Burr Ridge headquarters helps company go digital
McGraw Hill managing director Paul Ducham believes that digital content will be the dominant form of the product created for higher education. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
By the book
Name: McGraw-Hill High Education
Address: 1333 Burr Ridge Parkway
Local employees: Nearly 400
Products: Text books, particularly for business and marketing fields
Updated: February 6, 2013 10:40AM
BURR RIDGE — Big changes are happening at McGraw-Hill.
And those changes are going to be felt far beyond the company’s Burr Ridge headquarters.
Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, said the texbook publishing company plans to have all of its products available in digital form within 36 months.
“Digital is the future, and it’s a dynamic future,” Kibby said.
The Burr Ridge location, considered the company’s worldwide headquarters for higher education product development, is where brand managers, marketing managers and digital developers work to bring textbook materials to students worldwide.
The switch to digital products will continue to bring some changes to the Burr Ridge office, said Paul Ducham, managing director.
“It’s still a content business,” Ducham said, but rather than book covers, more designers are spending time deciding how a product will look on a computer screen.
The switch to digital products also will mean savings for students, who won’t pay as much for books and won’t have to carry around heavy volumes.
“It’s a much better experience for the student,” Kibby said, offering ways to study more effectively and efficiently.
These high-tech goals are coming to fruition through a variety of products.
Create, for example, allows a professor to choose the chapters he or she plans to teach. The professor can then purchase those portions of the textbook.
Connect is an interactive form of textbook that grades assignments automatically. That not only saves the professor time, it gives students instant feedback.
McGraw-Hill also has developed LearnSmart Advantage, a productsthat Ducham said takes the student’s learning experience to a new level.
As a student reads the online material, LearnSmart asks questions that gauge the student’s confidence in their answers.
“It knows if you know the material or you’re just guessing,” Ducham said.
LearnSmart continues to quiz students on areas where they need attention.
“You’re not repeating things you already know,” Ducham said.
The next step in online learning was introduced this month at the Consumer Products Show in Las Vegas. SmartBook, billed as the first adaptive e-book, assesses a student’s knowledge and skill level as he or she reads.
“SmartBook highlights the areas of the book (the student) needs more time on,” Ducham said.
Kibby said the next three years will bring big changes to McGraw-Hill and the students it serves.
“Those technologies have the ability to transform education,” Kibby said.