The Digital Journey
The Digital Imperative
British University Vietnam has been a partner of Kortext for a number of years, embarking on a pathway to digital transformation in 2019 to provide their students with digital course textbooks. The university adopted Kortext’s smart study platform, opening a gateway to eTextbooks and learning content from world-leading educational publishers such as Pearson, Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, and Cambridge University Press. To ensure equal opportunity, and as part of their accessibility programme, BUV also provided each newly enrolled undergraduate student with a personal iPad so they could access materials both on and off campus.
The partnership made BUV the first higher education institution in Vietnam (and one of the first in the ASEAN region) to provide its students with learning materials that are 100% digital. This was the result of a year-long process of due diligence and careful curriculum management between BUV and Kortext to ensure that the right content and materials were available at the right price.
The initiative means that every BUV student now has access to their own individually customisable digital learning environment to help them acquire information at their own pace and in a way that suits them. Through the Kortext platform, students and lecturers can engage with each other through their learning content anytime, anywhere. Kortext’s interactive study tools are accessible across multiple devices and BUV students use a combination of laptops, desktops, the iPads provided by the programme and mobile phones.
Vice-Chancellor and President of BUV, Professor Ray Gordon, commented:
This transition aligns with BUV’s philosophy to offer students everything they need to prepare for their dream profession. BUV is positioned as the university providing innovative learning technologies that prepare students for life and work in Vietnam and the world’s emerging digital and 4IR economy.
Logistics and cost benefit
Forward thinking, student-centric initiatives have always been at the heart of BUV’s thinking and, prior to this digital programme, BUV provided all of their students with learning materials in print form.
While this provided significant benefits to students, the logistical exercise was fraught with issues. The required textbooks were rarely available locally and so had to be imported at great cost to the university. Sadly, if more students registered for courses than were anticipated, there would be insufficient copies to go around. Similarly, if fewer students registered then the university was left with expensive unused materials or the escalating cost of returning books to suppliers.
A further frustration was the mystery of content usage, with BUV having no way of measuring student engagement with learning materials or identifying which content resonated with students.
All of these issues were reviewed individually, and strategies put in place to reduce the cost and logistical problems, improve the contribution of learning content in the pedagogical process and ultimately enhancing the teaching and learning experience. The improvements were immediate and BUV was able to cover the investment in iPads for students from the savings generated by the new digital content delivery programme.
A student receives a new iPad from BUV’s Chief Academic Officer Christopher Jeffery.
Prepared for the pandemic
When the pandemic hit in 2020, universities around the world had to turn a sharp corner and find new ways to continue serving their students. Thanks to their existing investment in digital technology like Kortext pre-pandemic and their experience operating in a blended learning environment, for BUV the switch was made almost overnight with students at the university continuing their studies with little interruption.
Engagement, analytics and learning outcomes
A deciding factor for BUV when selecting Kortext was the depth of analytics that were provided on student engagement and interaction with their content. For the first time, BUV could see how individuals and groups were working with the materials provided. This goes much deeper than just measuring ROI. Kortext analytics enable BUV’s academics to build profiles of students who are excelling in the classroom and, more importantly, those who are struggling and need further support.
Since partnering with Kortext in 2019, BUV’s student numbers have tripled but student engagement has remained high, with the university recording the following stats from within the platform in academic year 2020/21 alone:
◎ 95% of users actively used Kortext to study
◎ 10,000+ books provisioned
◎ 1.5 million pages accessed
◎ 71,000+ study sessions
The depth of engagement can also be seen through students’ interactions with Kortext’s smart study tools. In 2020/21, BUV’s students made an incredible 32,000 in-book annotations and carried out over 25,000 searches to aid their learning, giving the university unique insight into the top terms their students want to know more about.
BUV’s digital ambitions have not stopped at textbook delivery in the classroom. Following the successful launch of Kortext, BUV is now integrating the platform into Canvas to enhance engagement by providing students with easy access to their content directly through their learning management system (LMS).
A final word from the Chief Academic Officer of BUV, Christopher Jeffery:
This cutting-edge development has excited our student body and illustrates clearly the commitment we have to be leaders in the Higher Education sector within Vietnam and the region; the partnership with Kortext allows students and faculty to facilitate a pedagogy of discovery, exploration and consolidation, and provides real-time learning analytics that allows our lecturing team to understand more about each student’s learning process and progress.