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Inclusive Access

Bringing Course Content into the 21st Century

UC Davis Stores’ Inclusive Access program has been making waves among college stores across the country with its innovative digital course materials model. Inclusive Access converts physical course materials into instantly accessible, totally interactive and adaptive digital content, while drastically reducing the cost to students. In short, we have upgraded our textbook model to improve access and affordability with 21st century tools.

Two Main Goals:

  • Reducing the cost of course materials.
  • Improving educational outcomes for students.

The Process Is Simple:

  • Students are sent an email two weeks before classes begin with instructions on how to access their digital course materials content. They’re able to access the content through SmartSite on the first day of class.
  • Students enjoy free access to the content during the first two weeks of class.
  • After the free two weeks, in order to retain access, students simply do nothing; a charge is conveniently billed to the student’s university account (MyBill).
  • If students choose to opt out, they can do so easily via a registrar link before the two-week deadline; access is turned off and no charge is assessed.

Why It Works (and Rocks)

The Inclusive Access model is much less expensive than other options; because of the increased buy-in from students in a class offering Inclusive Access, publishers are willing to negotiate much lower prices than they are for print materials. In just its first year, the program saved students over $1 million. It also gives students convenient day-one access to course content, and allows them to experience more interactive and adaptive digital content that has been shown to improve educational outcomes. In addition, it gives faculty members the freedom to better tailor their course materials, and they still have full academic freedom to choose the texts they want for their classes.

How It Got Started

The Inclusive Access pilot began in fall 2014, with over 3,000 students in 10 large courses on the UC Davis campus. It included digital content from several publishers, who offered drastically reduced rates in exchange for greater buy-in. A survey taken after the quarter by pilot participants revealed that 62% of the students found digital more effective than print for learning. Another 60% expressed that they felt the pilot’s digital price for their course materials was better than they could have found for a print version. Overall, our initial assessment showed students reporting decreased study times, improved learning outcomes and high satisfaction with the adaptive digital content.

How We’re Helping to Change Things

Others in the industry are looking to UC Davis Stores as an innovator as a result of this program. The pilot was featured in the October 2014 issue of The College Store Magazine, published by the National Association of College Stores (NACS). Jason Lorgan, director of UC Davis Stores, also presented on the program at the BISG (Book Industry Study Group) Higher Education Conference at NYU in April, 2015. The theme was “Adapt, Learn, Innovate,” and the conference featured “the most promising trends in the development and dissemination of higher education learning tools and course materials, attended by the people who are setting the future path of higher education content.” Overall, the program is receiving a lot of attention from others in the college store and course materials industries, and may pave the way for other campuses nationwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Interactive or Adaptive Learning Platform?

Interactive Learning Platforms, or ILPs, are much more than just e-books. They are interactive software platforms developed to provide an enhanced learning experience beyond reading the text. They may include multi-media video and audio presentations and animation, and adaptive quizzes and homework sets which link directly to the related section of text when incorrect answers are given. They also allow for various levels of customization by the instructor, peer-to-peer sharing of notes, and the creation of digital flashcards you can use with smartphone apps.

How much does Inclusive Access cost?

The price varies depending upon the course materials chosen by the instructor, but most Inclusive Access prices are lower than the cost to access the material direct through the publisher, and average 50% to 70% off the cost of the printed text.

How will I get my access code?

If your instructor is using Inclusive Access, you are already enrolled. You will be notified via email prior to the start of class with access instructions, the discounted pricing and information on opting out. This information is often also provided in the instructor’s syllabus.

How do I pay for my access?

The access is free for the first 10 days of the course. After 10 days, all enrolled students who have not opted out of the program or dropped the course will have the discounted price billed to their student account. No waiting in line with a heavy, expensive book!

What does it mean to opt-out?

If you do not wish to participate in Inclusive Access, you have the first 10 days of class to opt out of the program online (the opt-out procedure will be outlined in your emailed information). If you opt out by the deadline given, access to the online content will be turned off and you will not be billed.

I opted out by mistake and realized that I still need my access. Can I opt back in?

Yes. Simply email the Inclusive Access team at to request that your access be reinstated.

I did not opt out, but I did not register my access or use the online platform. Will I still be billed?

Yes. All students who are enrolled in a course using Inclusive Access are automatically considered part of the program. To avoid being billed you must opt out online during the first 10 days of class.

I dropped the course. Do I still need to opt out?

Students who drop the course during the first 10 days of class will automatically be “opted out” and will not be billed. Students who drop after the tenth day will have five days to notify the Inclusive Access team at to request a refund.

I forgot to opt out and missed the deadline. Can I get a refund now?

Once billing has been completed, the only option for a retroactive refund is with documented withdrawal from the class. Please email the Inclusive Access team at with SISWEB documentation of withdrawal (a printout or screen shot of confirmation of the drop) to request a refund.

I am wait-listed for the course. Will I still have access to the digital course material and do I need to opt out if I don’t get into the course?

All enrolled and wait-listed students have access to the content on day one of class. If you are dropped from the wait-list without getting in, you will automatically be opted out.

Who should I contact if I am having trouble with access to the online content?

First, try the online help desk of the publisher for your course’s content (see links below). The publisher of your content should be listed in the initial email you received about your inclusion in Inclusive Access. If you can’t find who your publisher is, or if you are unable to get a resolution from the publisher, please email the Inclusive Access team at for further assistance.

I already have access to the online platform from a previous course. Can I continue without paying twice?

If you are in a continuing series course (for example, if you took PHY 9A and paid for access, and you are now taking PHY 9B and your access is still good), you can log in with your original account and simply assign your new course ID to access the homework. If your current section does not require the homework, you can still use the platform’s self-study tools and do not need a new course ID.

I added the class late. Do I still have 10 days before being billed?

Billing begins on the eleventh day of class. If you added the class on the ninth day or later, you will have 48 hours (two days) to decide whether to opt out before being billed.

I didn’t get an email about my course, but other students in my class did. Was I sent an email?

All enrolled and wait-listed students are emailed about the program. If it is not in a spam folder or was accidentally deleted, email the Inclusive Access team at for access instructions.

I have further questions that were not addressed. Who do I contact?

If your question wasn’t answered in this FAQ, please email for more information.