Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  03 Aug 2010

INFOTECH: Digital Content Research Project


Recent Western Cape Business News

In a bid to create a better understanding of the consumption of digital content in an academic environment, two experts in their respective areas, e-books and the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) is collaborating in a pilot research project that will shed light on the impact of academic content available in electronic format.  

According to Prof John Powell, Director of the USB, the project was initiated due to the lack of credible research to determine what the extent of the consumption of e-books in the academic environment is and how it impacts on student learning. “As thought leaders in the academic environment, the USB is ideally positioned to lead this research. has the expertise in the digital environment and together we form a formidable team. Our expectation is that the research will deliver concise feedback that can be integrated into our current systems to create an even better learning environment for our students,” he says.

Gary Hadfield, CEO of, added: “By understanding how the consumption of digital content differs from that of printed content (in an academic environment), academic institutions can respond to challenges and leverage opportunities. The expertise of’s digital content team will be used to obtain and provide the digital content and software and to respond to suggestions.”

The research project will run for four months with the first focus group feedback sessions that will take place in the first week of August. The project will focus on the software and not on devices. “As exciting as the iPad, e-readers and tablets might be, their usage is secondary to the objectives of this project which focuses on content,” says Powell.

Powell continued that their biggest challenge at this stage is to find content providers that are willing to supply material in a protected digital format for students to consume. This includes prescribed and additional content, digitised course content, etc. “Through this research, we hope to understand these challenges better so that, at the conclusion of this project, we can help overcome them.”

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