Academic Solutions · Article

Streamlining Course Material Management: Benefits for the Entire Ecosystem

September 11, 2020

Streamlining Course Material Management

The Fall 2020 term is underway, and colleges and universities are adapting to the fluctuating conditions created by COVID-19. In such times of rapid change, it becomes even more important for institutions to simplify and streamline processes wherever possible — on behalf of all stakeholders.

Course material management is one such process, and it directly impacts student affordability, access and achievement. Ultimately, making it easier to adopt, deliver and access affordable course materials benefits everyone in the ecosystem: students, faculty and administrators. Institutions have an especially relevant and valuable opportunity to take a new approach to course material management and meet their key priorities. Here’s how, broken down by each audience.

Students and Families

Pay for course materials in a bundle with tuition and fees

In a complete access model, students have their course material costs bundled and included as part of tuition and fees. It’s one less thing students need to worry about at the beginning of the term, and those using financial aid for course materials don’t have to wait for disbursement, which often doesn’t happen until classes have already started. In addition, the cost is significantly lower – an average of 40-50% with Barnes & Noble College’s First Day® Complete inclusive access program, for example — due to volume.

Receive course materials automatically – no confusion

With complete access, students don’t have anything to figure out, because the campus store provides all required course materials automatically. There’s no need to ask around or borrow textbooks from friends. No one needs to spend time searching online vendors. It’s all included with complete access, which helps reduce stress for the 58% of students who say adjusting to college life is stressful. They know they’ll be prepared for class. And, with programs like First Day® Complete, each student can choose print or digital materials to best suit their learning preferences.


Follow same overall adoption process with less pressure around cost

While complete access represents a big change for students in terms of simplicity and savings, faculty aren’t expected to change their behaviors or do anything differently. Faculty who typically research affordable course material options may see the greatest shift — because they won’t need to invest as much time in the process. With complete access, they can simply select the best course materials for the term, knowing that the program’s volume will secure savings for students.

Plan out the term knowing students will be prepared

When faculty know that students will have their assigned course materials and be prepared for class on day one, they can get started right away. The playing field will be level for all students, allowing faculty to bring their teaching and learning experiences to life.


Ensure students have a consistent way to get the affordable course materials they need

Affordability is a priority for institutions nationwide — but in our 2020 National Student Pulse Report, only 43% of students said they believe that their school is improving affordability. A complete access program allows institutions to demonstrate their commitment to lowering costs for students. And, as institutions continue navigating the pandemic, complete access also allows them to stay flexible and nimble, making it easy for students to get their course materials, no matter where they’re learning.

Keep revenue on campus

Complete access programs drive course material sales back through the campus store, helping institutions recapture market share from other online retailers. More importantly, the resulting revenue boost comes with significant savings for students. Now is the perfect time to explore moving to a complete access model, as lowering costs for students and raising revenues are more important than ever.

For more information on complete access and the challenges it can help institutions solve, download Barnes & Noble College’s latest white paper. The Future of Course Material Management: A Guide to Innovation in Affordability, Access, and Convenience takes a look at where we are today — and outlines solutions, practical recommendations and results that show the way forward to increased affordability, access and convenience for all stakeholders.

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