Frequently Asked Questions for Publisher Reps

VitalSource Helps: Frequently Asked Questions for Publisher Reps

FAQ Topics

 

What is VitalSource Helps? How do I describe this program to my customers?

What is VitalSource Helps? How do I describe this program to my customers?

VitalSource Helps is a program designed to support students and instructors 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 tens of thousands of ebooks through 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?

A student or instructor is eligible if they meet the following criteria:

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

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How do students and instructors access VitalSource Helps content?

To get started, students and instructors should visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Before students and instructors 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 and instructors may use Bookshelf® today as part of an Inclusive Access program, their account may not be linked to their institution provided email address. To access VitalSource Helps content, they must use their institution-provided email address.

For students and instructors accessing Bookshelf for the first time:

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

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

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

For students and instructors with existing Bookshelf accounts NOT linked to their institution-provided email address:

Here is an article explaining how to check the email account associated with your Bookshelf account, and how to change it to an institution-provided email account to access VitalSource Helps ebooks.

         

How long is the VitalSource Helps program available?

VitalSource and the participating 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 eBooks l 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 as part of the VitalSource Helps ebook program?

Users may add seven (7) titles to their account at no charge. There is a “counter” in the lower-left corner of the Bookshelf screen to help users keep track of the number of books accessed. 


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

This program includes an expansive catalog of ebooks to allow students to find their required learning materials. Students may access up to seven titles.  

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

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

If you 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 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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Where should I direct customers who have specific questions about the VitalSource Helps program?

For more information on VitalSource Helps, please click here.

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Where do I direct my customers who need assistance?

A list of student and instructor FAQs can be found here

For instructors and students new to Bookshelf, we recommend visiting this support page.

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Is the Bookshelf platform accessible?

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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My customer is new to digital. What is the best advice I can provide?

Bookshelf is a personalized digital learning experience that allows you to do more than you can with print. Ebooks allow learners to study wherever they are—even when they’re offline, on the devices they already own.            

Bookshelf goes beyond a traditional textbook, providing an interactive set of study tools for students for a more engaging reading experience. Study tools include:

  • Highlighting and note-taking, with sharing and print options
  • Flashcards
  • “Read aloud” option
  • Dictionaries and Wikipedia “lookup”
  • Easy search across content
  • Localization across 37 languages
  • Read on-the-go Bookshelf app 

For instructors and students new to Bookshelf, we recommend watching this Getting Started video.

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My customer is concerned that students won’t have easy access to Wifi off-campus.

With Bookshelf’s online and 100% offline access, learners have the freedom to study anytime, anywhere. Students can access a Bookshelf title on up to four devices at the same time: two mobile devices and two desktop devices.

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What are their options for notetaking in this eBook? 

Bookshelf makes it easy to highlight and take notes, whether a student is online, offline, or reading with  the Bookshelf app. Notes and highlights are synced across all devices (phones, tablets, and laptops) so students receive a consistent study experience wherever they are. If students are looking to engage even further, Bookshelf allows users to create personal study guides and flashcards from sections of the text.

Additionally, Bookshelf has recently integrated with Microsoft OneNote to enable students to access notes and highlights within their own OneNote Application, so students can annotate notes created in Bookshelf and study on-the-go.

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Can students share their eBooks with others outside their institution?

No. Student accounts are not sharable and Bookshelf has security measures in place to help prevent this from occurring. 

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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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Can students download materials?

Yes! To access ebooks offline, students simply need to use the Bookshelf app on their mobile device or desktop/laptop computer. 

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