In an innovative partnership with the digital learning platform, BibliU, the University of Surrey will provide all full-time undergraduate and postgraduate taught students with free digital access to selected key course textbooks from this term. The deal is part of the university’s drive to increase accessibility and ensure that no student is disadvantaged due to their financial circumstances.
A total of 16,000 students will be given access to their core reading materials via the BibliU app, saving each student hundreds of pounds a year.
The BibliU digital learning app has the added benefit of improving accessibility to texts for students with additional needs too. Visually impaired students, for example, can use read aloud functions, zoom into text, hear descriptions of images and use contrasting colours to emphasise text.
Thanks to features such as the ability to highlight core passages or add notes, all learners can use BibliU to create an online learning resource tailored to their exact needs.
Catherine Stephen, head of engagement and enhancement at the University of Surrey, said: “By signing this deal we have levelled the playing field for our students. With BibliU, our learners will have guaranteed access to selected core textbooks, no matter what their financial situation is. No one gets left behind.”
Digital access will also mean students who cannot travel into campus, can still work effectively offsite: “As a result of the pandemic, our students need to be fully equipped to work away from campus if they need to self-isolate, or if local lockdown restrictions change. Using the BibliU app alongside our other library resources, students have instant access to all the resources they need, no matter where they need to study,” continues Catherine Stephen.
Professor Osama Khan, pro-vice-chancellor of education at University of Surrey said: “The University of Surrey is committed to excellence in all areas and in these challenging times, we have embraced the opportunities of the hybrid education experience. This project provides students with equal access to some of the essential materials that they need to engage and immerse themselves in their courses no matter where or how they are studying.
“By providing these to each student, in addition to our expert academic teams and dedicated support, Surrey is enabling each individual to achieve their full potential.”
Dave Sherwood, chief executive officer at BibliU, said: “The University of Surrey has ensured every student is equipped to succeed, no matter their circumstances. Students can access learning resources on any device and engage with learning materials in a completely different way to a static textbook, which is an exciting innovation in the global shift towards digital learning.
“Surrey has absolutely embraced the challenge which the future of learning presents. Realising that students today have so much on their plate, eTexts should no longer be something they have to worry about. BibliU is happy to partner with the University of Surrey in their efforts to realise this ambition.”
BibliU has one overarching mission in mind – to provide affordable, user-friendly eTextbooks and monographs to students on one platform. BibliU is in regular contact with students, academics and librarians using our platform to make it the best it can be, ensuring equity of access for all students – especially important as education moves at rapid speed towards a digital future.
Started in 2014 at Oxford University Innovation, we have over 130 institutional partners across the world, including Imperial College London, Oxford University, Coventry University, Phoenix University, and Grand Canyon University creating the largest free eTextbook program in the world.