Case Study

Anglia Ruskin University, London (ARUL)

March 12, 2020

A positive transition to online learning

Background

Anglia Ruskin University, London, (ARUL), strives to be at the forefront of delivering a positive experience for their students. The institution provided hard copy textbooks to students to support learning and felt that a move to e-textbooks and an e-study platform was the logical next step.

The Implementation

In 2018, ARUL engaged staff and student discussions to obtain feedback on how receptive both groups would be to this initiative. Feedback was positive and following a period of research and evaluation, Kortext was selected as the platform to meet their stated goals.

Training was put in place with the Kortext team supporting the introduction of the platform and the concept of learning with e-textbooks within ARUL.

There were some challenges: some students had an initial preference for printed textbooks but the majority of students recognised the benefits of the e-textbooks and the learning features of the system such as highlighting, bookmarking, note taking, sharing, accessibility and portability. The benefits for lecturers included being able to utilise the content of the book in a more interactive manner in the delivery of their modules and to understand student engagement with the core learning materials.

Student Activity & Engagement

The learning analytics which were generated from a full academic year 2018-19 of usage and the start of the academic year 2019-20 revealed very interesting and encouraging results.

In the first year of the project the analytics revealed that 94.7% of students who registered were active users throughout the year, showing significant engagement with the e-textbooks selected for them by their lecturers. The data from the start of the academic year 2019-20 indicates continuing positive trends.

In the first year of the project there were an amazing 3,846,501 pages accessed by students during the year, averaging 1,274 per user with each study session averaging 66 minutes. In total, students spent a combined 4 years 284 days studying in Kortext.

Despite any misgivings there may have been about moving to e-textbooks, students actively used the learning tools from the Kortext platform to help them understand, learn and succeed on their course. There were 58,527 unique searches which indicates students are working to understand concepts and theories and 13,698 annotations showing preparation for work such as essays and exams.

Outcomes

Many lecturers have embraced the use of technology in the classroom and have been able to integrate the use of Kortext via their iPads and classroom interactive screens with their teaching. As such, the course materials delivered via Kortext become central to learning as lecturers can direct students to a particular page, concept or example and students can respond within Kortext taking their own notes, or highlighting relevant materials.

Kortext learning analytics has confirmed the level of student participation and engagement, giving valuable insight into learning behaviours that isn’t possible with printed textbooks.

Amy Croft, Course leader for LLB, BSc (Hons) Business and Law, BSc (Hons) Law and Accounting at ARUL commented:

Our students are happy that they no longer have to physically carry around heavy textbooks and can access their reading anywhere, even offline. Moving to Kortext has definitely improved student engagement with their texts. The brilliant analytics tab allows us to see exactly which students are engaging and in which parts of the text, allowing us to target the things that work best with the students, and identify students who are not engaging and provide early intervention. Due to the success, we will be rolling out all students from September.

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