Study hard, shop easy? Blackboard is developing an online bookstore in an effort to simplify the process for students to purchase assigned course materials. The company is kicking off the initiative with limited trials this spring with select postsecondary institutions and planning on a full launch this summer. While details for the bookstore are still being finalized, Blackboard is trying to create an easier, more personalized experience for students purchasing course materials, including new, used and rental textbooks, e-textbooks, digital content and more. The online bookstore will also streamline faculty workflows by letting them search, find and indicate course materials directly within the LMS. Plans call for the store to be accessed directly within the learning management system (LMS) and for students to see instructor-assigned materials that correspond with each of their individual courses. These materials would pre-populate in a shopping cart for streamlined purchase or rental. Blackboard is trying to reinvent the current textbook-buying process of getting a list of course materials, searching for those materials, and hoping students are purchasing the right items — which can create a lot of work and worry —by letting students purchase necessary materials immediately, directly and confidently using the same environment are already in. Another goal of the effort is to provide a student-focused option designed specifically to support the educational experience. The company hopes the online bookstore leads to more students getting access to and using the materials they need to be successful. Check it out.
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