As you heard recently with our acquisition of MyEdu, we are working hard to provide more value to the groups that use our products every day: students and faculty. Today I am excited to announce another example of how we are doing that through our plans to launch an online bookstore directly within the LMS.

While details of the bookstore are still being finalized, the concept is that it will be just as simple and elegant as buying books and materials any other e-commerce system, but made specifically to support the educational experience. Built directly in the teaching and learning environment, it will be the first and only of its kind.

Plans call for faculty to be able to search, find and indicate course materials and students to be able to easily select those materials for automatic shopping cart population. With instructor-verified materials and competitive pricing, students are able to have an extremely convenient and confident buying experience.

We plan on a full launch later this year, but here are a few conceptual designs for what it may look like:

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Why are we doing this? Today’s students are digital natives and expect technology to provide them with more flexibility, accessibility and simplicity. The current process of getting a list of course materials, searching for those materials, and hoping you are purchasing the right items, creates a lot of work and worry. It just makes sense to use the same environment students are already in to actually purchase necessary materials immediately, directly and confidently.

This announcement also speaks to the evolution of the “LMS” in the traditional sense of the term. We are moving far beyond simple grade books, management tools and discussion boards and into a comprehensive teaching and learning environment that fully meets the expectations of today’s learners. I hope you’re excited as I am about this announcement. Stay tuned for more information.

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  • ddyer1970

    I’d rather see the APIs opened up so that campus bookstores could tie into the courses in this way. Actually, what would be best is if the local campus bookstore was able to get their pricing listed as well. That gives students the ability to buy local (and use financial aid money, which you can’t do at Amazon) as well as see comparison pricing.

    You also have to be VERY careful of ISBNs, since so many texts now come with online access codes. Amazon might look to be 30% of the price of the bookstore, but when you have to go back and buy the code separately, it usually costs more than buying from your bookstore.

  • DrTwitch@UNI

    We have such a system in place at Grinnell College linked directly to the SIS class schedules and pictorial course rosters (BTW after 7 years of avatars/profiles in the core product, please GIVER US GOOD PICTURE ROSTERS and attendance tools – but I digress). We pulled the booklists/course lists from the Campus bookstore data system. The bookstore staff worked with instructors to build and
    maintain these lists, which was key to adoption by the students and faculty. The comprehensive book list (with prices new/used) was a tremendous hit for students and they would often print a list to show to parents as well. I very much like this idea.

    However, if the system is going to rely on instructors to get the ISBN correct for materials, or to put materials into such a system in a timely way, and make their course available in time for students to take advantage of this list, the results/adoption rates may be disappointing.

    I also second ddyer1970′s request that the LOCAL bookstore also be in the list of vendors.

  • kingnacho

    This is helpful for online programs that use one system. But in a traditional setting where a student has two courses that use Blackboard, one that uses a departmental Moodle system, and one that doesn’t use anything. A student would have to go to multiple places to get the information. Or just walk to one of the bookstores on campus which has all the information for all their courses.