Hero is intended to function as a tool to help college students manage the cost of textbooks.

textbooks-costSoftware provider Sidewalk has announced the launch of Hero, a new platform providing content cost transparency for faculty, college bookstores, and students nationwide. The new software is anticipated to be installed in 200 universities this year.

Hero was first created as “My Book List” by Brigham Young University. Over the past five years, the product has been continuously improved and refined with feedback from over 1,600 faculty members, 30,000 students and one of the largest campus bookstores in the country.

“Course content selection has existed in silos far too long, leading to limited choice, blind pricing, steep cost increases and general frustration amongst students, faculty and campus bookstores,” said Alan Martin, Founder and CEO of Sidewalk.

(Next page: Key features of the Hero platform)

“With the launch of Hero, content costs and comparisons immediately become transparent to faculty for the first time. And with this transparency comes increased content options and reduced costs for students. Textbooks simply shouldn’t cost $300.”

Historically, the higher education textbook decision-making process has been monopolized by publishers who influence most content choices to faculty and bookstores.

Hero provides a platform to display open market conditions, enabling faculty to determine if what a publisher recommends is indeed the optimal choice. Hero also provides students a lens into faculty’s selection process so they can view price-sensitive alternatives to the newest edition of a textbook.

HERO key features and benefits:

  • Full transparency into content decisions between faculty, students, and stores – resulting in more content to choose from, and reduced prices for students
  • Seamless and simple communication between stores and faculty
  • Web module that hooks into the Student Information System and Store POS
  • Content and adoption transparency among faculty members across campus
  • Easily accessible content decision histories between faculty and stores

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura

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