Smart Textbooks Tell Teachers If Students Have Done Their Homework

CourseSmart allows professors to monitor reading patterns.

First, technology made students’ lives easier by enabling them to read wikis instead of their textbooks. Now, technology is recommending that students return to their textbooks or their professors will find out.

CourseSmart, a digital course material publisher and platform, has created a new analytics program for e-textbooks that will enable teachers to check students’ usage of the e-textbook. The analytics tool allows instructors to monitor their students’ reading progress, page views, the time they spent reading, and their highlighting and note-taking habits within the e-book. Additionally, the program will provide teachers with an overall engagement score based on students’ use and activity within the e-book.

The tool was developed to allow professors to see which students were accessing and completing the readings, and intervene with ‘at risk’ students who were showing low engagement with the class material. It also enables college administrators to evaluate the efficacy of the textbooks they employ in classrooms and their investment in digital materials. Ellen Wagner, Executive Director, WICHE, Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET) said,

The higher education community is hungry for actionable data that links student engagement to their learning content. With the CourseSmart dashboard, professors will be better able to fine-tune lesson plans, critique student performance, and even tailor suggestions for specific students on how to study more effectively to help them stay on track and stay in school.

Students who are concerned about their privacy or do not want their instructors digitally looking over their shoulder have the ability to opt out of the reporting feature.

The CourseSmart Analytics tool has been piloted in three higher education schools, Villanova University, Rasmussen College, and Texas A&M University at San Antonio, with broad release expected for 2013.

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