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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.

Looking For More Information

Please take a look at our frequently asked questions page for more information. If you cannot find the info you are looking for there, please email us at