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Help and Resources: Digital Course Materials

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Help for Faculty

Get started | Set up an opt-out link | Set up content access links

Faculty: How To Get Started

By enrolling your course in the Inclusive Access program, your students' accounts will be automatically billed by the Bursar unless they opt out of the program. Please communicate with your students on the first day of class to make sure they understand that they can opt out and that they must make an opt out decision by the last day of the add/drop period for the term.  

  1. Contact your publisher representative to select or confirm the course material you wish to use in the course. If the content you chose requires a publisher content add-on in Blackboard Learn, the representative will explain how to configure your course to use that add-on.   
  2. Enter your textbook information into the Textbook System as soon as possible. Please note, Inclusive Access information is no longer added to the Textbook System on your behalf, so you will need to enter the Inclusive Access ISBN and price into the comments field and select the below messages from the appropriate drop-down menu for your course:

    • "Please see note below regarding a less expensive option. You will be automatically charged for this digital version of the textbook. Access will be provided to all registered students on the first day of the semester. If you plan to opt out of this digital access, then you are responsible for purchasing the required textbook." 

    • “The University has negotiated a special price for this course's required textbooks and materials through a program with the publisher. You will receive access to digital copies of the materials on the second day of the semester. The cost of the materials will be billed automatically to your student account. After you register, you will receive more information about this program, including an option to opt out of participation. If you have already purchased the required textbook for this course, please contact the IT Service Desk, servicedesk@ohio.edu, to discuss your options.”

  3. Set up an opt out link in Blackboard Learn and, if appropriate, publisher links within your course prior to the first day of class (instructions below).  

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Faculty: How to set up Opt-Out link in Blackboard Learn

  1. Please sign in to Blackboard and navigate to the appropriate course.  From the Course Menu select the Content Area where you would like the Opt-Out selection to reside.
    Content Area
  2. Click “Tools” 
  3. Click “VitalSource” 
    VitalSource Tool Link
  4. Link Name: VitalSource Course Dashboard

  5. Available: Yes

    VitalSource Link Settings
  6. Click “Submit”. Once submitted, the VitalSource Course Dashboard link will now be available in your desired content area. 

    VitalSource Course Dashboard


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Faculty: How to set up Content Access Links

  • Please discuss with your publisher representative whether the course content you selected will be delivered through VitalSource’s eBook reader or the publisher’s platform. Please do note: the opt out process uses VitalSource regardless of what content is used in the course. 

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Help for Students

How to Opt-Out | How to access course materials

Students: How to Opt-Out

These steps assume that your instructor has made your course visible in Blackboard Learn and has created a VitalSource Course Dashboard link in the course.

  • To access the VitalSource Course Dashboard, click on the link in your course.  Your instructor can confirm where this link is located.
    VitalSource Student Content Link
  • The VitalSource Course Dashboard will be your initial access point to your course materials that are being delivered through VitalSource, and it will allow you to adjust your participation status.
    VitalSource Course Dashboard
  • By default, you are opted in to participate.  To change your status (opting out of the resource), uncheck the "I am opted-in to the resource" box.
    VitalSource Opt-Out Student
  • Tell us why you want to opt out, and then select "Opt Out".
    Student Opt-Out Confirm
  • You will continue to have access to your course materials throughout your opt-out period until the deadline.
  • To opt back in, mark "I am opted-in to this resource."
    VitalSource Opt-In
  • Note: You can change your mind as many times as you like during the add/drop window.

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Students: How to Access Course Materials

Scenario 1: VitalSource eBook is the only content in your class

  • Upon hitting the Read Now button students will be logged in the VitalSource online bookshelf. 

    VitalSource eBook

Scenario 2: VitalSource courseware is the only content for your class

  • Students can hit "Launch Courseware" and be launched into the bookshelf.

    VitalSource Launch Courseware

Scenario 3: Your course includes VitalSource courseware and eBook

  • Upon hitting the Read Now button students will launch the VitalSource bookshelf.  Courseware experience might differ (please see other scenarios).
    VitalSource eBook and Courseware

Scenario 4: Course includes Pearson courseware

  • Upon hitting "Launch Courseware" students will receive an access code in a consecutive screen. This code is unique to the course but not the student. 
    VitalSource Launch Courseware

    Students will need to hit "copy code" then "Launch Courseware".  Students will be sent back to Blackboard where they can launch the Person Building Block and enter their codes following the prompts.
    Pearson Courseware in Course

Scenario 5: Course includes third-party courseware

    VitalSource Launch Courseware

    Upon hitting "Launch Courseware" students will be redirected to Blackboard. 
    No access code

