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Press Center > VitalSource and Iowa State University Win Prestigious EdTech Award for Innovative AI Research Partnership

June 21, 2023

VitalSource and Iowa State University Win Prestigious EdTech Award for Innovative AI Research Partnership


Research into the impact of VitalSource’s AI-powered study coach, Bookshelf CoachMe, on teaching and learning honored by 1EdTech

RALEIGH, NC and AMES, IA – VitalSource® and Iowa State University (ISU) received the 2023 1EdTech Learning Impact Silver Award for their research partnership examining the effect of VitalSource’s artificial intelligence-powered study coach, Bookshelf CoachMe®, on teaching and learning. The annual awards, which recognize transformative, high-impact solutions in education, were announced earlier this month during 1EdTech’s Learning Impact Conference in Anaheim, California.

Read the award-winning VitalSource-ISU project entry, Applying AI-Generated Practice to Textbooks to Improve Teaching and Learning, and watch the accompanying video.

Disseminating learning science-based tools like Bookshelf CoachMe in existing textbooks, at no additional cost, aligns with our institutional goal of maximizing course material affordability and accessibility to all students so learning can begin on day one of class,” said Heather Dean, Assistant Director of the Iowa State University Bookstore. “Accelerating student success takes close collaboration between all stakeholders in this changing educational ecosystem, and our research partnership with VitalSource has allowed us to do just that. We are grateful for the recognition and look forward to continuing our work together as the early data on Bookshelf CoachMe’s impact is very encouraging.”

The ongoing ISU-VitalSource research partnership kicked off in summer 2022, facilitated by the University’s bookstore and supported by its Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. “Our goal for this research project was to better understand the utility of AI generated practice as a learning tool across a variety of natural learning contexts and study its benefits for both students and faculty alike,” noted Rachel Van Campenhout, Ed.D., Research Scientist at VitalSource. “During the 2022–23 academic year, ISU faculty volunteered to incorporate Bookshelf CoachMe into their teaching practice, assign the study questions as homework, and monitor student engagement via data reports. Faculty also distributed student surveys and participated in interviews to share observations and feedback.

The early data from the research study is compelling. Students generally completed 100% of available practice in all assigned chapters, and in one course, content use tripled over the prior semester. Students responded favorably as well. In a survey, 95.9% of students who used the practice reported finding that the questions were helpful for their learning and preparation for assessments.

“VitalSource is committed to building tools grounded in core principles of learning science, and Iowa State has been an instrumental partner in studying the learning outcomes of Bookshelf CoachMe’s AI-generated practice questions,” said Michael Hale, Ph.D., Chief Learning Officer for VitalSource. “We are honored that our work together has been recognized by 1EdTech and look forward to continuing to share how Bookshelf CoachMe’s industry-leading technology is transforming the learning experience and ultimately impacting student outcomes.”

Sara Marcketti, Ph.D., Assistant Provost and Executive Director, CELT, ISU, added, “The ISU Bookstore is a significant campus partner for student success. The focus on improving student affordability, immediate access to course materials, and providing innovative tools like Bookshelf CoachMe, all contribute to Iowa State University's commitment as an affordable and student-centric institution.”

In recognition of its role in “leading the work to deploy a wider set of best-in-class digital resources for more engaged learning,” VitalSource was also honored by 1EdTech with the Power Learner Potential Award in the area of Curriculum Innovation and Teaching Strategies at this year’s conference.

Since its launch over a year ago, Bookshelf CoachMe has generated more than 2 million unique study questions and has been used by hundreds of thousands of students. To learn more about Bookshelf CoachMe, click here.

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About VitalSource

VitalSource Technologies, LLC is the leading education technology solutions provider committed to helping partners create, deliver, and distribute affordable, accessible, and impactful learning experiences worldwide. As a recognized innovator in the digital course materials market, VitalSource is best known for partnering with thousands of publishers and resellers to deliver extraordinary learning experiences to millions of active users globally—and today we’re also powering new, cutting-edge technologies designed to optimize teaching and learning for maximum results. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About Iowa State University
Iowa State University is a student-centric leading research university with a comprehensive land-grant mission of education, innovation, extension and outreach that benefits Iowans and the world. Innovate at Iowa State reflects the university’s national leadership for providing innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities for all students. Iowa State enrolls nearly 30,000 students and employs more than 6,000 faculty and staff.

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Erin McCarthy, VitalSource