University partners with ‘Spotify for textbooks’ app to enable remote study

Posted on October 19, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

Digital learning platform BibliU has partnered with the University of Surrey to provide all full-time undergraduate and postgraduate taught students with free digital access to selected key course textbooks from this term.

 The London-based start-up, which spun out of the University of Oxford Innovation Fund, will give a total of 16,000 students access to their core reading materials via the BibliU app.

The deal is part of the university’s drive to increase accessibility and ensure that no student is disadvantaged due to their financial circumstances.

The BibliU app is also hoped to improve accessibility for students with additional needs, such as read aloud functions, text zoom, descriptions of images and contrasting colours.

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, added: “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.”

The firm latest partner adds to an existing 130+ institutional partners across the world, including Imperial College London, Oxford University, Coventry University, Phoenix University, and Grand Canyon University.

The firm’s CFO Tao Mantaras told BusinessCloud in 2018 that the firm plans to go public, stating that a float is “definitely a realistic target” by 2023.

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