Faculty User Guide


Faculty User Guide

This part of the guide is tailored just for faculty users. If you're a faculty member (or you're curious about the lives of faculty members) then this is the section for you. Otherwise, you can read the Coordinator, Bookstore, or Student sections, or the entire Guide all in one article. 

Here's everything we'll discuss in this section. Click any title to skip around. Click any picture to zoom in!

Let's kick things off with a letter from Alan Martin, Sidewalk's Founder and CEO. 




Faculty-Student-Store Relationship: How Hero is Positioned on Campus

Faculty User Guide

Faculty-Student-Store Relationship: How Hero is Positioned on Campus


Putting Faculty and Students on the Same Page

The challenge with the bookstore’s role in content today is that it is only involved in part of the conversation. And it’s the part that is shrinking every term. Faculty tell the bookstore what textbooks they need. But what about everything else? What about open educational resources? What about alternate editions of the core textbook? What if they’re working with the publisher to use a digital item and it doesn’t occur to them that the bookstore can help? If the bookstore is only viewed as relevant to physical textbooks, it will become less and less relevant over time - just like the physical book. There is a very robust and growing content conversation happening between faculty and students, and Hero puts the bookstore into that conversation. It is indeed the platform where that conversation happens. So, the secret to Hero is this: it is a platform for faculty to communicate their content requirements and recommendations directly to students. Period.

So, the secret to Hero is this: it is a platform for faculty to communicate their content requirements and recommendations directly to students. Period.

It also happens to manage the full adoptions workflow front to back. But it is positioned for faculty to have the content conversation directly with their students. You can think of Hero as a visual and interactive syllabus which puts faculty and students on the exact same page as it relates to course materials. It is designed this way to drive the most accurate, thorough, and responsive behaviors from faculty.

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How Single Sign On (SSO) Works

Hero is a Single Sign On (SSO) application, meaning it integrates seamlessly with your campus and doesn’t require a separate username and password to log on. It consumes both the course file and student enrollment file from the registrar's office, and when faculty and students click to visit Hero, it uses your campus’ own authentication credentials to perform a match on Hero, which results in faculty and students being greeted with a personalized experience. When they visit Hero, they see only the classes which pertain to them by default. Of course they can view any classes on campus. But thanks to SSO, users gets a personalized experience and don’t even need to remember a username or password. As long as they can log in to the campus network, they get to Hero. Voila!


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Faculty User Guide

Creating an Adoption 

Upon logging in, you’ll arrive at the course materials page, which displays the courses you are teaching. It’s here that you’ll select materials for the term. You can find something you haven’t used before, find items you have used before, or add videos, files and links for your students. And importantly, if no learning materials are required, it’s still very important to let your students know that. Simply check the box in the middle of the page and they’ll know no materials are needed.

We'll walk through each of these options one at a time.

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Adopting Something You’ve Not Used Before (or Need to Search For) 

The Adoption Editor is super powerful, as you’ll see. But in simplest form, if you’re searching for an item, simply key in the ISBN or search by title, author, or keyword.

Your search brings back results, and a lot of data and options with each title returned. There are several pieces of information present with each book. You’ll see front and center how much the book costs students on average, and you’ll see the list price right underneath. Some books are available digitally, and those are marked with an "H" logo, and will have a Negotiate option. If there are publisher resources available, you’ll see a purple View button. And at any time you can click on Research Title to learn more about the book. But at its simplest, you can simply click Add or drag and drop the book into the dotted box.

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Adding Comments to Your Adoption

When you click the Add Comments button, two comment windows open below the item. The box to the right is for you to tell students anything you’d like about the content. This can be as short or long as you’d like. There’s no limitation on the length of comment. Keep in mind, though, that whatever you type in the Message to Students box will be displayed alongside the content when students are registering for classes and acquiring their content.

The Message to Bookstore box shows up only for the bookstore staff in one of their back-end processes as they prepare to source your materials.

Once you’ve selected your requirement level and added any comments, this item is ready to go! Now, let’s talk about adding another item to the adoption.

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Adding A Second Item to Your Adoption


To add another item to the same adoption, simply perform another search. Here I’ve searched for “biological science lab manual.” Of course you can just enter an ISBN to arrive at the exact item. From here just click the item you want in the search results and drag it over until it meets the item that is already in the adoption container to the right (or click the Add button). You’ll see a green arrow appear once your item has been dragged to the correct spot. At that point, just release it and it will join the existing item.

Here's how it will look. 

OK, now you've dropped a lab manual into the adoption to accompany your core biological science textbook. All the same things apply to this lab manual as they did to the core textbook. You can mark the requirement level (we've marked this one Recommended), and you can add comments to students or the store.

And with that, the adoption is complete. You have a book and lab manual and notes to the student to have this by the first day of class.

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Creating A Second Option Altogether

Now, what if you're OK using an older edition of the textbook? Well, that would be an Option in Hero. Let’s build one. Maybe you've moved on to the new edition of this textbook (6th), but you're OK if your students still use the 5th. So we'll add it as an option. Note here - at the bottom of each adoption there is a gray bar and a plus sign in a box that says Drop Item or Click to add new Option. OK, here we go:

Two things to notice here. First, we've clicked on the plus sign to add a new option. And second, we've searched for more textbooks on the left hand side.