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Help for Publishers

Program Information | Workflow and Exceptions | Important Dates | Communication Recommendations 

Publisher: Digital Course Materials program information 

  • Ohio University (OHIO) is offering an inclusive access (IA) program (branded as Digital Course Materials –Inclusive Access Program) to promote affordability and day one access to course content for students. 
  • OHIO’s program is driven by our faculty. It is their decision to opt in to participating in the program and they work directly with our publisher partners to establish what course will be offered in the program.  Faculty are also essential in communicating the program and content details to students, so please follow the below guidelines to make sure your publications are set up correctly by faculty members in the classroom.  
  • IA management partner: OHIO’s preferred inclusive access partner to manage student opt outs, publisher billing and reporting as well as access to eTextbooks is VitalSource. 
  • IA pricing: OHIO is leveraging the published OhioLink price points and DRM (digital rights management) parameters for publisher content. If you have pricing updates or would like to discuss pricing more in detail, please contact the IT Service Desk.
  • IA access: If you offer courseware in this program, outside of the VitalSource eBookshelf and you don’t have an existing LMS integration in place for students to access content easily, please contact the IT Service Desk for next steps. If you do have an existing LMS integration with Blackboard Learn, please make sure you remind and support faculty in setting the links up in the LMS for their course.  

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Publisher: Workflow and Expectations

  • Gather Course Content Adoptions: Please work with faculty members directly to gather their course material adoption details. OHIO will set up a shared file in OneDrive for your use. For best practices and OHIO’s communication requests, please see the “Communication Recommendations” section.  
  • Share Course Content Adoptions: Please enter all information about your adoptions into your shared file so OHIO is aware of the list of participating faculty, courses and titles. OHIO will share this information with VitalSource so that they can set your course materials up in their system for managing opt outs, content access when appropriate, reporting and your payment. We do request that you provide quality data: no typos in titles, proper ISBN information, etc. 
  • Conduct QA: Please make sure to conduct QA on your participating course content, especially if they’re new titles to OHIO’s IA program. 
  • Support Faculty: It is your responsibility to advise faculty on how students will access the adopted course content if they elect to stay opted in to the program. If you offer courseware through your own proprietary platform, we request that you train and support faculty in setting the appropriate links up in the LMS for students.
  • Support Students: We request that any student questions regarding course content are addressed by your technical support teams. Please share your student support contact information, so we can publish it to our Service Desk and our students. 
  • Receive Reporting and Payment: Students registered for a participating course will have a chance to opt out of the program through the VitalSource opt out module within the add/drop period. Under special circumstances, we may allow opt outs outside of this period. After the add/drop period is over, student accounts will be billed by OHIO’s bursar, and OHIO remits payment to VitalSource who then will manage your payments and reporting as per your negotiated terms with VitalSource. 

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Publisher: Important Dates

OHIO’s published academic calendars 

The important dates to follow: 

  • Student registration start dates – we request that your adoption list is completed and shared with VitalSource and OHIO five (5) business days prior to this date. 
  • Class start date – we request that you share your program ISBNs and complete course content QA by five (5) days prior to this date, to allow OHIO to publish the list of participating ISBNs for students.  

  • Add/drop end date. The last day to drop a course will be the deadline for students to opt out. For courses that do not start on the first day of the semester, the opt-out deadline will be five days after the start of the course. 

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Publisher: Communication Recommendations

  • Please do work with faculty directly on their wish to enlist their courses in the IA program. If you happen to work with a department or college, please do make sure to communicate with each individual faculty so they’re aware of the department’s or college’s decision and are able and willing to support the effort. 

  • Please gather all relevant information about the course and the course material from faculty directly. The information needed for VitalSource to set up the titles correctly are listed as column headers in our shared adoption document. You may also gather information that faculty do not have at hand on our Course Offerings page (select the Term, Subject, and Catalog Number and press Search to generate results). 

  • Please share course content access training material with faculty if your course content is accessed outside of the VitalSource reader.  

  • Remind faculty that they need to enter the course content access and inclusive access information in the syllabus and in OHIO’s Course Offerings textbook system. 

  • Please note if a course is continuing so students who already have their materials are not charged again in the semester. 

  • You are encouraged to set up a table during the first week of the semester at Ohio University’s Baker Center to answer any questions students may have. 

  • ** Please note, that OHIO’s College Credit Plus and Scholarship students may be exceptions to this program. Please be aware of this during your conversations with faculty. 

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