April 17, 2017

Follett and Lumen Learning to Expand Adoption of OER Courseware

Higher education partnership to offer low-cost solutions that improve student engagement and learning using OER

Follett and Lumen Learning are partnering to lower costs and improve student success through the use of academic content and courseware based entirely on open educational resources (OER).  Follett will offer Lumen Learning's OER solutions to more than 1,200 colleges and universities where Follett manages course materials delivery.  Given Follett's ongoing mission to improve access and affordability for students, Follett has invested in Lumen Learning to help fund future growth and expansion of OER courseware.

Lumen's OER course materials offer significant cost savings to students compared to traditional textbooks, as well as day one access to course content. For faculty members, Lumen's customizable materials save time and effort as they transition courses to OER. Peer-reviewed research shows that students using Lumen-supported OER course materials perform as well or better than their peers using traditional textbooks.   

"As higher education's leading independent content aggregator and provider, we know digital courseware is an option that improves student engagement and leads to better outcomes," said Roe McFarlane, Chief Digital Officer for Follett Higher Education.  "The addition of Lumen Learning's content and courseware creates new possibilities for customers looking for an affordable OER solution that's easily integrated and administered within the institution infrastructure."

Through the partnership, Follett will make Lumen Learning's OER courseware available to institutions through Follett's includED™ program and Follett Discover™ infrastructure. The seamless integration makes it easy for faculty members to find and evaluate Lumen's OER course materials.  Through the includED™ program, students pay low-cost Lumen course support fees ranging from $10 to $25, far less than the average cost of a commercial textbook. 

"With OER becoming part of mainstream college curriculum, institutions are pushing us to provide faster, more integrated ways to make this learning innovation fit easily into existing administrative and funding processes," said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. "By partnering with Follett, we are increasing the numbers of faculty and students who can enjoy the benefits of open educational resources and the Lumen approach." 

Lumen courseware curates the best available OER and adds timely updates, learning design, and technical support to OER, making the transition to open content simple, reliable and effective for faculty and students. 

"Lowering the cost of textbooks and ensuring access to quality educational materials for students remains the driving force in Connecticut's rapid growth and adoption of Open Educational Resources," said Kevin Corcoran, Executive Director at the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) and a longtime advocate for the use of OER in Connecticut colleges and universities. "Partnerships such as the one between Lumen Learning and Follett-managed bookstores in Connecticut community colleges furthers this commitment by expanding student access and support services through low-cost quality course materials."

Follett has been delivering solutions to access and affordability since the company's founding in 1873 as a seller of used school textbooks.  From library automation, online sales of textbooks,  K-12 content management and learning tools, and a range of course material affordability options for students that include new, used, print or digital, rental, and now OER courseware, Follett is at the forefront of introducing scalable innovation that helps institutions meet their education missions.

Key investors joining Follett to fund a second round of financing for Lumen Learning include Portland Seed Fund and Seattle's Alliance of Angels.  With this investment, Lumen will accelerate the development of new course subjects and expand efficacy research to guide data-driven improvements to its learning materials, courseware platform, and open education practices.

For more information about the partnership and Lumen's OER courseware, visit www.follett.com/lumen.

About Lumen Learning 
Lumen Learning provides well-designed, low-cost digital course materials that help colleges and universities offer the best education to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status. Created using open educational resources (OER), Lumen's complete, customizable college courses save time and effort for instructors adopting OER courses, while students save millions in textbook costs. Over 100 colleges and universities across the U.S. use Lumen-supported digital courseware for in-person, online, and blended courses. Materials created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Visit us at lumenlearning.com

About Follett Corporation
Follett is a partner in the U.S. Department of Education's #GoOpen campaign.  For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus bookstores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett's reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers.  Follett is a privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.  Visit us at follett.com.

Media Contacts:

Follett – Tom Kline
Lumen Learning – Julie Curtis 

"With Follett's new partnership with Lumen, we can provide more selections for faculty that will enrich the student experience in the classroom. At the same time we are expanding the scope of affordable and accessible course material options available to students." - Jennifer Hatton, SVP Course Materials Solutions, Follett Higher Education

"The addition of Lumen Learning's content and courseware creates new possibilities for customers looking for an affordable OER solution that's easily integrated and administered within the institution infrastructure." - Roe McFarlane, Chief Digital Officer, Follett Higher Education