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TOOLS OF THE TRADE Educational Companies Join Forces Blackboard, McGraw-Hill, and Fol- lett combine their learning tools in a single platform. In addition, institutions that iden- tified as "moderate-to-heavy" users of social media reported spending less on marketing per student than those that identified as "light-to-non-inves- tors"—$83 per student and $121 per student, respectively. While most institutions (55 per- cent) spent as much on marketing in print publications in 2009 as they did in 2008, the study found that more than one-third of participating insti- tutions allocated less to traditional advertising. Forty-two percent of moderate-to-heavy social media users spent less on traditional advertising in 2009 than they did in 2008. For more information about the report, visit USB Begins Pilot Study of E-Content How effective is electronic content in aca- demia? That's the question to be explored through a new pilot research study at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in Bellville, South Africa. In partner- ship with South African e-book retail- Blackboard has partnered with McGraw- Hill Higher Education (MHHE) and Follett Higher Education Group to integrate a wider range of tools in Blackboard's learning platform, Blackboard Learn. The partnerships will allow institutions to access the resources of all three companies in a single place. Blackboard's partnership with MHHE, a unit of The McGraw- Hill Companies, marks the first time Blackboard has enabled the full integration of a major educational publisher's content and digital tools, says Ray Henderson, president of Blackboard Learn. Because this arrangement will allow faculty and students to use their Blackboard login to access the McGraw-Hill Connect suite of tools, it will streamline the workflow for users and eliminate the need for them to access two separate systems, he adds. er, USB will track the experience of students using e-reader software to read free electronic content. This will include assigned content, such as MBA textbooks and other course materials, as well as con- tent students choose themselves. USB will conduct monthly focus groups and regular surveys of stu- dents to determine how their experi- ence reading e-books differs from reading printed books. The integration will include access to tools that manage course content, create assignments, cap- ture lectures, and track and assess student performance. Scores for assignments, quizzes, and tests completed in McGraw-Hill Con- nect will post directly to the Black- board grade book. The integration will be ready for classroom use in early 2011. McGraw-Hill Connect will still be available as a separate product. In its partnership with Follett, which operates nearly 900 campus bookstores at schools throughout North America, Blackboard will give students the ability to purchase and use digital textbooks directly in Blackboard Learn. Blackboard will also integrate Follett's CaféScribe, an e-textbook and social network- ing platform that makes digital texts more interactive. It also allows students and faculty to read, high- light, and annotate its collection of 10,000 texts, as well as share notes and join study groups anywhere in the world. For more information, visit, www., or Pilots at other universities focus on electronic devices, but that's only part of the puzzle, says John Powell, director of USB. "As exciting as iPads, e-readers, and tablets might be, their usage is secondary to the objectives of this project." This study aims to mea- sure the true impact of electronic resources on student learning, regardless of what devices students use to access them. BizEd NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 59

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