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March of the Textbook Publishers

blendedlearning's picture

As the college experience becomes increasingly concentrated in students' technological spaces, the vendors of digital tools become more and more prominent parts of that experience. Textbook publishers and course managment system companies vie for market space, both seeking to gain control over the market. More and more, that means vying for increased control over the learning experience.

Between the textbook publishers and the course management providers, no one company has won out as the ultimate provider of every part of the learning experience. But as the two fight it out to provide an immersive experience, they're also taking control away from someone else: faculty.

Part of the immerseive experience, after all, includes creating activities, setting learning objectives, and designing assessments -- areas that are traditionally the domain of faculty. While the deadlock between companies suggests that faculty aren't in any immediate danger of corporations seizing control over their classrooms, some universities are working to partner with their supply companies. Working with publishers and CMS companies can allow faculty to engineer flexible materials. Freedom is important to faculty, and if ceding control to technology companies endangers that, the partnerships will fall flat.

For more information, read the Chronicle of Higher Education article "Textbook Publishers Push to Provide Full Digital-Learning Experience."