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September 14, 2022 • 1 minute read
By: Mike Hale, Ph.D., Chief Learning and Content Officer

VitalSource has long been committed to increasing student success through easy access to affordable content. We also believe that if you can, you must improve learning for students and expand educational opportunities for all learners. Of course, we are not alone in this view and it is the reason many companies have built assessment-rich course materials. 

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Blog > Set your students up for day-one success!

September 27, 2017 • 2 minute read

Set your students up for day-one success!

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Set your students up for day-one successThe process of preparing for the semester is daunting.

It’s stressful figuring out how to get students to get the most from your course, usually accompanied by flipping through an old textbook or sifting through a pile of sample books that have been hoarded with the best of intentions.

There’s so much great content out there, but you have limited time to communicate it to your students. How can you easily get through that stack, create a syllabus and then figure out your course?

Good news: we can help you tackle these common conundrums.

Conundrum 1: Which book?

Our solution:

  1. Write your learning objectives. You already know exactly what you want students to get out of this course, get them on paper first.
  2. Sample all relevant books on the subject from the VitalSource Bookshelf sampling portal.
  3. Use a full-library search on each learning objective and see which book gets the most hits and in which chapters.

Book problem: solved!

Conundrum 2: What do I teach each week? How do I get my students the content they need to succeed in the course without all that other stuff?

Our solution:

  1. During that full library search mentioned above, you’ll notice some topics flow together. Start chunking that content based on the number of weeks you teach.
  2. Create custom assignments based on that chunked content. Your students only need to study content related to the objectives, so you can easily focus their reading to specific pages, sections or chapters.

No worries about students losing their syllabus or not reading assignment information posted in the learning management system. When your students use Bookshelf, we’ll auto-assign the readings directly to your students so you don’t have to!

Conundrum 3: How do my students get the most out of their reading?

Our solution:

  1. Highlight important sections and take notes in your book. Share these with your students to call their attention to the relevant information on the page.
  2. Encourage students to share notes and highlights to create a crowd-sourced study guide.
  3. Encourage struggling students to share highlights with you to show exactly where they are confused.

That’s it! Three easy steps to get the upfront course work taken care of so you can teach your course.

But because having the course locked and loaded doesn’t mean your job ends on day one, we have created instructor dashboards to allow you to monitor students’ progress and intervene accordingly.

Using our instructor dashboards is even easier than setting up your course, allowing you to:

  1. Track who has and who hasn’t opened the book.
  2. Monitor weekly study habits and the completion of reading assignments.
  3. Identify at-risk students.
  4. Understand where students are struggling within the content.

View the recording of Best Practices for Teaching with Digital Textbooks webinar and take a closer look at these tips and tricks for a seamless semester.


Blog post written by Daniel Green and Rainna Erikson

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