The Inclusive Access concept found its way to Minneapolis College—a member of Minnesota State, a system of 30 colleges and seven universities— via a student senate that was introduced to the idea through a McGraw-Hill informational session. Student demand inspired the formation of a cross-functional committee that launched a limited pilot in fall 2016. By the end of 2019, Direct Digital (Minneapolis College’s branded version of IA) had expanded to six campuses.
Anthony Ross is the Course Materials Manager for The Bookstore Collaboration and works on the team that oversees the Direct Digital program for five of those campuses. After several years of managing the program, Anthony shares his top three tips for fostering success.
- Establish a cross-departmental committee. Leading up to the pilot of Direct Digital, Minneapolis College formed a cross departmental committee that drove the vision and execution of the program. The committee included a bookstore manager, a faculty member, the CFO, and the D2L admin, giving representation to all stakeholders involved. This model ensured that key issues like affordability, academic freedom, IT integrations, and more were discussed from multiple viewpoints.
- Utilize publishers to promote faculty buy-in. After the pilot, Minneapolis College looked to grow the program organically. While they made efforts to share Direct Digital via avenues such as the intranet and faculty word-of-mouth, they found the most effective method was enabling publisher representatives to recruit instructors. Anthony was in constant contact with the publisher reps and closely collaborated with them as they connected with instructors on the benefits of Direct Digital, especially around student savings.
- Bring on a digital distribution partner to help scale. During the program pilot phase, Anthony and the team were manually managing billing, communication, and opting. When they looked to move beyond the pilot, they knew continuing with a manual process would be an IT nightmare. As a solution for scaling, in summer 2017 they brought on RedShelf as a digital content distributor to help automate the process for the five participating campuses.