Universities embark on etextbook projects for a variety of reasons and for City University Law School the decision to start the project was for practical reasons – they simply didn’t have the space or resources to store and distribute the 5000 printed books they were supplying to students every year. This decision to supply the core textbooks to LLB, GELLB & GDL students had achieved its goal of improving the student experience, but meant their students had to carry around a number of textbooks for study purposes and it wasn’t always convenient. As the country’s highest commuter university, this was ultimately having an impact on student satisfaction levels.
The Law School investigated a number of options to them and following a rigorous review and tender process conducted via the SUPC framework agreement they chose Kortext as the platform able to oﬀer access to the range of content required and a partner capable of supporting the University and its students in the transition to digital textbooks.
With Kortext I felt conﬁdent that we had found a platform that oﬀered us everything we needed, as well as a company who could support us and our students through this transition. We’ve been very happy with how things have gone this year and have received positive feedback from our academics. We’re now working with Kortext to make the experience for next year even better and looking at how we can expand the oﬀering to the 3rd year and professional qualiﬁcations.
A student pilot was set up. As City University were concerned about how their students would feel about moving to digital they sent them a questionnaire. The feedback from year 1-3 students showed that they loved the Kortext suite of smart tools like note taking, highlighting and content search and appreciated the beneﬁts of e-textbooks over print.
On the basis of the feedback from the pilot, the Law School decided to go ahead and in August 2018 preparations were under way for the full implementation. Academics and students were introduced to the Kortext platform, everything was ready..
Student Activity and Engagement
User engagement on the Kortext platform has been consistently high at City since the provision started in the last academic year; with active engagement levels this year already over 97%.
Simply put users are deeply embedded in the platform and it is now a core part of their learning experience. To put this into perspective there are users in the programmes that have made over 3,000 annotations in a single book which represents a signiﬁcant commitment by the students to the content and learning tools in the platform.
The partnership with Kortext has met the department’s short-term goals and eased their logistical issues. Additionally, the department has also been awarded the ‘Extra Mile Project of the Year’ at the University’s Sustainability awards because of their move to eBooks.
Plans are already underway to support the next intake of students to ensuring further enhancement of the onboarding process and the utilisation of the Kortext learning analytics to support student welfare and success. The faculty are also working with Kortext to embed interactive textbooks, with built in assessment, into a blended learning environment helping students to receive consistent formative assessment to improve student satisfaction at City University Law School even further.