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October 18, 2023

A new report released by Alterline and sponsored by Ex Libris, integrated library system has unveiled important insights into emerging digital learning trends. The report, titled, What students want and need: How to deliver course materials to drive student success, surveyed 1,509 students from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The findings show that students have a clear preference for digital materials and an expectation that these resources will be made easier to access. 





Key Learnings from the Report 

Online Resources: A Top Priority 


The findings of the report underscore the growing preference among students for online, digital, and interactive learning materials. A significant majority of students express a strong desire for easier access to online content, highlighting key resources they want to see used more in courses: links to online sources, PDFs of books, book chapters, or articles, and videos. 


The Impact of Digital Course Materials Availability on Student Success 


The report highlights the direct correlation between the ease of accessing course materials online and students’ academic success. When students encounter obstacles in accessing materials, such as lack of online availability, broken links, or paywalls, it can severely hinder their progress and negatively affect their academic achievement.



Device Accessibility Matters 


The report confirms the role of smartphones in the university experience. While laptops remain the primary choice for reading course materials and engaging in other learning activities on campus, smartphones are also an integral part of the learning process, especially for part-time students. 


The Cost Barrier is Real 


Another critical finding of the report is the negative impact of expensive course materials on students’ success. A significant majority of students believe that high material costs hinder their academic progress. Shockingly, one in five students has opted out of enrolling in specific courses or modules due to the prohibitive cost of course materials. Many students resort to using older materials or, in some cases, refrain from reading course materials entirely due to prohibitive costs.


As universities and institutions seek to enhance student success rates, this report shows that addressing these digital accessibility and cost-related concerns should be at the forefront of educational strategies. The report from Alterline serves as a compelling call to action, urging academic institutions to prioritize digital access, affordability, and a seamless learning experience for all students. 

Click here to download the full report. 

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