The Impact of Generation Z on the College Course Materials Marketplace

How Your Campus Can Prepare for the Influx of the First True Digital Natives

books in tablet.jpgWhile many of us remember life before the Internet, there is an entire generation that’s never lived without it.  Generation Z, born 2001–2013, grew up in the digital age, where tablets, smartphones and instant access to information were all a part of their day-to-day reality literally from birth. They’ve seen technologies become obsolete as quickly as they’ve been created so, despite their young age, they’re skilled at adapting to new modalities. Generation Z is accustomed to choice, instant information, speed and ease of use  –  at home, socially, and in their classrooms.

In 2018 Generation Z will begin enrolling in college, which means the number of students who’ve studied with digital texts and tablets in either kindergarten, middle school or high school is starting to crest. School-sanctioned college bookstores initially offered digital course materials as an alternative to print textbooks because of their affordability. Today, the reasons have grown to include an entire generation’s comfort with them and the benefits associated with digital reading and learning. 

Just how much is digital adoption growing? Our recent eBook, The Future of Course Materials is Now, highlights that digital use by students is currently in the 23% to 66% range. And while it’s difficult to pinpoint a median due to the variety of research methods that have been used, any percentage in this range is indicative of a clear shift toward the use of digital course materials. In fact, in our 2017 President, Provost, and Academic Leadership Survey on Textbooks, Course Materials, and Bookstore Services, respondents estimated that: 

  • 33% of all classes at their institutions are currently using digital and/or eLearning course materials.
  • 78% of respondents report that the percentage of classes using digital and eLearning materials has increased substantially in the past two years.
  • 19% of all classes are currently using Open Educational Resources (OER) at their institution.

The transformation to digital course materials can often seem daunting to college and university leadership, but it doesn’t have to be. To learn more about the latest trends and predictions for the future of college textbooks and course materials and to gain insights on new capabilities and requirements that will support a seamless transition for students and faculty, please request a copy of our latest eBook, The Future of Course Materials is Now.

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