Verba User Stories | CSU Bookstore at Colorado State University

Taking It To The Next Level:

How CSU Bookstore Ditched Spreadsheets to Drive Inclusive Access At Scale

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By mid-2017, Kurt Kaiser, Textbook Manager at the Colorado State University (CSU) Bookstore, was no stranger to managing an Inclusive Access program. He was already running a fast-growing but labor-intensive initiative that gave students automatic access to their learning materials on the first day of class.

But Kaiser knew if CSU wanted to grow its Inclusive Access offerings, the store needed help. In the end, CSU Bookstore implemented Verba Connect for Inclusive Access management, and it turned out to be a game-changer.

"Verba Connect worked phenomenally well. I could not imagine going back to spreadsheets to manage Inclusive Access."

Ramping Up

“We started Inclusive Access for the Fall 2015 semester with one online Occupational Therapy class,” Kaiser said. For Spring 2016, CSU was up to 12 Inclusive Access courses.

By Spring 2017, Kaiser said, “We were doing 3,000 students in Inclusive Access sections per semester – about a quarter of a million dollars in revenue – and I thought, ‘I can manage that.’ I was downloading rosters for each section and manually inputting the data. But to scale it to where we are now, with more than 9,000 students, there was no way that I could’ve done that alone.”

Partnering with IA Experts

As the CSU Bookstore evaluated options for Inclusive Access management, it was important to find a partner that could work with various departments across campus.

“The team at Verba gave me different options on how we could do certain things,” said Kaiser. “They spoke the language of our IT folks and so, I’m sitting there thinking you guys are talking Greek, and they (Verba) are saying, ‘Okay, yeah. We can do that.’"

"Verba was the bridge for the folks on campus. They brought the expertise to the table to solve that problem."

Time-Saving Communication Tools

For Kaiser, Verba Connect’s communication capabilities are the most useful feature set.

“It used to take me hours before classes started to email students access codes and other information,” said Kaiser. “Now it can be done with one click and I can manage those 9,400 students (in Inclusive Access sections) in a quarter of the time it took me to do it manually for a few sections.”

Glowing Reviews from Students and Faculty

Kaiser isn't the only one who's happy with Inclusive Access powered by Verba Connect at CSU. Both faculty and students are responding positively.

“Overall, once we got past the initial ‘what is this’ question, the faculty loved it,” Kaiser said. “Many students have said they love getting the emails with codes and not having to go find them or have to come into the bookstore.”

No Stopping Now

While their Inclusive Access growth has been impressive, Kaiser and the CSU Bookstore are only getting started. “My goal for the Spring 2018 semester is to get as close to 20,000 students as possible. Verba Connect can help us do it."

For Kaiser, Inclusive Access through Verba Connect is both central to the campus store's mission, and to its survival.

"I think this is how bookstores stay relevant on campus. We are the experts in course materials and Connect is the tool we use to better get information out to students and faculty about those materials."
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