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Faculty Watch 2015-16

Key Findings Report: Faculty Watch 2015-16 Academic Year

Faculty Select Materials Based on Quality, Cost, and Reputation

In selecting new course materials, the vast majority of faculty (81%) base their selection on the overall content quality of the book, including accuracy, layout, and structure. The second-most important factor in the decision-making process is the cost of the material to the student, along with familiarity and experience with the current edition.

Updating To New Editions

For the most part, faculty indicate they act responsibly in this situation, with the slight majority of 37% updating only when changes between versions become significant, and 21% making the switch to the latest materials when it becomes difficult for students to obtain the older edition. Still, a significant 36% of faculty indicated they adopt the newest release as soon as it becomes available.

Updating Course Content and Materials Based Upon Quality Content

Providing better materials for students and eliminating non-relevant materials ranked as the top reasons for changing course materials; a decisive 91% of instructors said they did not receive any incentives from publishers to change to a new edition or new book. Only 3% of faculty indicated they received a publisher incentive.

Faculty are Comfortable with Digital

Despite speculation to the contrary, the majority of faculty members indicate they are quite comfortable using digital technology in their classrooms; 52% say they are very to extremely comfortable using these materials. Interestingly, faculty with 10-plus years of teaching experience are just as likely to be comfortable using new formats as their younger counterparts.

Use of New Formats

Faculty are gradually adapting to new formats of course materials in their classrooms. Traditional printed textbooks remain the predominant format adopted by instructors, with 93% indicating that they have used printed textbooks over the past 12 months, but only 81% plan to do so again over the coming year. Thirty-six percent of faculty plan to incorporate eBooks into their curriculum during the next 12 months, and 28% will require students to obtain access codes for their classes.

Some New Formats Enhance Learning, Others Don’t

Only 11% feel that eBooks are more effective than printed versions; the majority 54% believe they are equally effective. The same is not true, however, of access codes and adaptive learning tools. Nearly half of faculty believe they are actually more effective in creating positive learning outcomes for students.

With regard to students learning better, faster, and retaining more information, faculty still favor printed textbooks, but they’re seeing positive results from access codes and adaptive learning solutions.

Faculty Recommend the
Campus Store

The vast majority of faculty make recommendations to their students about where to acquire their course materials and the campus store is far and away their top recommended retail location. Over 80% of faculty refer their students to the campus store for their materials, either in-store or online, and 36% point them to Amazon for their purchases. Top reasons for referring to the campus store are convenience, followed closely by confidence that students will get the right books. For those instructors that recommend other retail options, better pricing is the number one reason.

Amazon enters the OER market

https://www.amazoninspire.com/access

Press release:

Announcing Amazon Inspire, a Free Service for Digital Educational Resources

Teachers from around the country invited to shape the future of Amazon Inspire; a new, free service to support learning and teaching in the digital classroom

Amazon Inspire will help teachers discover and share free, quality digital educational resources

States, school districts and publishers join Amazon on a new journey to make free, quality digital resources easily discoverable for teachers

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun. 27, 2016– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Today at ISTE 2016, Amazon announced Amazon Inspire, a free service for the search, discovery and distribution of digital educational resources. Developed in support of the company’s commitment to making digital classrooms a reality, Amazon Inspire, with its rich features such as search, discovery and peer reviews, will provide educators—regardless of funding or location—access to upload and share free digital teaching resources. The company is inviting educators to shape the evolution of this innovative service to best serve teachers as part of Amazon’s support of the U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen initiative.

“To truly transform learning in our schools and ensure educational equity for all students—regardless of grade level or zip code—it is crucial that we put high quality, open educational resources at teachers’ fingertips,” said Joseph South, director for the Office of Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. “The leadership of states, districts and innovative platform providers is critical for setting a vision and creating an open ecosystem where educators and students can access the tools, content and expertise necessary to thrive in a connected world.”

“Amazon joins educators from around the country in recognizing the power of digital learning to transform the classroom, by creating a personalized, engaging learning environment for all students,” said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager of Amazon K-12 Education. “However, we also know that making that promise a reality is a time consuming proposition and teachers tell us that they spend upwards of 12 hours a week searching for and curating resources for classroom instruction, placing a high degree of trust in resources shared by their peers. With Amazon Inspire, we aim to quickly and easily put the best and most trusted digital resources at teachers’ fingertips, saving them valuable time that can be devoted to what they do best and enjoy most—teaching.”

