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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