CourseSmart creates analytics program to track e-textbook engagement

November 14, 2012

Digital textbook provider CourseSmart announced last week the launch of CourseSmart Analytics, a program the creators hope will improve student outcomes and retention. Currently being piloted at 3 US colleges, the program charts students' engagement with their e-textbooks and allows professors and institutions to evaluate the usefulness of learning materials and to track student work. The program considers metrics of student usage, such as page views, time spent in a textbook, notes taken, highlights made, bookmarks used, and whether or not the student even opened the textbook. CourseSmart's algorithm compiles and analyzes the data, and instructors receive an overall assessment of their students' engagement through their regular learning management system. The emphasis on analytics is part of a broader push in PSE for data connecting course content to student outcomes. There is pressure on institutions to prove their students are learning, and this pressure spreads out to textbook publishers to demonstrate that their materials are useful in achieving the desired results. Inside Higher Ed