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How can technology be used to transform teaching and learning in Higher Education?

This is a subject of much discussion and debate, not only in the educational community, but among students, the business community and policy-makers concerned about global competitiveness. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), mass higher education has become a worldwide priority, with enrollments growing from 100 million to 150 million in just a decade — a reflection of the reality that higher education is recognized as a key driver of the new knowledge economy internationally.

At Vital Source Technologies, Inc., we believe that developments in distance education, including MOOCs, are opening new doors to people around the globe, giving unprecedented access to millions of students worldwide. That’s why we were excited to join with edX this week in announcing our partnership to distribute educational content to the edX community. We recognize that procuring publisher content has been a difficult process for MOOC course teams, and we hope that distributing publisher content through the VitalSource Bookshelf® e-textbook platform will provide greater access to higher education content for the millions of students who participate in edX courses annually.

Vital Source will leverage our existing relationships with over 500 of the world’s top publishers to obtain content for free delivery to edX learners. The VitalSource e-reader will provide DRM protection, textbook usage analytics, and the ability for edX learners to create and share textbook highlights and notes. In addition, edX learners will have the option to purchase the full textbook through the Vital Source e-commerce store. In a pilot of three participating courses offered by Harvard and MIT, tens of thousands of students collectively viewed more than 500,000 e-textbook pages delivered by Vital Source from John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a global provider of content and content-enabled workflow solutions.

Through the integration of edX with the Vital Source Bookshelf® platform, students and educators can interact with course content seamlessly and can share notes and highlights with peers around the world. Publishers that make content available through edX can expand the reach of their content to the global education community. Overall, it’s a “win” for everyone, and a continuation of Vital Source’s commitment to transform higher education and connect content with institutions, educators and students worldwide.

By Kent Freeman, Chief Operating Officer, Vital Source Technologies, Inc.

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