Learning Resources

Illume Delivers Free Access to Course Content Building Blocks

A new free resource promises to help educators in college and high school find the curriculum they need for their courses, Illume Learning, a for-profit company, calls itself the "world's largest database of learning materials."

Users gain access to what is reported to be "hundreds of thousands of syllabi, reading lists and lecture presentations," as well as articles from 140 magazines and 65 newspapers; video tutorials and simulations; problem sets, course notes and case studies; academic journal articles; and text, trade and scholarly books.

The results tell the user whether the school's library carries of a copy of a given resource and also include links to alternative sources where materials such as textbooks may be purchased at a discount.

As the user culls through results, he or she can mark it for review, which displays the URL of the resource; or a user who registers on the site can maintain it in an account.

In a video about the site's usage, the narrator explains that users who need to create or update a course can go into a search tool, set up filters and receive results from all of those materials to use as a model for the new course or as a potential source of content.

A recent EdWeb webinar Diane Quandt, an associate professor of education at the College of New Rochelle, demonstrates how the site addresses common problems with course creation: the time-consuming nature of the research; the lack of supplemental learning materials that might be more stimulating for students to use and dependence on highly priced textbooks that "fail to engage students,"

"Illume Learning can help," Quandt said in the video, by providing a platform where you can streamline the course creation process, it helps to shorten your preparation time and you'll be able to find more interesting materials, which will yield more interesting courses for your students."

The company expects to generate revenue through what it calls "affiliate relationships with publishers and content distributors, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chegg, VitalSource, online book sellers and renters and case study publishers and distributors." The founders, in fact, have experience in education and publishing companies. CEO Peter Quandt was formerly the CEO of Primedia's now-shuttered education group and a CEO of the direct marketing group for Macmillan. Justin Irizarry, executive vice president, was previously at Scott-Macon's education and information group investment division.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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