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Our Higher-Ed Event: The Recap

Monday, October 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

Last Friday, BISG hosted our annual "Making Information Pay: Higher Education" event at Macmillan Learning's New York offices. The agenda offered content in areas that included syllabus analysis, annotations, workflow, accessibility, and the future of college retail.


 David McClure kicked things off with an update of the Open Syllabus Project, an American Assembly undertaking that we first heard about at last December's higher-education event. The Open Syllabus Project has gathered millions of syllabi from colleges and universities around the world, a corpus that provides users with insights into the books, journals, and articles that are prescribed in higher-education settings.


 Heather Staines of led a great discussion of both the current use and potential future of web annotation. The steady growth of public, private, and group annotations informs the value of the technology, which is based on W3C standards, making it possible to export, import, and use annotations across multiple web environments.


The workflow segment included an overview of Gutenberg Technology's "digital first" workflow, as well as a case study from Macmillan Learning. Gjergj Demiraj, CEO of Gutenberg, described the approach his company takes to help publishers recognize their own digital readiness, a key consideration in implementing digital-first workflows.

Betsy Granger of Macmillan Learning continued the discussion with a revealing look at the company's workflow roadmap. Over the past three years, Macmillan Learning has moved to more agile XHTML formats to better support accessible and mobile requirements. Granger gave a glimpse of what will happen over the next three years, as well, with more web-savvy authoring and rendering tools.

After lunch, Dawn Evans provided an overview of the critical services that AMAC and the Access Text Network provide students who need accessible versions of required course materials. The limited time available to meet demand puts significant pressure on college offices charged with providing dibbled student services; AMAC works to minimize the time between request and fulfillment.

Ashley Gordon closed the day with an enlightening and entertaining look at the "Present and Future of College Retail". Threaded with references to the 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Gordon painted a picture of college stores searching and finding new business models, but still facing challenges. She also described the several ways that the National Association of College Stores (NACS) has been working to build the capacity of college retail stores to manage and direct change.

The format provided ample opportunity to engage with each of the speakers, as did a morning break and a bit of a working lunch. We've asked each of the speakers for permission to share their presentations, something you can expect to see shortly. We greatly appreciate the support provided by Macmillan Learning and the time and preparation contributed by our content leaders.


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