From here, drag and drop the book you want into Option 2. You can search and find other items and drop into Option 2 just like we did with Option 1 above.

Here's what it looks like:

For Option 2, we've selected the 5th edition of the same book as the first option, we've marked it as Required, we've added a student note, and we've included the same lab manual using the same method as adding the lab manual to Option 1. You could repeat this process as much as you want. Maybe you're OK with the 6th, 5th and 4th edition of the same book. Hero loves it. You can build as many options as you’d like.

Hero loves it. You can build as many options as you’d like.

If you want to add another adoption to this course, simply find any other item using the search to the left, and click Add. It will put that new item into its own new adoption. You can also click the plus sign in the gray bar below the adopted items which says Drop Item or Click to add new Option. That will open up a new area for you to drag and drop new items from your searches to the left. Let’s save this adoption so we can see how it looks, and if we’re happy with it, we’ll submit it. Here we go...

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Saving and Submitting Your Adoption

At the top of the Adoption Editor you’ll see an option to Exit Without Saving (don't do it yet -- though if you ever click that by accident, don't worry; we’ll ask you if you’re sure), and another option to Save This Adoption along with a little note reminding you that you’ll actually submit it on the next page. Let’s do that. 

Once you save your adoption, you’ll be taken out to the Courses page, which is identical to what the students see when they’re registering for classes and acquiring their materials from the bookstore. It’s from here that you can review the adoption and make sure it looks right. You’ll see your options laid out. Our bright pink flags let students know if the item is RequiredRecommended or Optional. Just below the price panel to the right, you’ll see your comment to students in a box that is highlighted in pink. You’ll see your lab manual below, and the complete second option. All laid out with strong visual queues on the page for the student.

Importantly, notice the message displayed above your content: it’s a reminder that the bookstore won’t receive this item to place it on order until you click Finalize. So if you’re happy with how things look, please click Finalize. You’ll get another message that lets you know the task is complete. Let’s look at that next.

You can be sure the store has your adoption at this point. And of course, if you need to return make changes after finalizing, that’s OK.

Ready to keep going? Alright! Now let’s look at adopting something you have used in a previous term. 

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Adopting Something You Have Used Before

When you click on Readopt on the previous page, the Adoption Editor opens up with your previous materials pre-populated. You can now select any or all of your previous materials, and add any new items as well. Everything from here is identical to all the workflows already shown for building and submitting an adoption. This is simply a shortcut to your previous materials.

Note: Hero attempts to capture three years of history, meaning you can find items which are further back than just the previous term. Also, you can look across your entire campus to see what other courses have used over the previous years, and all the way up through current. All you do is click on Past Department and Past Course to see materials across any department on campus. And it goes even further: if you click on School, you’ll be able to find materials used at any university which that uses Hero. This becomes a powerful transparency platform which will lead to the best materials being used for better student outcomes.

This becomes a powerful transparency platform which will lead to the best materials being used for better student outcomes.

Next let’s look at digital negotiation, adopting non-textbook items, and entering custom ISBNs.

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Digital Negotiation

One of the most important aspects of Hero is that is has the ability to lower the cost of content. Fundamentally, it just shows you the price students will have to pay, and hopefully makes the entire community a little more aware of the cost of textbooks. Keep in mind, 65% of students go without some of their required materials because of cost alone. And a full 50% of students actually select some of their courses just based on the cost of the textbook. Hero hopes to make that a thing of the past, and digital negotiation is one of the tools which is driving down the cost of content.

As you can see in this search result in the Adoption Editor, there is an option to get the book digitally for less by clicking Negotiate. Not all books have this option, but many do. Let’s use the next image to see what the Learn More link has to say, and then let’s actually kick off a digital negotiation!

Here’s the Learn More popup explaining what digital negotiation does. In a nutshell, it fires of an automatic negotiation with the publisher to reduce the price of this content in exchange for you adopting the digital (instead of physical) version of the book. All that is required to get this going, is for you to input your estimated enrollment and click Yes. This is massively simple, and there is no obligation whatsoever. Once you put in the estimated enrollment for your course and click Yes, Hero will add the item to your adoption container just like any other adoption. You still need to save the page, of course. 

This looks familiar right? This book is ready to save, but notice it has the little digital negotiation badge (the “H”) alongside the item. It’s time to save the adoption which will initiate the negotiation process. We’ll show you how that looks in the next image. 

Back on the Courses page you’ll notice this item now says Status: In Negotiation. This means it has been sent out for negotiation with the publisher. Expect an answer back in no more than 10 days. You’ll receive an email notification once your negotiation is complete. We’ll show you that next.

Now the fun begins! You can see the negotiation came back successfully. And all the durations and prices are displayed as well. From here, you can click See Prices for the Physical Book and the panel to the right will flip over to show you the prices on the market for the physical book (it’s a fun move; you should try it). If you’re not happy with the digital prices offered, just click Decline. The item will revert back to the physical pricing and you can simply finalize your adoption. But if you like the digital price, click Accept. Just like a physical adoption, you'll Finalize the adoption in the next screen. Here's what it looks like when you've accepted the negotiation and finalized the adoption: 

The digital item is all loaded up and ready for students to access. Congrats! You might have reduced the price of this item by as much as 50%.

