Campus Exploring Feasibility of Virtual Course Materials Store

January 23, 2014

In an effort to reduce student costs and adapt to a changing marketplace, campus officials are exploring the possibility of creating a “virtual bookstore” to supply course materials and textbooks.

James P. Sheehan, vice chancellor for administration and finance, said the university plans to release a request for proposals (RFP) for a virtual course material store by mid-February. University officials have been working with Campus Bookstore Consulting (CBC), an East Longmeadow firm, to assess the feasibility of adopting a virtual course materials operation within the context of the current textbook industry. The consultant compiled a 14-page report on the pros and cons of a virtual store that is being made available to the campus community.

“Recognizing that the traditional model of supplying textbooks is facing significant challenges as students increasingly look to technological solutions that are less expensive, one of the areas that we want to explore is how textbooks are provided,” said Sheehan. “The University’s expectation is that responders would provide a model that maximizes technological potential to not only meet customer needs, but also shape how textbooks and course materials are provided in this new environment.”

CBC is assisting the administration in developing the RFP.

Information about the planned RFP will be shared with the Faculty Senate, Student Government Association and the broader campus community, said Sheehan.

Comments on the study and virtual bookstore concept can be sent to textbooks@umass.edu.

 

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