ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- CourseSmart, the world's largest provider of eTextbooks, announced at EDUCAUSE 2010 that several leading higher education institutions are now using certified system integration capabilities to gain access to CourseSmart's eTextbook catalog via their campus Learning Systems. CourseSmart is the first eTextbook provider to receive "Basic LTI v1.0 Compliant" status from IMS, a global, nonprofit, member association providing leadership in shaping educational technology standards and innovation. This distinction, combined with CourseSmart's unmatched content catalogue boasting over 90% of core higher education textbooks, creates a new standard for institutions seeking secure, reliable and lightweight course materials integration.
CourseSmart's IMS-conformant Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard provides colleges and universities a secure, yet flexible cloud-based solution to address the needs of different user groups, including faculty and students. Implementing 'single sign-on' (SSO) to verify user credentials, CourseSmart's LTI ensures the highest levels of data privacy, authentication, authorization and maintenance and reporting functions for access to an institution's Learning Systems – Learning Management System, Student Information Systems or Campus Portal.
"Higher Education Institutions are looking for new approaches to integrating their key Learning Systems with the rich library of eTextbooks and digital assets that have become available and have captured the interest of faculty and student alike," said Ted Johnson, Director of Application Development and Web Services, at Minnesota State University, Mankato, one of the institutions utilizing CourseSmart's LTI. "Creating these integrations introduces significant challenges because of the need to incorporate a broad range of functionality and yet keep the resulting system simple to use, quick to develop and secure to operate. CourseSmart brought up their digital Bookshelf on our campus Desire2Learn system within 15 minutes—and that was via a phone meeting."
"Enabling open and seamless integration of educational web applications with learning management platforms and portals is the new model for institutional progress, and CourseSmart has pioneered a standards-based approach for dealing with these complex projects," said Rob Abel, CEO of IMS. "Rather than creating its own software and processes for integration projects, CourseSmart has partnered with best-of-breed educational interoperability standards to return maximum value for the least expenditure of time and money. CourseSmart's approved implementation of the standards have certainly moved the eTextbooks industry forward and will make a long-lasting impact on higher education overall," he added.
"As a contributing member of the IMS, CourseSmart has long valued the importance of adopting and elevating the technology and integration standards of our solutions," said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart. "CourseSmart's LTI adapter was developed to provide rapid and lightweight integration capabilities for authorized access to digital course materials while enhancing the user experience. Receiving the stamp of approval from IMS validates our efforts," he added.
CourseSmart's IMS-conformant solution also enables institutions to optimize other initiatives such as reducing course materials costs or supporting Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) compliance, and provides seamless access to critical academic resources for students and faculty from the within the systems they use daily.
Early adoption of IMS LTI standards underscores CourseSmart's commitment to providing very rapid but completely secure connections between its library of digital assets and campus Learning Systems. If a university's Learning System has pre-built LTI adapter capabilities, such as those created for Moodle, Desire2Learn, Blackboard, or other LMS providers, then the integration to CourseSmart can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. For institutions choosing to integrate CourseSmart with vendor-produced or home-grown infrastructure lacking a built-in LTI adapter, CourseSmart leverages the open source OAuth standard employed by Google, Flickr, and Twitter, among others. OAuth provides the very same security protections that LTI provides but allows a simple programmable or scripted interface.
CourseSmart has the world's largest catalogue of digital course materials and is the easiest way for faculty to evaluate textbooks and enable college students to gain instant access to their assigned course materials. Students can also take advantage of 60% cost savings and the digital efficiencies of CourseSmart's eTextbooks, including anytime, anywhere access at www.coursesmart.com; search functions; page fidelity; ability to cut and paste; and highlighting and note-taking abilities.
CourseSmart provides eTextbooks and digital course materials that improve the educational process by offering instructors and students a unique combination of the right course material, anywhere, any-time access and a low cost. As the world's largest digital course materials supplier, CourseSmart has a rapidly growing digital library of more than 90% of core higher education textbooks offered as eTextbooks, the same titles produced by major publishers in print and recommended by faculty across North America. The company's eTextbooks can be purchased for up to 60% less than print texts and offer users the ability to print what they need as well as search and copy and paste features which help to streamline students' studies. Additional information can be found on the company's Web site: www.coursesmart.com.
About IMS Global Learning Consortium
IMS Global Learning is a nonprofit member organization that strives to enable the growth and impact of learning technology in higher education, K-12, and corporate education worldwide. IMS GLC members are leading corporations, higher education institutions, school districts and government organizations worldwide that are enabling the future of education by collaborating on interoperability standards and major adoption projects for the digital support of education and learning. IMS GLC also sponsors Learning Impact: a global awards program and conference that recognizes the impact of innovative technology on educational access, affordability, and quality. For more information, visit www.imsglobal.org.
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