University of Manchester and Liverpool first to provide their students with all key content online required for their coursework and Jisc tracks what measures publishers are putting in place or plan to implement in light of COVID-19.
Jisc today announces that over 120 UK universities are now being set up to enable access to critical textbook content for upwards of 1.4 million students over tens of thousands of modules of study, from right across the UK and Ireland under the Free Student eTextbook Programme (FSTP).
The Kortext textbook programme includes thousands of titles brought together by academic publishers, including Pearson, McGraw Hill, Cengage, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, Cambridge and Oxford University presses amongst others to deliver a sector wide, student-centric solution to minimise the initial impact of COVID-19.
Paul Feldman, CEO of Jisc says,
“It’s vital that as many students across the UK can continue to learn from wherever they are during the lockdown period. The rapid response from universities signing up to the programme combined with the overwhelmingly positive reaction from publishers providing core e-textbooks, is a landmark of unprecedented cooperation across the sector. We hope that this initiative will lead to future collaborations to provide critical textbook access online to all students.”
"Kortext have provided an invaluable service to the HE sector in stepping up with the Free Student Content Programme at this time of uncertainty and rapidly changing circumstances. It has provided us and our university community with extremely useful teaching tools in a very timely fashion,"
"At the University of Manchester, as with colleagues across the sector, we are keen to reassure our students and staff that we are here to support their studies and research online by providing access to key digital content during this difficult time. The Free Student eTextbook Programme will have a significant impact in making this transition as quick and comprehensive as possible at no extra cost.”
James Gray, CEO and founder of Kortext adds,
“The scale of this programme is truly ground-breaking. Only by pulling together as a sector has this programme been made possible and ensured we are able to support all UK students with an unprecedented amount of content on a single, customisable bookshelf for free, thus ensuring they can continue to study at this crucial time of year.”
Jisc is continuing to encourage all publishers to collaborate with Kortext and other providers such as Vital Source and BibliU to maximise the availability of content to students as well as clinicians who are supporting the NHS during the pandemic.
VitalSource managing director, international, Alice Duijser says,
“VitalSource recognises the global ramification of the COVID-19 pandemic and is pleased to further expand the VitalSource Helps programme to the UK and Ireland to help ensure immediate access to the resources students need to adapt to a new way of learning.”
VitalSource Helps features an extensive catalogue of course materials from leading publishers that serve students in the UK and Ireland. The catalogue is continuously expanding as more publishers join the programme.
CEO of BibliU Dave Sherwood adds,
“We have seen a 40% spike in the average reading time on BibliU’s eReader amongst our student users. To match an increased demand for digital access to core and supplementary textbooks we have partnered with the majority of UK universities to help them empower their remote students.”
In support of university libraries seeking clarity on what content is now available, Jisc has set up an online survey to capture the measures that content and service providers have put in place or plan to implement. The survey includes questions on provision for off-campus access and whether publishers intend to roll out extended trials, or grace periods. Responses will be made available on the licence subscriptions manager website and will be updated daily.
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