In February, before lockdown, BibliU had the chance to interview John Woods, Provost and Chief Academic officer at the University of Phoenix, which recently partnered with BibliU on the largest free eTextbook program in the United States. Dave asked him about the large-scale online program at Phoenix and how they do things differently to benefit their diverse student population.

They discussed a wide range of issues, centred on the new demands of the student in a digital world, especially important given Phoenix’s prominent place as a pioneer of the now widely accepted technologies that allow students to learn wherever they are, online and digitally.

Take a look at the clips below!

What are the Fundamentals of a Successful Online Program?

For us, it is fundamental to keep the student first and foremost in everything that we do.

There are many challenges when providing online education at-scale to thousands of students. In this chat with John Woods, he explains that it used to be a challenge to prove the online model, and now it is a challenge to learn from the other online models around us. John expresses that we must embrace the online education environment so that we can provide the best experience possible for all of our students.

UoPx prides itself on putting the students first and foremost in everything that they do. From decisions in schedule to changes in costs, UoPx ensures that the changes are serving the students well. John Woods explains that it is easy to lose sight of the end goal, so keep it simple--at scale does not mean it has to be overly complex.

How have Student Expectations Changed Over Time?

Student expectations have changed rapidly over the past couple of decades, says John Woods, and talks about the truly online nature of most social interactions in the modern world, which students are increasingly expecting in their education.

How Can Partners Work with Institutions More Effectively?

As the EdTech landscape has shifted over the past two decades, John talks about the importance of working with partners so that institutions “can do what we are best at and leverage what other people are much better at doing than us.”

Why Has Phoenix Decided to Include Learning Materials within Course Fees?

“We thought that an all-inclusive approach made more sense because the fee for tuition is large enough as it is.” But the importance of providing learning materials doesn’t end there: giving students their course materials upfront makes for more efficient learning.

How Does Phoenix Utilize Scale to Deliver Economic Value for Students?

Over the past 25 years, US public state universities have increased price by 1000%. However, two years ago, UoPx reduced the price of tuition, and has committed to students that the price will not increase from the time they enrol to the time they graduate.

In addition to this, UoPx is hoping to further reduce the cost of tuition. To do this, they are introducing new partnerships and technology to reduce overall operating costs, which will allow students to receive an education at a reasonable price.

What has been Your Experience Working with BibliU?

It was very important to Phoenix to pilot BibliU alongside a competing platform before choosing BibliU as a partner, and implementing our platform institution-wide. In this clip, John Woods talks about the necessity of these sorts of pilots for improving the student experience.

Want more? Check out our recent webinar with the Association of College and Research Libraries on the importance of equity of access in the times of COVID-19.