April 9, 2013, 11:34 AM

Follett plans to acquire a higher education technology platform

BetterKnow’s technology offers one-stop web access to course content.

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Follett Corp. said yesterday it plans to acquire BetterKnow Inc. a web-based provider of tools and technology to the higher education marketplace.

Neither terms of the transaction nor a closing date were disclosed.

BetterKnow acts as a clearinghouse through its technology platform. It assembles information on college course materials from schools and instructors, such as required textbooks, and provides access to the materials for students to purchase online. A portion of the revenue goes to the institution.

BetterKnow’s products, combined with Follett’s physical and online stores on more than 1,000 college and university campuses in North America, are expected to offer instructors and students broader access to course materials, says Follett, parent of Follett Higher Education Group, No. 67 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Follett plans to roll out the integrated Follett-BetterKnow course material technology to institutions and campuses in the fall.

Instructors will be able to select which course materials they plan to require students to obtain from a variety of sources, including traditional textbooks, digital materials, open source content and videos. They will be able to read reviews and collaborate with their peers teaching the same subject across institutions.

Students will be able to go to eFollett.com to find and purchase the specific course materials required for their classes. They can compare prices across a variety of content formats and channels, and choose their preferred option for delivery, either digitally or physically. When done in conjunction with an existing on-campus location, Follett will be able to coordinate purchases with the student’s financial aid account.

“Follett’s integrated solution will create a simpler, more affordable way to deliver content in both digital and physical formats,” says Mary Lee Schneider, president and CEO, Follett Corp .

The BetterKnow acquisition will also support Follett’s includED program, which provides course materials as part of an institution’s tuition or fees, Follett says. The program, which has been tested and is ready for roll out this spring, is designed to help students conveniently obtain all of their required course materials.

“BetterKnow’s technology will help us more efficiently integrate access to content with student information systems at our partner schools,” says Tom Christopher, president of Follett Higher Education Group.

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