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Inclusive Access

Even deeper discounts are often available when the publisher is able to work with your bookstore and registrar’s office to direct bill students for the negotiated content inside the LMS. Hero facilitates this behind the scenes, just like it does with digital negotiation. But when the item is loaded into the LMS directly, Hero simply provides the access point like this. Inclusive Access is a form of digital negotiation that can achieve even lower prices and is used by some campuses. If you think your campus might be a good fit for Inclusive Access, let us know!

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Attaching Videos, Files and Links

Clicking Browse Options lets you cruise your computer for any files you’d like to attach. Clicking Add Videos and Web Links opens up a modal that allows you to directly enter URLs.

You can enter links to anywhere and describe them, and enter videos from YouTube or Vimeo. Just find the video you are looking for at either of those sites, copy the url, and paste it into the field.

YouTube links look like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfR_gJQgdRk

Vimeo links look like this: https://vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks/201795592

Note: these end up playing right within Hero which is pretty neat and easy. Let’s see how it looks once you’ve added files and links and videos on the next page.

These items are now available to students. You can add more or delete any time. This is very fluid. The bookstore does not receive these as adopted items to source of course. These are just course material enhancements. Here's how that video looks when you play it:

Super simple and accessible, the videos play right within Hero.

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Accessing Publisher Resources

Hero connects to the publishing community in really useful way. Any publisher can access Hero and essentially promote their content by adding lots of free and useful ancillary materials -- Powerpoints, videos, quizzes, other documents, etc. They can attach these useful items to any book they’ve published, and Hero will display it. In the shot above, notice one of the items indicates there are publisher resources available. You’ll notice an icon and a View button. Click that to see what’s available with the title.

Now you can see a description of the item, and any content offered alongside. You’ll also see a link to contact the publisher and to request a sample copy. Publishers aren’t required to fill out all areas of this form, so there’s a chance not all areas of this popup will be filled in.

And an important note: when you adopt a book that has publisher resources, you can share those same publisher resources with your students instantly! It’s very neat. We’ll show you that next.

Here’s your item saved to the Courses page. You can see it has publisher resources because…well, it says so right there in a big purple button. Let’s click that button to open the resources.

Here it is. You can open and save any file or play any video. And with a single click, you can share any or all of these items with students. When you click Share, the item will show up instantly in your students Hero page. You can click Share again to remove the item. In this example, you can see we've shared two of the three items above with our students.

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Adopting a Non-Textbook Items

Back to the Adoption Editor! Notice one of your options is to Create an Item. These are typically items out on the web that you want your students to buy or access. Very importantly, your bookstore will receive this information and attempt to source the items directly into the store, making it even easier for students to purchase.

Let’s navigate to this and build one together.

Here we are at the empty form. Just fill it out with required information...

 ...and click Compile.

Here is the compiled item. From here simply add the item to the adoption just like any other item. Select your requirement level (Required, Optional or Recommended) and add comments if any, and you’re done! The item will show up on the Courses page with an estimated price and a link directly to the item. This makes it perfectly easy and accurate for students to find exactly what you requested.

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Adopting a Custom Book

Back to the Adoption Editor...again! One of your options is to Enter Custom ISBN. This is a very simple form to fill out and send to the bookstore with enough key information for them to order the book for you. Once you’ve compiled the item and added it to the adoption container, you can mark it with its requirement level and add comments for the store or students. The store will likely be in touch with you to verify all is correct in the ordering of custom books. 

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The Cost Wizard

The Adoption Editor has a very neat filter called Cost Wizard. You’ve probably seen it a bunch of times by now. It works simply like this: as you search for books, you can drag the dial of cost wizard wherever you’d like, and it will filter out any items which are more expensive than your setting. So if you’re on a mission to adopt materials which will cost your students $50 or less, drag the dial to $50 and search with that filter in place. The next image shows a full search at unlimited price, and then we’ll dial it back to show how the search results change.

Here our search is returning the most relevant biological science books, regardless of cost, because the Cost Wizard is set to unlimited. Next let's drag the dial back.

Note: You can enter your search criteria once, and then just drag the dial as much as you’d like to change your results based on price.

We've taken the dial down to $50 to see what will return, and you’ll notice the top result is now less than $50. All subsequent results down the page are also $50 or less. Let’s drag it to Free and do another search.

In the free position, Hero will now only return Open Educational Resources (OERs). Pretty neat, huh? This OER catalog will continue to expand.

So there you have it! That’s the Cost Wizard. We hope it is a solid assist in keeping the cost of course materials in check.



That's it for the Faculty User Guide! If you're still curious, check out other sections of the Hero User Guide (Coordinator, BookstoreStudent, or the Whole Thing), reach out to your nearest Customer Success Manager or shoot an email to support@gosidewalk.com. We'll get you taken care of!

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