A study conducted by Wakefield Research confirms up to 80 percent of students admit to delaying or even avoiding purchasing textbooks and course materials altogether. Students who do eventually choose to purchase through the larger textbook marketplace may end up with the wrong books or materials that can only be accessed online—another devastating strike from The Maze.

Our research has shown that, in a class of 100 people, up to 40 students may be without any course materials whatsoever. The other 60 students could be using a variety of formats, including different and outdated editions of the materials, or materials that are not accessible and fail to accommodate special needs.

None of these students realize they are victims of The Maze, but they are doomed to suffer the consequences. According to the Wakefield study, of the students who admit to delaying or avoiding purchasing their course materials, more than half acknowledge their grades suffered as a result.

So how do we fight The Maze once and for all? The answer is simple: technology.

Why colleges need to embrace digital course materials and innovative programs

There’s never been a better opportunity to harness the power of technology to improve the student learning experience. A growing number of college campuses are embracing digital course materials and innovative programs like Inclusive Access to ensure students have the right eTextbooks and resources on the first day of class—all for a reasonable and competitive price.

Students deserve a straightforward and affordable path to access a quality education and earn a degree or credential. But until we defeat The Maze, thousands upon thousands of students will continue to fall victim to its deadly tricks.

At a time when our nation needs a talented workforce and educated citizenry more than ever before, the stakes are simply too high to allow The Maze to continue to triumph. Colleges and higher ed leaders owe it to students to pursue commonsense technology solutions that can provide critical materials to students (and invaluable analytics and data insights to faculty) without breaking the bank.

About the Author:

Dr. Michael Hale is the vice president of education for VitalSource, a leading provider of digital content on college campuses. He has more than 25 years in the field of education, having been a high school teacher, a charter school founder and director, and a college professor. At VitalSource, Hale focuses on helping institutions improve outcomes and affordably create and deliver learning solutions.


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