials. According to a study done by the college's library, about 30 to 35 percent of the school's faculty use Pearson texts.

According to meeting notes from a student services council meeting held in April, Pearson offered the free use of its LMS when the college announced its decision to move off of eCollege and onto Instructure Canvas. "If this is accepted," the notes stated, "than [sic] the District could save $400,000 per year for three years on the cost of E-College. With the three year contract of our current LMS, we can use the system for two years, than [sic] on the third year transition to Canvas."

"The state of California has made large spending cuts over the past several years. Like many other colleges throughout the state, these cuts have resulted in a drastic reduction in funds and resources for our college," said Jowel Laguerre, superintendent and president of the community college district. "Partnering with Pearson has enabled us to continue the growth of our distance education program, while creating an educationally efficient model that reduces our annual costs to students."

The agreement with Pearson is for three years. Simultaneous with the Pearson project, the college has begun piloting the use of Instructure's Canvas LMS, a decision made earlier this year.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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