By Stuart Grinell, Vice President of Business Development at Ambassador
Schools of all types from all sectors continue to supplement print textbooks with digital course materials. Using eBooks, access codes, direct content, digital homework, courseware and study tools, as well as online self-assessments, quizzes and tests, schools have a great opportunity to enhance course quality, while also saving money and boosting student satisfaction.
That said, digital implementation, digital fulfillment and digital administrative management are anything but simple. From easing access, automating fulfillment and ensuring compliance with such regulations as opt-out, to taking the guesswork out of digital content costs, preventing duplicate purchases, and measuring outcomes, it all can be pretty overwhelming. Ambassador has a proven track record helping schools navigate digital course materials and we have done this enough times that we know what works.
Planning Your Digital Content Strategy
Working with your school, our team starts with a digital content strategy that aligns with your goals, supports your learners, and evolves as your needs change. The first step is to review your academic and financial objectives. Consider the role you want digital course materials to play in the student experience. Is your digital initiative driven by student accessibility or affordability, or both? Do you want to offer digital materials as an alternate or supplement to print textbooks and other course materials? Also consider the financial aspects. Will digital materials help you achieve your desired target revenue, if any, from course materials? How can they help you save money?
Once your objectives are confirmed, the Ambassador team leads the implementation process, including:
• Assisting in the selection of your Digital Content Platform and materials, taking into account curriculum, student choice and Print-On-Demand options
• Collaborating with faculty to create customized collections of digital content, including OER
• Evaluating the right delivery models, including Inclusive Access, LMS integrations and more
• Strategizing on device programs, including tablets and laptops
• Exploring publisher options, securing access and making sure licenses for digital content are accurately set up to match your program durations and publisher agreements
• Purchasing and managing access codes from each publisher for distribution based upon your enrollment reports
• Leveraging our digital content inventory management system
• Implementing integrations, controls and analytics
• Scheduling the roll out and communicating with faculty and students
Simplifying Digital Content Access
Your school can save a significant amount of time by off-loading the distribution process to Ambassador. Not only does our integration with your LMS, SIS and Digital Content Platforms ease access, but our automated notification system ensure all students are sent their digital content information on time. Additionally, we are there to support your faculty and students throughout process. The Ambassador team oversees the following:
• Fulfilling access codes based on your students and courses
• Implementing the necessary controls for the management of publisher direct content
• Sending students their fulfillment notifications (customized with the appropriate messaging and branding) with instructions for enabling their digital access
• Ensuring students have materials by the first day of class through our inclusive access model
• Managing and complying with the opt-out process
• Setting up and scheduling automated reminder notifications
• Preventing students from purchasing the same item more than once through our no-duplicate service
• Reconciling data for student digital content so you don’t overpay
• Providing student support whereby we can respond to the request or call the student at their requested date/time
• Enabling students 24/7 to resend their access codes, eBook redemption codes and instructional emails, as well as request return of unneeded materials
Taking Away the Burden of Digital Content Management
Digital content management requires effective data visibility to accurately assess usage, licenses and content payments. Too many times schools find themselves without the proper operational or financial controls, risking possible overpayment. Leveraging our digital content inventory management system, Ambassador ensures you have the data you need to support compliance, ensure accuracy and meet students’ needs. The Ambassador team administers the following:
• Managing the opt-out process to ensure compliance, including HEOA and FERPA
• Accepting various forms of payments including voucher and credit cards
• Automatically processing digital content returns based on student course changes
• Enabling students to request return of unneeded or unwanted materials
• Tracking student course enrollments, digital content accessibility, licenses (including expired licenses) and billing gaps for digital materials
• Translating data into enrollment-based financial analytics, ensuring you don’t overpay for publisher direct content
• Delivering customized fulfillment reports for reconciliation of each student account
• Providing detailed reports that will help your team gauge student digital materials usage, study habits and time, course progress and more
Partnering With Ambassador for Digital Success
Often times the management controls necessary for an effective digital course materials program fall outside of the capacity and expertise of schools, or quite simply schools chose not to take this on so they can focus their resources on their educational mission. Ambassador’s proven services, solutions and technology not only keep pace with the growing demand for affordable comprehensive course materials options, but also provide the necessary financial controls, analytics and reporting that result in cost savings, revenue recognition and improved cash flow.
We invite you to further the digital conversation with us – connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.