eContent

Explore teaching and learning with interactive eTexts

FAQs

How can faculty benefit from using Courseload and eContent?

Courseload enables instructors to aggregate content not only from publishers but also from open source and self-generated materials. This allows instructors to, in effect, create their own “custom” textbooks developed from multiple sources. If an instructor teaches the same course in a future term, and if publisher content is the same edition used previously, the customized course content can be copied from one term to the next so they don’t have to start from scratch. Courseload also provides analytics to help monitor student engagement with the eContent.

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Are there recommended best practices for using Courseload?

Yes, Courseload recommends:

  • Keep notes/thoughts/assignments within Courseload to keep students engaged. Studies show that students highly value instructor notes.

  • Pose questions for students to keep in mind as they read and interpret the material directly in the text, making passive reading a more active learning experience.

  • Implement an exercise for the students to research material in Courseload. For example: Find supporting material outside of the course and insert the link along with thoughts on how it is connected to the course content.

  • Embed video within annotations or as a separate piece of content.

  • Use the “Post Question to Instructor” functionality.

  • Encourage students to use the note-tagging feature and, if desired, suggest they use a tagging schema that you created in order to demonstrate that they understand the material.

  • Allow the students to develop their own course material, perhaps a study guide, and upload it into Courseload. Further, ask students to find material they think should be uploaded into Courseload.

  • Group students together to review each other’s notes. Have an exercise for each member of the group to individually highlight, make notes, and write questions about the material. Afterwards combine them into their groups to review their notes and attempt to answer any open questions and discuss why they made certain notes.

  • Ask students to document and identify their questions in Courseload prior to meetings or office hours to allow organized discussion between student and teacher.

  • Provide extra credit for participation with annotations in course materials.

  • Leverage the analytics within Courseload to understand how students are engaging with the course material.

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Will participating faculty receive training and support?

Yes, prior to the course start date, faculty will receive training regarding the Courseload platform’s functionality and best practices. Many additional resources will be available throughout the pilot (self-paced online modules, videos, user guides, and frequently asked questions). Faculty also may contact the UA’s 24/7 IT Support Center for help at any time.

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Can instructors add highlights and annotations at any point during the semester?

Yes. If an instructor has used the same eText edition in a previous course via Courseload, they could transfer notes and annotations directly into the new course term prior to its start date. In this manner, faculty can continue to build on their previous comments during the new term.

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Can other materials besides eTextbooks be loaded into Courseload?

Yes, faculty can upload workbooks, problem sets, case studies, instructor notes, tutorials, videos, audio clips, simulations, or interactive software. Users also can link or embed audio, video, and other web content.

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What are the benefits for students participating in the pilot?

Students in participating classes receive free access to the eContent for the pilot, saving them from having to purchase a textbook. Courseload also offers a variety of interactive features and opportunities for collaboration. See “What features are available on the Courseload platform?” to learn more about the available functionality. Previous users of Courseload said they especially appreciated the instructor annotations, search function, and portability of an eText.

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Can I still purchase the physical textbook?

Yes, students may buy a print copy of the textbook at their own expense. The UA BookStores will sell the physical textbook. An unbound print-on-demand copy of the textbook also can be ordered through Courseload (check the course site in D2L or Blackboard for pricing). Or students can print out pages of the eText themselves (50 pages at a time).

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Is there a way to see comments made by others?

Yes. This Courseload feature, known as sharing, allows students to share markups (highlights/annotations) with their choice of classmates, project team members, and/or instructors. The user determines whether to share all their markups or to keep them all private. Students may also post questions to instructors within the context of the text; instructors may respond to the questions directly within the content.

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Do I have to share my notes in Courseload?

No. Students also can decide to share their notes with the instructor, with the entire class, with selected students (such as a study group)—or not at all.

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Can I save my notes?

Yes, students can save their notes, for archival purposes. Notes can be printed or exported to a CSV file, which can be opened in Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs.

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Can I print my annotations and notes?

Yes. Students can select various combinations to print the eContent with or without notes, or just the notes without the chapter pages.

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Where can I find help if I have problems using Courseload?

Within the Courseload platform, users can access videos, support documentation, online help, offline help, and FAQs from the toolbar. Students also may contact the UA’s 24/7 IT Support Center for help at any time.

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What happens to my eContent in Courseload at the end of the semester?

