DURBAN, April 18, 2011 - The launch of the academic portal, Myacademic.co.za uses an innovative approach that merges academic publishing with social media to create a platform for students, authors and lecturers in academia.
Operated by LexisNexis South Africa (www.lexisnexis.co.za), a leading provider of information solutions, Myacademics.co.za incorporates access to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and author profiles to empower students and lecturers in their interaction with study material.
The site offers the ability to access the content synopsis of every academic book published by LexisNexis in the tax, law, accounting and human resources areas, making it easier for students and lecturers to decide on suitable material for their respective field. Some books already profiled on the site include The FAIS Act Explained, The National Credit Act Explained and the Law Lifeline series. Profiles of authors and books are written by the authors themselves as well as the academic editorial team running the site. The team also handles the site blog which covers topics that can be applied to the student's lifestyle, such as life after university. In addition, there is a closed website for lecturers only, which provides access to value-added materials such as lecturer slides and solutions.
"The academic publishing market is transforming around the world, creating a need for additional information other than textbooks, as students and lecturers want to be connected to a variety of information constantly," says Inge Mulder, LexisNexis Academic Manager. "The time to adapt is now, or get left behind.
"Academic publishers have to redefine their business model to cater to the widespread changes that technology brings to education. It's not enough to publish a textbook; we have to bring a multitude of information with it to ensure maximum worth for those in academic circles," Mulder adds.
Currently, students use podcasts, mobile self-testing and online updates to access study material, and often form groups on social networks to study together.
"Today, if a student wants to know if a book is worth purchasing, he or she will pose a question on Facebook rather than ask his lecturer. Lecturers in this country have not embraced this to the extent that our international counterparts have, but I believe that will change in the next three to five years," Mulder says.
The site was developed in direct response to the need of students and lecturers to find study methods that fit their technology-driven lifestyles. In the USA, for example, lecturers use the social media site Facebook to form study groups, and in South Africa, some educators use the mobile application MXit to answer questions posed by students. On the portal, users are invited to give input as to what material is helpful or ineffective with regards to their academic learning. This leads to insightful, accurate and useful product development.
"We will be using social media to create dialogues and listen to what users are saying about the products we offer. Customer insight is key, and social media is a fantastic way to tap into the student's mind," Mulder adds.
In addition to being an online interactive space for authors, prospective learners, students and lecturers in the tax, law, accounting and human resources fields, young graduates will also be able to use the site to keep abreast of changes in these fields of work, as content on the site will be regularly updated. The site will be expanded to include links to career sites, which will allow new entrants in the market to search for employment in their specialised field by logging onto the portal.
"LexisNexis is committed to the changing needs of customers, which is why we have advanced our technology platforms to specifically meet the evolving online research requirements of those in the academic world. We aspire to give our clients confidence in the quality of their research to enhance their chances of success," says Billy Last, CEO, LexisNexis South Africa.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the company's product offerings may contact LexisNexis on +27(0)31 268 3111.
LexisNexis® (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. A member of Reed Elsevier [NYSE: ENL; NYSE: RUK] (www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 15,000 employees worldwide.