This project started in 2009 to make freely available to all UK further education colleges a core collection of over 3000 digital vocational textbooks; an additional 60 e-books were added in 2011. JISC Collections has negotiated preferential terms and conditions so that e-books can be used to their full potential, e.g. teachers can use parts of the e-books to populate virtual learning environments, and students can link to textbooks from their e-portfolios. The e-books are device agnostic and can be used on the learners’ personal device, both negating reliance of PCs on campus and encouraging participation. The e-books interface can be personalised by teachers and learners, e.g. include college branding, links to other college resources and is interoperable with screen reading software. The initiative has been a catalyst for technological change in the sector, as more colleges have started to use the books, encouraging teachers to use digital resources and colleges to enable off campus access to college learning systems. More than 3000 digital vocational e-books were made available in the first two stages. A further stage was started early in 2012 to extend availability to learners in Work Based Learning (outside FE colleges) who have an even greater need for the flexibility provided by e-books, including the ability to access them and study whenever and wherever they happen to be, and integrate study into busy lives. In addition, e-Books offer a number of advantages for learners with disabilities including portability and the ability to change font size, colour and text-to-speech options. As the project has advanced, some publishers have welcomed the support of JISC TechDis in helping them design full accessibility into their digital publications from the outset. The opportunity is now being taken by some to build in “Voice”, embedding audio delivery in from the outset.
Visit the JISC Collections website for further information.
This initiative relates to short-term deliverables:
- Encourage effective and innovative. Quality-assured use of technology by all VET providers (including public-private networking and partnerships) supported by the necessary equipment, infrastructure and networks, with continuing improvements that reflect developments in technology and pedagogical understanding;
- Use ICT to maximise access to training and to promote active learning, as well as to develop new methods in both work- and school-based VET, in order to facilitate the participation of “at risk” groups.