The length of access may vary from course to course, depending upon publisher restrictions and terms of the Internet2/EDUCAUSE Pilot. The UA’s goal is to provide participating students with access to the eContent as long as they are enrolled at the UA. In some cases, access may be shorter. Students will be notified about the terms of access when class starts.

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What’s the purpose of the pilot?

To evaluate how usage of eContent and the Courseload eReading platform:  

  • Improve student learning and success

  • Increase faculty-student engagement

  • Support teaching models at the UA

  • Could reduce the cost of textbooks and other course materials for students

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What is eContent?

It encompasses eTexts and digital learning resources. These could be digital textbooks, workbooks, articles, videos, or multimedia. Switching from traditional textbooks to digital course materials is a growing trend in higher education. Advantages for students and faculty include greater interactivity, customizability, and opportunities for social collaboration.

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Who’s leading the pilot project at the UA?

The Office of the Chief Information Officer is sponsoring the pilot and providing initial funding. Other campus collaborators include University Information Technology Services, University Libraries, UA BookStores, Office of Instruction and Assessment, and Student Affairs.

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How does the pilot work?

There are two parts to the UA’s Fall 2013 eContent Pilot. One part involves participation in the EDUCAUSE and Internet2 E-content Pilot Series. This multi-institutional venture is intended to evaluate technologies and business models in the fast-evolving migration from traditional textbooks to eTexts and digital learning resources. The UA opted to participate in Package A2 of the Internet2/EDUCAUSE pilot, which encompasses up to 400 students, 10 sections, and about 5,000 textbook titles from participating publishers. Because some participating faculty use textbooks that fall outside this list of 5,000 titles, the UA contracted separately with Courseload to provide access to these additional titles. That is Part II of the UA’s Fall 2013 pilot.

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Who’s participating in the Fall 2013 pilot?

Seven faculty members, five departments, and approximately 550 students. For a complete list of participating courses, see Fall 2013 Pilot.

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How were courses selected for the Fall 2013 pilot?

We sought a diversity of course subjects, class sizes, course levels, and teaching modes.

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What are the costs of eContent materials for faculty and students who take part in the pilot?

Access to the eTexts will be provided for free to faculty and students participating in the pilot. A participant may choose to purchase a print copy of the textbook (at his/her own expense).

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Where can I learn more about eTexts?

Check out the following websites:

Articles and reports:

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What is Courseload?

Courseload is a central hub for digital course materials. The platform enables faculty and students to highlight, annotate, bookmark, search, and collaborate. To learn more, visit this site.

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Has Courseload been used at the UA before?

Yes, a successful small-scale pilot was done in Fall 2012 by the University Libraries and Dr. Leslie Eldenburg with her ACCT 310 class. Dr. Eldenburg extensively annotated the accounting eTextbook for her 38 students, identifying important content, highlighting required and recommended homework problems, and providing study tips for exams. Courseload statistics showed that students viewed more than 11,000 pages of the eTextbook during the semester.

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How do users access Courseload?

Students access their course materials by signing in to Desire2Learn or Blackboard. Once signed in, users click on a button to reach the Courseload-supported course section they are enrolled in. This will open the Courseload platform and provide students access to their digital course materials. Courseload provides a single sign-on access point so that students don’t need a separate login or account to use Courseload.

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What features are available on the Courseload platform?

The Courseload platform offers the following capabilities and more:

  • Highlighting: Highlight in multiple, user-selected colors and categories throughout the text. Four different colors are available.

  • Annotations: Annotate any portion of the text, charts, or diagrams and include hyperlinks to supplementary information.

  • Sharing annotations: Share markups (highlights/annotations) with classmates, project team members, and faculty; determine whether to share or keep markup private. Students may also post questions to instructors within the context of the text; instructors may respond to the questions directly within the content. This capability allows students to save the notes and print out for future use.

  • Tagging: Tag annotations/highlights for improved organization and searching. This feature enables faculty to quickly identify certain area students have tagged with open questions. It also enables students to quickly aggregate tagged notes by subject matter or topic for study purposes.

  • Navigation: Zoom and use the dynamic table of contents, page selection, scrolling, or “quick jump” navigation panel. Use common hot keys to navigate and create markups.

  • Viewing: Decide which shared and personal annotations and highlights to view. A Presentation View is provided for focused reading. The Summary View allows students to consolidate their personal or classmates’ shared markups and search by markup type, person, tag(s), and location of the markup in the material. The Summary View enables students to view only those areas of the book in which they (or a peer or instructor) have highlighted or annotated, which is especially useful for studying and writing assignments.

