Digital presents a number of opportunities, which most if not all of us understand, especially for resources used in Teaching and Learning. When we think of digital resources, we immediately think of easy access, accessibility, collaboration and analytics among other things.

We observed that these opportunities are being harnessed with mixed success owing to different types of barriers. The least of which is presented by the different types of digital resources used in teaching and learning. This is often compounded by where these resources are available to be accessed from.

We wanted to make it easy in practice to get more benefits of digital resources being used to teach. So we examined some of the barriers created by differences in resources types and where they live. We then partnered with a few academics and institutions to research and develop technologies to deliver a unified consumption, collaboration and analytics experience across different resources types.

Let’s explore this a little further. All courses use a combination of different types of digital resources. This may range from PDF documents containing lecture notes, videos such as lecture capture videos or educational videos, audios that may include podcasts and discussions, eTextbooks, slide decks and more. These resources will live in different places: uploaded directly into the Learning Management System, the library, cited in reading lists, youtube, lecture capture platforms, SlideShare, publisher platforms among many others!

We noticed that a lot of effort goes into creating a seamless and consistent experience for students to find these resources. Institutions invest a lot of energy and effort into their Learning Management Systems to make the course pages look consistent, and into reading lists. Once the student find a resource, and they start moving between different resource types, that consistency in experience begins to break down rapidly.

Each type of resource has a different way to access, consume and interact with it. A student has to often relearn and change the way they may view, make notes or collaborate with their cohort with each different resource. And an academic using these resources have to learn how to incorporate each different type of resource into their courses and then have very little means to easily track how students are engaging across all these resources if they are!

It was this very challenge that excited us to set up a research project called Project Lighthouse, more than two years ago. As a part of this project, we developed a technology we now call the Talis Player. In the last twelve months, the Talis Player has been used by academics and thousands of students at the University of Birmingham, Anglia Ruskin University and De Montfort University.

We set out with two clear goals when researching and developing the Talis Player.

The first goal, we wanted to deliver a more unified consumption, collaboration and analytics experience across different resource types. Below is an example of two such resource types: a video hosted on Youtube and a slide deck. You will notice the consistent ability for students to collaborate and make notes using the omnipresent sidebar across both resource types.

Academics (and, where enabled, students) can see detailed engagement analytics directly from within the Talis Player. Notice how the section level analytics is consistent across both resource types?

Here are some more examples of different resource types supported in the Talis Player.

Our second goal was that we did not want academics to have to change the way they teach. Whether they preferred a traditional pedagogic approach or used flipped classroom. More importantly, if they wanted to adopt a new teaching style, we wanted to enable them to do that with the confidence of having detailed engagement analytics to understand their student engagement across all course materials.

For universities that already have a full Talis Aspire subscription, i.e. you are using Talis Aspire to manage both reading lists and copyright-cleared content, initial use of the Talis Player in your reading lists will be available as part of your subscription soon. You will be able to deliver a more unified experience of using and accessing digital content in reading lists, such as Youtube videos, open access journals and eTextbooks using the Talis Player.

We also understand that academics and institutions have heavily invested in building great courses in the Learning Management System. Many types of teaching resources such as lecture notes, slides, videos and more will typically live here and outside the domain of Talis Aspire.

We recently announced that we are launching our new product – Talis Elevate that is designed to bring the benefits of the Talis Player to the resources in the Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas.

Through Talis Elevate, we are making it more practical and easier to harness the opportunities of digital by complementing the Learning Management System. Academics use Talis Elevate without changing their teaching style, leveraging the effort they have already put into developing their courses and still get all the benefits of the more unified consumption, collaboration and analytics experience of the Talis Player.

We are now onboarding early adopters who want to use Talis Elevate to enhance their digital course resources in Learning Management Systems. If you are interested, please email elevate@talis.com.

However, if you are one of our library customers using Talis Aspire and wish to learn more about how you can benefit from the use of the Talis Player within Talis Aspire Reading Lists then please contact your account manager.