In the last blog, I described the great opportunities that Courseload’s features bring to Unizin Members and emphasized lowering costs while enhancing user experience. In this blog, I want to describe how this acquisition is critical to Unizin’s roadmap going forward. Courseload
At its core, Unizin is about ensuring the Academy stays in control of our data, our content, and our reputations. What does a Courseload have to do with that? Actually, quite a lot!
We are thrilled to announce that we recently acquired the software and trademark assets of Courseload, Inc!
Courseload Engage is a leading platform for delivering textbooks and other educational resources in digital form to students. It brings collaborative teaching and learning capabilities to students and instructors, which ultimately brings us closer to improving learning experiences. Some of the key product features include the ability to highlight, annotate, bookmark, and search digital texts, as well as to consolidate and share study notes, all of which foster learner interactions with the content. Our intent is to deploy Courseload as the digital text platform for the Unizin ecosystem.
Over two years ago, Brad Wheeler, Indiana University Professor and Chief Information Officer, wrote to his colleagues about the future of digital learning in higher education and how universities can pave a path toward scaling learning and teaching beyond a single institution. In his closing remarks, he posited a potential path forward where universities can ”sew together a set of content, distribution and analytics capabilities via strong contracts with a range of potential players.” 2015
The technology that supports teaching and learning is increasingly more like plumbing (the basic infrastructure that both enables and constrains) than like a shiny, eye-catching plumbing fixture. More important, this infrastructure is as critical to the future of residential and online education as bricks and mortar have been to our past. We ignore this technology, this infrastructure, at our own peril. Enter Unizin.
There is an exciting new development in the teaching and learning space that you need to know about. It’s called Unizin. Simply put, Unizin is a consortium of universities formed around the idea that higher education—and not just private vendors—should own, direct and share a set of services that further teaching and learning.
The formal launch of Unizin begins an exciting new chapter for Digital Education and a path for universities to shape our future. We have been fortunate to be among the many who have shaped the ideas that form Unizin, and our institutions are among the earliest universities to join. Our goals and purpose in endorsing Unizin are simple: As professors and members of the academy, we want to support faculty and universities by ensuring that universities and their faculty stay in control of the content, data, relationships, and reputations that we create. As we look at the rapidly emerging infrastructure that enables digital learning, we want to bias things in the direction of open standards, interoperability, and scale. Unizin is about tipping the table in favor of the academy by collectively owning (buying, developing, and connecting) the essential infrastructure that enables digital learning on our campuses and beyond.