Looking back and thinking forward: Your thoughts on eTextbook provisioning

Kortext’s latest research has highlighted the increasing importance of the library in its support for both the teaching and learning function of a university as well as research, especially as universities move towards a more blended learning environment. Librarians representing over 80 separate UK and Irish HE institutions indicate that this will be an evolving role over the coming months and years, with even more focus on student experience and how this connects into teaching and learning. Below are some key findings from the survey.

The immediate demands of delivering online teaching and learning are significant, especially with the next academic year in sight. There seems to be a growing consensus among university leaders that, while the explosion in online learning did not come about in the way the sector would have chosen, there is no going back from the evolution of a more blended learning delivery model. Given the pandemic, many universities accelerated their investment into this journey with a review of course design and the creation and delivery of digital course materials as well as training and development for teaching staff. This has had a significant impact on libraries as textbooks being used on courses needed to be delivered and made available to students in digital form.

This rapid switch from print to digital content has also enabled a completely different way of thinking about the course materials and reading required for academic study. By tightly integrating the materials into the VLE, and the digital delivery of course materials including textbooks and other learning materials that need to link into the course in a way that supports teaching and learning…

UK Higher Education Sector Overview

Kortext’s reach within UK universities gives it a unique data driven perspective on student engagement with online learning materials. Early data shows a huge year-on-year increase in usage with over 89 million pages accessed by hundreds of thousands of students since the beginning of the Autumn semester. The most startling insight from the data is the significant difference seen from institutions where Kortext is accessed via a VLE, to those where access is through other discovery tools. The key differences were, longer study time, more pages accessed and a greater number of personal annotations.

Library Solutions Infographic

Case Studies

Manchester University

University of Manchester

"One of the most important parts for us in terms of provision is the monitoring of usage data on the Kortext analytics dashboard. Providing students engagement analytics for our academic staff together with other information is vital for them for early intervention in terms of non-continuation risk."

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Middlesex University

Middlesex University

"In terms of how we work with Kortext, it has always felt to me to be a successful partnership. Our NSS has gone up about 20% in the period of time we’ve been running this, so satisfaction with our resource provision has risen."

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University of Plymouth

University of Plymouth

"Students found that the accessibility features within the platform itself and also the ability to use the titles offline as well as online via multiple devices was very valuable to them." When asked if they found that "having access to these titles made it easier to read and study the books recommended for their module [students] overwhelmingly agreed."

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Kortext supporting the blended learning environment

With a purpose to empower the next generation of difference-makers through teaching and learning, in a little over seven years Kortext has become the UK’s leading digital  textbook platform. We continue to see large-scale growth with blended learning becoming the new normal. 

Working with 4,000+ publishers including Pearson, McGraw Hill, Wiley and Oxford University Press, we now supply 2 million eTextbooks to students in 80+ countries, on an aggregated, personalised bookshelf.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic when students had to continue their studies from home, Kortext partnered with Microsoft and Jisc to deliver the national Free Student eTextbook Programme (FSTP) which was taken up by over 150 UK and Irish universities and colleges. The programme saw over 16,000 textbook titles set up with over 6 million pages accessed and 114,000 hours of study time by students. 

Kortext has built on the success of this programme to now deliver ongoing sustainable access models for UK Higher Education institutions. In October 2020 alone, over 20 million pages were accessed on the Kortext platform, equating to over 260,000 hours of study time. We also saw 1.2 million annotations of text. These data points illustrate the incredibly high engagement levels on the Kortext platform which is becoming a fundamental part of the blended learning experience at universities across the country.

We are committed to continually evolving the platform to ensure we meet the needs of university libraries, helping you to put students and faculty at the heart of the blended learning experience. We will work with you to ensure this mission is achieved and a world class teaching and learning experience is delivered. 

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Flexible access models

Kortext Complete

For universities and faculties wanting to provide broad online access to all adopted textbooks for a single price, with added support and detailed engagement analytics to help drive progression, retention and success.

Kortext Personalised

For universities who have a requirement to provide specific titles to students on a specific course.

Kortext Access

For universities looking to enable multi-concurrent access to content either library selected or student selected via Patron Driven Acquisition plans. (Please note, not all publishers offer this access for textbooks). In addition students are able to purchase content for themselves directly should they wish to do so.

Why Kortext?

Kortext is already the lead, contracting supplier of digital content learning solutions to universities across the UK who, under the Jisc and SUPC contracts already in place, can directly award to Kortext without the need for a lengthy tender process and be guaranteed the best pricing terms available.

Our partnership with universities is a constant focus on outcomes:

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Improving student experience and satisfaction

A universal content and learning platform improves the student experience and leads to higher levels of student satisfaction and can be measured through improved NSS scores as well as surveys.

Improved student retention and progression

Having supplied many large scale programmes over a number of years we know that retention and progression are improved through student engagement with their learning materials and better collaborative learning opportunities.

Support for TEF

With eTextbook programmes increasingly being looked at as a demonstration of support for teaching and learning, they have positively impacted TEF awards and increasingly data from these programmes can be used to support TEF submissions.


Equity of access

We’ve achieved a 100% ASPIREreview score for accessibility. Working with Widening Participation Groups we have shown that by enabling equal access to educational resources, the most disadvantaged students are given equal opportunity to study and progress.

Exceeding expectations

The recent Pearson/Wonkhe study illustrated that “High Quality Online Teaching” is the overwhelming expectation of Students this autumn. With access to 4,500 publishers, over one million titles and a seamless integration into the VLE, Kortext will help all Universities meet and exceed this expectation.

Why the Kortext Platform?

The Kortext platform is different. It’s a cutting edge, cloud architected system that gives every student their own unique bookshelf and connects them to their content, to each other and to their academics. The platform hosts over m eTextbooks and allied learning materials such as video, from over 4,500 academic publishers. It facilitates seamless connection from your university’s VLE, reading list or library catalogue, through to the required textbooks along with associated video, assessment and courseware platforms.

The platform incorporates a world class, student learning analytics solution that actively supports student retention, progression and success and we have partnered with Microsoft to build scalability, security and performance.

Kortext is the only platform that enables students to connect from Kortext directly to other key, library content platforms and bring content into one unified view for the student; be that EBSCO, ProQuest, publishers like Taylor and Francis, or the Course Packs delivered through the Copyright Licensing Agency’s blanket licence. This unique ability truly drives significant efficiencies and improvements to the student learning experience. Connectivity between students, their academics and their content for collaborative learning comes to life through Kortext.

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