  • Document search: Search for words or phrases throughout the selected text and annotations with three sentences of context around the search results. Search results can be accessed with a single click.

  • Web search/text translation: Define a term/phrase through dictionary lookup, conduct Google searches, access associated videos and images, utilize Wikipedia, and use Google Translate to translate words and terms to and from various languages.

  • Rich media: Link or embed audio, video, and other web content.

  • Page fidelity: View actual page numbers that match the physical textbook page numbers, ensuring consistency with the instructor’s syllabus.

  • Bookmarking: Create a user-defined bookmark for any page within the text, enabling easy access to important content within the text.

  • Memory: Return to the last page being reading on each piece of content, even when using multiple devices, browsers, and the offline application.

  • Blended content: Use blended content either in customized eTexts provided as files by publishers or by simply assembling individual pieces of content (textbooks chapters, articles, cases, video, exercises, assessments, etc.) from multiple sources (proprietary, open source, self-generated) in the Courseload platform.

  • Help Tools: Access videos, support documentation, online help, offline help, and FAQs from the toolbar.

  • Printing: Print all pages with no restrictions, except for a limitation of 50 pages at a time.

  • Roles: Differentiate users by assigning distinct roles, such as Student and Instructor. Based on the role, users can be given different views, controls, and tools.

  • Document upload (Students and Instructors): Upload content into the Courseload viewer, store it, and then interact with it with the same set of tools as all other content, including sharing with others in the course as allowed.

  • Annotation copy feature (Instructors): Copy annotations from one section/course to another, repurposing prior work. Instructors create a living body of input to guide and enrich student learning with eTexts that get “smarter” over time.

  • Content organization (Instructors): Quickly organize content within a course to align with the syllabus. Modify the organizational structure in real time as additional content is added.

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What operating systems and devices are supported by Courseload?

The Courseload platform operates on any device equipped with a modern web browser. For the best experience, we recommend using a Mac or PC with Google Chrome, Safari (4.0+), Mozilla Firefox (4.0+), or Internet Explorer (9.0+). While not recommended at this time as a primary reading device, course materials can be read within the browser on Courseload with an Apple iPad and Android tablet. The small screen size of the Apple iPhone and Android Smartphone can make for difficult reading and navigation. Courseload does not support the Amazon Kindle/Fire, NOOK, or NOOK Color.

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Does Courseload allow for both online and offline reading?

Yes, Courseload offers both online and offline access. Please see the previous question for information about reading online. To read eContent offline in Courseload, users will need to download the Courseload app using a Google Chrome web browser. Upon logging in to the online version of the Courseload platform, users can quickly download the Courseload app to their personal computing device(s). All digital content associated with the user’s courses is then available without being tethered to the Internet or the UA’s learning management system. The next time the user logs in to Courseload’s online platform, all work created offline is re-synched to the online version. Users can download any content except external links or embedded videos. Content can be kept on the user’s device for up to 14 days. After 14 days, they will not be able to use the content until they log in to Courseload to synch the downloaded version with the version in their course. Synching the content uploads the highlights, notes, and questions created while using the content offline.

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Can the entire eTextbook be printed?

Yes, users can print up to 50 pages at a time of an eTextbook or other piece of course content from Courseload. There is no fee from Courseload to print and there is no limit to the number of times a page can be printed or the total number of pages that can be printed. Printed pages are for personal use only. Each printed page includes a line of text at the top indicating who printed the material. When printing, we recommend using the Google Chrome browser. It gives the best printed results, followed by Mozilla Firefox. Users also can print compiled annotations and notes. Students can select to print their notes and/or the instructor’s, selected classmates’ or all notes they have tagged under a given topic.

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Will the page numbers on an eText match those in the printed version?

Yes, Courseload users can view actual page numbers that match the physical textbook page numbers. This ensures consistency with the instructor’s syllabus.

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Is the Courseload platform accessible to users with disabilities?

The current production version of Courseload (Version 2.3) is compliant with Section 508 guidelines and WCAG 2.0. Currently, all faculty and students in courses using Courseload have access to important parts of the digital learning process. Taking and sharing notes, conversations around the texts, and all-inclusive collaboration are fully accessible and usable with popular assistive technologies. For more information regarding accessibility and Courseload, please visit this site.

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Can I access Courseload even if I’m not participating in the pilot?

Sorry, access to Courseload is limited to pilot participants at this time.

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Can I view a demo of Courseload?

To see a video demonstrating the features of Courseload, please visit this site.

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