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Digital learning and LMS/SIS providers on integration mishaps

University Business, July 2018

What should campus administrators consider as they integrate their digital textbooks and e-learning materials with their LMS and SIS systems? 

“Campus administrators need to ensure they understand their student experience goals relating to digital content. The technology ecosystem they use to manage and deliver this experience needs to be considered in full, and in service of their student needs—including privacy, content performance data and individual student data.”

—Ken Chapman, vice president of Market Research, D2L


Link to main story: Colleges connect the textbooks


“University administrators should be far more concerned about how students access critical course materials. Studies show 85 percent of students either delay or avoid purchasing required textbooks due to cost. The most effective, affordable solution is transitioning to digital, and directly integrating required course materials into students’ learning management systems.”

—Michael Hale, vice president of education for North America, Vital Source

“Schools tend to underestimate the number of unique sources and formats faculty will want to utilize for a given course. Administrators see it as extra work; faculty see it as delivering the best experience to the university’s students.”

—Chris Uthe, product manager, Jenzabar

“While integrations between digital textbooks and LMS’s are better than ever, faculty may still find themselves forced to choose between the publisher's platform and their own preferred tools in order to give students a simple, unified experience. Ideally, technical integrations let faculty easily select and use the best of both.”

—Jared Stein, vice president for higher ed strategy, Canvas 

“Digital courseware has moved beyond an “online ebook” to a holistic learning experience. Linking out to courseware in a way that preserves that experience for the student is paramount to a successful learning experience, and getting the most out of the courseware and investment.”

—Balraj Kalsi, senior vice president, technical product management, Cengage

“Administrators realize that the complete integration of digital materials can lower student costs, make content available on day one of class, and provide important information to educators on content utilization and effectiveness. Yet the degree of coordination required to implement this integration can be daunting—involving the school’s registration, bursar’s systems and legal, creating a long process.”

—Jim Zaorski, vice president, Blackboard

“In the SIS we pay attention to what resources are required so that if there is a charge for those resources we can make it visible to the student in the registration process. From the CRM perspective, you need to consider the linkage between course materials access, completion of work and Student Affairs. Students accessing materials, downloading PDFs or PPTs, for example, can be a leading indicator of what types of interactions are needed to support the student. If a student is accessing materials on time, downloading on time, etc., this may spur interactions on available campus clubs (or LinkedIn groups) related to the topic being studied, offer early insights into student progress.”

—Rebecca R. Whitehead, director of product management for enrollment, records and services, Campus Management


Nancy Mann Jackson is an Alabama-based writer and frequent contributor to UB.