SAN MATEO, Calif., July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CourseSmart®, the world's largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials, today announced an expanded agreement to provide the CourseSmart Building Block for the Blackboard Learn™ platform throughout the United States and Canada. With the integration, students and instructors have seamless and efficient access to CourseSmart's library of more than 30,000 eTextbooks and eResources directly within Blackboard Learn. The CourseSmart Building Block was introduced as a pilot program to 20 schools last year, and due to high customer satisfaction and demonstrated value, is now available to institutions using Blackboard Learn 9.1.
"The integration we developed for the Blackboard Learn platform exceeded all expectations so we are expanding our initial pilot program beyond 20 institutions to make it more widely available to all institutions across North America," said Sean Devine, chief executive officer at CourseSmart. "In addition to the depth, breadth and functionality of our library of digital course materials, the higher education community is responding especially well to our unique single sign-on experience with deep linking to eTextbooks and eResources from within the exact context of the course in Blackboard Learn. This feature allows students to access the wide range of eTextbooks and eResources they need to complete assignments and improve learning outcomes, free from the inconvenience of juggling multiple log-in credentials and passwords."
CourseSmart's pilot program for the Blackboard Learn platform began in November of last year and included two-year, four-year and public sector institutions. During the pilot program, use of the CourseSmart Building Block increased faculty usage of CourseSmart by more than 35 percent and increased student usage by more than 90 percent, with people citing ease of use, device agnostic access to materials both online and offline, and time and cost-savings among the most compelling features. Students in the average course at the pilot schools saved over $1,000 per course on their textbook expenditures when compared to the full cost of new print textbooks.
The CourseSmart Building Block is free to higher education institutions, and provides instructors with immediate access to evaluate and immediately use in their courses, 90 percent of the core higher education eTextbooks and eResources in use today. Without leaving the Blackboard Learn platform, instructors can easily review all digital course materials in the CourseSmart library, create links to a required reading assignment, and homework problems and then seamlessly share that information with their students. The application enhances students' studies through product features including search, copy and paste, highlight, annotate, share and print as well as access on mobile devices. The single sign-on functionality enables students and instructors to access CourseSmart's digital catalog directly within Blackboard Learn without having to remember a separate set of credentials for CourseSmart access.
"We strive to provide a better educational experience for students, instructors and institutional partners," said Matthew Small, chief business officer at Blackboard. "Our clients and users benefit from access to a robust set of digital content directly within the Blackboard Learn platform."
As the world's largest provider of digital course materials, CourseSmart® connects education publishers to consumers by providing an efficient distribution platform for their best-selling content in digital form. Founded in 2007, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company provides services to four business segments: Online direct retail for students; Indirect distribution of course materials to students through bookstores; Online faculty textbook evaluation services; and Institutional solutions for faculty and students that are integrated within campus technology ecosystems. CourseSmart improves the educational process and experience by offering all users anywhere, any-time access to the course content they need, including those with vision- and print-related disabilities. With more than 90% of the same core titles offered by major print publishers, the company's eTextbooks can be purchased for up to 60% less than the cost of new print textbooks. For more information about CourseSmart, visit the company's Web site at www.coursesmart.com.
© 2012 CourseSmart, LLC. CourseSmart® is a registered trademark of CourseSmart, LLC. Blackboard® and Blackboard Building Blocks™ are registered trademarks of Blackboard Inc. and are used with permission. All rights reserved.
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