Increasing Access and Participation is a key goal for the Office for Students — and one that is very much shared by BibliU. Our CEO Dave Sherwood shares some of our experiences and advice for succeeding with APP initiatives. @davejlsherwood @BibliUSocial

Widening participation, regardless of student background and learning ability, is becoming more and more a priority in higher education. It’s not an easy endeavor.

To help, I pulled together three takeaways from my experience that can help you and your students find success.

See the Whole Student: Engagement and Retention

I had the pleasure to meet up with Ian Dunn, Provost at Coventry University, to talk about how access to student-centred analytics drives engagement.

During our chat, Ian said, “If we can identify gaps at the point of them existing and then provide support, that gives us an amazing way to make sure we can take all of our learners through the journey.”

I absolutely agree. Take BibliU’s live engagement data as an example.

By linking reading data directly into an institution’s learning analytics dashboard, providing a complete student view, administrators and course leaders can identify gaps in learning for individual students.

Having a transparent look into where a student is struggling and being able to offer proactive support will reduce the stress on learning and make it more successful. The end results for your widening participation goals? A positive impact on your student retention and attainment rates.

Example of macro-level/library-wide data.
Macro-Level Analytics
Graph charting reading time for all students across a course
Reading Time (Overall and in a Specific Text)
Chart of Reading Per Week for Groups of Students
Tracking Cohort Engagement

Access for Everyone: Closing the Attainment Gap

Accessible technology is designed with the needs of a lot of different users in mind. It's tech with built-in customization features so that all students can individualize their learning experience to meet their unique needs.

Think of it as how higher ed can help level the playing field and ensure consistent engagement across all ability levels. It's one of the critical drivers for the Office for Students at any institution.

And it's a top priority for us here at BibliU too.

When evaluating a content platform company, always look to make sure they have these priorities:

  • Accessibility bugs fixed first above all other issues
  • Continuously tested to meet the highest Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards.
  • Accessibility features, like text-to-speech and intuitive zoom and typography, aren’t hidden away and are instantly understood.

When it comes to digital platforms, in my opinion technology must make learning accessible for everyone. After all, students will use many different tools to assist them with their own particular needs.

We saw this first-hand from a student at the University of Leicester using our ‘Night Mode’ function, which inverts the color of text and background within BibliU’s platform.

Animated example of Flux Mode, Night Mode and Custom Colours in-platform
Demonstration of our Flux Mode, Night Mode and Custom Colors features.
Positive review from student with dyslexia
A recent review we received from a Leicester University student.

Core Content: on Day One of Class

The cost of attending higher education continues to rise, and when academics hold tight to the traditional printed textbook, it puts students in a dilemma. They either pay the high price or not buy at all. Unfortunately, most students don’t buy at all.

Research proves it. A report found that 65 percent of students had still opted against buying a book because it was too costly – and 55 percent of them were significantly concerned that their grade would suffer because of it.

Pie-Chart: Student Concern that Lack of a Textbook will Impact Grades.

Making the pivot to digital textbooks with BibilU, included in tuition, ensures students have the proper materials they need from the start.

Izzy Hayden, a student at the University of Birmingham, summed it up best when we had a chance to talk with her.  She stated, "I have enough to think about at the start of a new semester. Having textbooks should never be something I need to worry about." Well said.

In my mind, all students, regardless of background and learning ability, should have the content they need to be successful in higher education. I'm grateful that our work at BibliU is helping institutions achieve that goal.

Want more? Check out An Interview with Umberto - Head of Product on BibliU's Intelligent Search and discover how students can quickly search through all of their university course materials.