Amazon Inspire is in the beta stage and is ready for teachers to use and provide feedback to help shape the future of K-12 education.

Amazon Inspire Features

  • Smart search — With smart search, teachers can explore resources by grade level, standard or even from a particular district. Educators can filter search results using more than 10 criteria to find great resources that best fit their needs.
  • Collections — Educators can group resources into collections. They can describe the collection, curate the resources in it, recommend an order for going through the resources and share the collection with other teachers.
  • Simple upload — Amazon Inspire offers an easy to use and intuitive upload interface. Educators can drag and drop files they want to share, add basic metadata such as title, description, grade and subject, and publish the content on the service, all in a few minutes.
  • Customer reviews — Teachers can rate and review resources on Amazon Inspire, helping their colleagues around the country select the best resources for their needs.
  • Accessibility support — Amazon Inspire has built in accessibility features. For example, educators can navigate Amazon Inspire using popular screen readers and users are also able to indicate the accessibility features of resources they upload.

“We’re mentors, facilitators, coaches, listeners, and learners,” said Michael Buist, a teacher at Knox Gifted Academy in Chandler, Arizona. “We’re Sherpas. And if it’s our job to get our students to the top of the mountain, we also need help. We need inspiration and resources. Amazon Inspire is that place to not only share, but learn from each other and enhance our craft.”

With the growing support of states, school districts and contributing publishers, Amazon Inspire aims to provide educators with the largest selection of free and open educational resources to improve instruction and student learning outcomes.

New York’s Mineola Public Schools is among the first school districts in the country to join the Amazon Inspire service. Superintendent Michael Nagler said, “Mineola is proud to contribute content to the Amazon Inspire service. We believe the future of public education in a digital world is the ability to easily find engaging content for students. As more teachers share content on Amazon Inspire, other teachers will find high quality, highly successful classroom materials. That is a victory for every child.”

Another early contributor to Amazon Inspire is Tulare County Office of Education in Visalia, California, which serves more than 100,000 students in 43 school districts. Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak said, “We’re delighted that Amazon has provided a service for our talented curriculum staff to distribute nationwide the quality resources they carefully vetted or created for teachers. We look forward to further growing and sharing open educational resources as the result of the collaborations that emerge on Amazon Inspire.”

In addition to teachers sharing innovative instructional resources on Amazon Inspire, publishers and other content developers are contributing digital educational resources to the service. One contributor is the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “Too many teachers struggle with time and budget constraints to get high quality content for their students,” said Barbara McCormack, Vice President of Education. “By collaborating with Amazon, we can take an open access approach to scale quickly, ensuring teachers and students get the resources they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

The U.S. Department of Education is also providing resources to Amazon Inspire from College Scorecard, its collection of critical information for making smart choices about which college to attend. Teachers will be able to use those resources to help students get the right information in the clearest way as they make the decision about their future education.

Another example of an Amazon Inspire contributor is the Folger Shakespeare Library. This year, as students celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s life, Amazon Inspire has more than 100 teaching resources from the library available with an additional 2,000 to be added by back to school. These resources link directly to classroom instruction about Shakespeare’s plays and the world that shaped them, including the Folger Editions, which are the number one Shakespeare text used in American classrooms today.

Amazon is also supported in this initiative by early adopter states, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont, early adopter school districts, including Avonworth School District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cajon Valley Union School District, El Cajon, California; Liberty Public Schools, Missouri; Metro Nashville Public Schools; Tullahoma City Schools, Tennessee; and Virginia Beach City Public Schools; and other contributing publishers, such as EdLeader21 and the Buck Institute for Education, who committed to openly sharing their original and curated digital educational resources for the benefit of K-12 instruction across the country.

Amazon first announced its commitment to the OER movement in October 2015 when the U.S. Department of Education launched its #GoOpen campaign. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is providing a multi-year infrastructure and developer support for the Department of Education’s Learning Registry, an open database where content creators and educators can share information about digital educational resources, ensuring that it remains robust and freely available for all 15,000 U.S. school districts in our country.

Educators across the United States are invited to learn more about or join the Amazon Inspire beta at www.amazoninspire.com.

About Amazon K-12 Education

Amazon Education’s mission is to improve learning outcomes with solutions that help teachers focus on what they do best—teach, engage and motivate students to learn. Products include rigorous content and curriculum resources for differentiated instruction and personalized learning, and a learning resource service that specifically supports the discovery, curation, creation, and distribution of digital education resources for every educator across the country.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.