Higher education stakeholders believe that digital course materials are key to solving system wide problems. A survey by Pearson Education found that at least 84 percent of students, teachers and administrators said that a shift to digital could help with challenges they face. 82 percent also said that digital is the future, but only 56 percent said more than half of their institution’s courses are using some sort of digital courseware. Thomas Malek, the vice president for Channel partnerships for higher education at Pearson, says that the first step in adding more digital tools is more teaching. Instructors and administrators need to be taught about options and demand for more affordable course supplies.
“Institutions need to recognize that affordability issues are real and they cause students to fail when they can’t get course materials,” says Malek. According to NBC News, just as higher education has gotten more expensive, so have textbooks, by 1041 percent since 1977. With digital options, students could save over $100 per course. The demand is there and the students are prepared with the devices required to go digital. Pearson found that over 80 percent, of 18.6 million student in higher education, own either a laptop or a smartphone, and 50 percent own tablets.
If educators get 100 percent usage of a digital platform, there can be a tremendous impact in the amount of data that will be collected. On digital platform, it is easy to hold students accountable for their work. Faculty would be able to see what is going on with the learning in their classrooms through a homework dashboard. The data driven adaptive digital courseware has already been implemented at some universities. A study by SRI International found that adaptive courseware found cost savings and positive impacts on grades, as well as high levels of student and instructor satisfaction in two-year degree programs.
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