Campus Store Frequently Asked Questions

VitalSource Helps: Campus Store Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Topics

 

What is VitalSource Helps?  

VitalSource Helps is a program designed to support students who may have lost access to course materials due to a campus moving to distance-learning to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This program is made possible by the leading publishers and resellers in US higher education. The program offers free access to an expansive catalog of etexts thorough May 25, 2020, to students and instructors at impacted 2 and 4-year non-profit institutions in the US. In Canada, access to the catalog will last through April 30. A complete list of eligible institutions is available here. 

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Who is eligible for the VitalSource Helps program?

Students meeting the following criteria are eligible to access free ebooks as part of VitalSource Helps:

  1. Attend a 2-year or 4-year institution on a semester academic calendar. A complete list of eligible institutions is available here
  2. Be enrolled in course(s) that began prior to March 16, 2020
  3. Use an institution-provided email address

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How do students access VitalSource Helps content?

To get started, students should visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Before students can begin searching for and reading ebooks, they will need to log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address.

It is important to note that, while students at your institution may use Bookshelf today as part of an Inclusive Access program, they may access content via an LMS integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps content, students must use their institution-provided email address.

For students accessing Bookshelf for the first time:

Here are instructions on creating a Bookshelf account that you can share with students and instructors. Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should log in and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:

Students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address will see a new tab called “Explore” when they log in. This tab provides access to the freely-available ebooks.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:

Here is an article explaining how a student can check the email account associated with their Bookshelf account, and how to change it to an institutionally provided email account to access VitalSource Helps ebooks.

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How long is the VitalSource Helps program available?

We and the publishers are offering free access to ebooks through May 25, 2020, for US Students and April 30th for Canadian Students to ensure affected students are able to use required learning materials through final exams. Once the free access period ends, students will maintain access to their Bookshelf account. However, ebooks provided during the VitalSource Helps program will no longer appear. 

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How many titles may be accessed for free as part of the VitalSource Helps ebook program?

Users may add up to seven titles to their account for free. There is a “counter” in the lower-left corner of the Bookshelf screen to help users keep track of the number of books accessed.  

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What type of content is available as part of the VitalSource Helps ebook program?

VitalSource, publishers, and resellers have worked together to provide access to an expansive catalog of ebooks allowing students to find their required learning materials. Students may access up to seven titles.  

Custom content, interactive content, and content used for assessment are not included. Commonly assigned materials from publishers, often referred to as “courseware” (like Pearson’s MyLab, Cengage MindTap, WileyPlus, etc.) are not included in this program.

If your store needs help providing custom content to accommodate students who have lost access to materials, please contact the publisher. 

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Which publishers are participating?

Most major ebook titles from the commonly used publishers in higher education are available. 

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Where should students go if they need support?

Students can check out a list of frequently asked questions here

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What should I tell my campus community about VitalSource Helps? 

Sample message for administration and instructors

Dear Fellow Campus Leaders,

During this disruptive time for our campus, we’re working hard to contribute to the incredible problem solving that we’ve seen at INSTITUTION NAME. At the campus store, our primary responsibility is to ensure that students have access to the materials they need to succeed in their courses.

With our transition to online learning, some students will lose access to course materials that they previously shared with classmates or instructors, or accessed via the library. To support these students, we’ve partnered with our digital course materials provider, VitalSource, and leading publishers, to launch VitalSource Helps, a program that provides access to ebooks to all CAMPUS NAME students through May 25th. Students may begin accessing these materials today at bookshelf.vitalsource.com.

Further information, including answers to frequently asked questions for students and publishers can be found here. 

Please let us know if you have any questions. 

Sincerely,

CAMPUS STORE NAME.

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Sample email to students

Dear students,

In light of the ongoing disruption to on-campus learning, we’ve partnered with our digital course materials platform, VitalSource, and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to ebooks for students who may have lost access to course materials with the rapid move to distance learning. 

If you previously accessed textbooks via the library, shared a book with a classmate, or left your books on campus, visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com to access free ebooks through May 25. VitalSource Helps provides access to an expansive catalog of ebooks, but some content may not be available. 

Getting Started

To access free materials, you must use your CAMPUSDOMAIN.edu email address to log in or create an account. Before you get started, we encourage you to review this student FAQ

We hope this will be of assistance to you as you continue your studies online.

Sincerely,

CAMPUS STORE NAME

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What if students or instructors on my campus cannot find the ebook they need?

If you do not see the publisher of a book required on your campus on this list, or can’t find a required course material by searching for its ISBN, title, or author then that material is not available as part of VitalSource Helps. Most custom content is not included in VitalSource Helps.

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What if a student is trying to access his or her Bookshelf account from the campus LMS?

Any content typically accessed via the LMS, such as Inclusive Access content, will still be available on LMS-integrated accounts. However, ebooks that are part of VitalSource Helps are only available through the Explore tab at bookshelf.vitalsource.com and within all native Bookshelf apps (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc.).

It is important to note that, while students at your institution may use Bookshelf today as part of an Inclusive Access program, they may access content via an LMS integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps free content, students must use their institution-provided email address.

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Can students download materials?

Yes! To access ebooks offline, students and instructors should download the Bookshelf app on their computer or mobile device. The Bookshelf app is available free on all major app stores. Learn more about the Bookshelf app here.  

Students may download ebooks on two desktop/laptops and two mobile devices. 

If a user reaches the activated devices limit, she can deactivate devices to activate other devices in her account settings. Learn more here

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Does Bookshelf allow users to print portions of books?

In most cases, yes. However, printing restrictions are set by each publisher.

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Is the Bookshelf platform accessible for students with special needs?

Yes. We take accessibility seriously. You can find our VPATs here, and relevant support articles here. We ensure all materials meet a minimum standard of accessibility, and the Bookshelf platform supports even more accessibility features, but publishers determine enhanced accessibility for their own content. 

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 What is VitalSource’s Privacy Policy?

VitalSource does not share user data and all participants of the VitalSource Helps program will automatically be opted out of marketing initiatives. To learn more, click here to view our Privacy FAQs.

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