Accelerating the adoption of digital learning at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School
The challenges generated by the Covid-19 pandemic required the Higher Education sector to embrace, adopt and exploit digital technologies quicker than anticipated. The unprecedented impact on traditional methods of teaching inevitably called for institutions to transition to a blended learning environment with the rapid adoption of digital technology in virtual classrooms. Consequently, over the last two years, universities have formed partnerships with EdTech companies like Kortext to enhance the teaching and learning experience of faculty and students.
The partnership between Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and Kortext was formed to further enhance the teaching and learning experience by providing a platform that delivers access to core reading materials, whilst facilitating and encouraging interaction between students and academics. This was vital for a unique institution like Saïd Business School. Embedded within one of the world’s most renowned and influential educational institutions, Saïd’s vision is to tackle world scale problems through entrepreneurial and transformative social and ethical goals. With over 90% of its students coming from overseas, the school’s diversity and quality of thinking is first class and it’s need for a world class digital platform(s) was paramount.
Kortext had been in discussion with Saïd Business School for nearly two years before the partnership emerged, but the key driver for its realisation was the pandemic and the subsequent switch to online teaching in early March 2020. This sudden pivot resulted in students having limited access to physical libraries where they could access their learning resources.
As a contemporary, innovative and influential business school at a university ranked number one in the world since 2016 (according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings), Saïd Business School already had the infrastructure in place to meet the needs of their students – the only thing missing was a platform for accessing eTextBooks. As Kortext embeds directly into the university VLE (Canvas), Saïd Business School was already in a good position to add Kortext into their teaching framework by seamlessly integrating the platform with Canvas. This ensured a streamlined provision of core eTextbooks to students at a time when they most needed it. As a result, Kortext has now become a fundamental part of teaching and learning at Saïd Business School.
James Gray, CEO at Kortext commented:
At Kortext we look beyond business to a broader and deeper role in society. We strive to deliver a teaching and learning platform aimed at empowering the next generation of difference makers.
We are excited to be partnered with Saïd Business School, an institution which shares the same goal by creating the leaders of tomorrow to tackle world scale problems. This partnership is a real opportunity to work together to create an industry-leading blended learning experience to deliver outstanding outcomes.
Mark Bramwell, CIO at Saïd Business School added:
Given the understandable high expectations of our students, the need to provide a quality online learning environment for our Executive MBA and MBA courses is paramount. Our infrastructure was already in place with solutions such as Canvas, Microsoft (Azure, O365 and Teams) and Zoom, but we needed an integrated eBook platform. With Kortext’s fit with this stack, implementation at pace was straightforward and now the platform has become an integral part of our teaching, learning and programme delivery.
Since implementation, engagement with the Kortext platform has remained high, with students taking full advantage of Kortext’s interactive study tools to enhance their learning experience.
In the Business School’s first full academic year with Kortext (20/21), an impressive 91% of students registered to the platform actively used it to read and study. Kortext’s analytics dashboards also recorded some exciting data around content usage, revealing not just if content was being used, but also how. Students showed deep engagement with their learning materials:
◎ Accessing over 178,000 pages
◎ Making 9,000+ in-book annotations
◎ Carrying out 1,800+ searches
In total, students spent more than 2,300 hours studying in Kortext, developing both their knowledge and their critical thinking skills.
Data from the current academic year (21/22) is equally as encouraging with almost 100,000 pages accessed in semester 1 alone and over 1,400 searches recorded – that’s already 77% of the total number of searches carried out in the previous academic year.
As the partnership between Kortext and Saïd Business School continues and the Kortext platform develops, we look forward to seeing these engagement stats continue to grow.