The Computer Assisted Teaching Support (CATS) Lab at Colorado State University assists and instructs faculty, staff, and students to help them prepare and present teaching materials. As the students used different operating systems (Mac and PC), it was hard to find a publishing software that worked on both. Kotobee’s compatibility on both operating systems has helped CATS Lab take another step at replacing lectures with its interactive ebooks.

We interviewed Maddi Funk, Instructional Designer and Multimedia Specialist at CATS Lab, to learn how Kotobee Author and Reader offered their students and staff the potential to receive a new learning experience.

The Challenge

Can you tell us a bit about CATS Lab?

The Computer Assisted Teaching Support (CATS) Lab assists and instructs faculty, staff, and students in preparing and presenting teaching materials. Some of the services we offer are ebook creation, video work (capturing and editing), image work (photography, editing, figures for publication), graphic design, AV Support, Microsoft Office problem solving, printing, etc.

What challenges did you face prior to using Kotobee?

When we first started to think about creating ebooks, we realized that we would need a platform that would support both our Mac and PC users (our college seems to be split pretty evenly). When trying to find a solution for this, we found Kotobee. In our search, we really didn’t find very many ebook platforms that supported both systems, as well as had a nice editor for brand and design. We also liked the wide amount of possibilities that Kotobee provided, and the interactive experience for our users (widgets).

What other options did you explore?

While we tested out other ebook builders, we found that they would only be available for a certain system or they really didn’t give us much room for design flexibility. The most important thing was making a nice ebook that would be easily accessible for both PC and Mac users. That way all of our staff, faculty and students can view our ebooks.

“We also liked the wide amount of possibilities that Kotobee provided, and the interactive experience for our users (widgets).”

The Solution

How did you hear about Kotobee?

I found Kotobee by just searching for ebook building platforms on Google! It was on a page that had a list of recommended ebook building platforms (unfortunately, I can’t remember which one it was). After going through and testing several out, Kotobee turned out to be the best performing platform that we could find!

What drove you to choose Kotobee?

The fact that you can download Kotobee Reader, and both PC and Mac users can view the ebooks is what drove us to Kotobee. The versatility saves us and the students/faculty/staff money and frustration as well. I also liked that I was able to brand and add my own style to the design/layout of these ebooks. We also liked the fact that not only does Kotobee itself have some cool interactive widget options, but you can also import your own as well.

Has Kotobee's support team contributed to your selection criteria in any way?

After we started using Kotobee, I saw how great their support was, which was really comforting. Whenever I had a question or encountered an issue, Kotobee Support was right there and helped me with each issue. They were so kind and patient as well.

How difficult was the onboarding process with Kotobee, transitioning from an older system?

Kotobee’s ebook building platform was super easy to use. It really didn’t take much time for me to get things figured out and up and running! For any questions or issues that I ran into, the Kotobee Support team was really wonderful. They helped me with tons of questions that I had.

Is there a particular aspect of Kotobee that you rely on the most?

The fact that both PC and Mac users can view the ebooks is really important to us. Right now, we also have ebooks being stored on a Hosted Library so that workshop participants can view the ebooks online as well. This also makes it very easy for several users to view the ebooks.

“Whenever I had a question or encountered an issue, Kotobee Support was right there and helped me with each issue.”

The Results

How did Kotobee influence the success of your business? Any metrics would be useful.

Currently, we don’t have any metrics to measure the quality of digital learning quite yet. We are still in the beginning stages of our ebook project. Once we have several builds out, I think that we’ll be able to measure that a bit easier. Currently, our ebooks are for intros to workshops, as well as orientation guides for our different clinical rounds teams.

In what ways is your competitive advantage enhanced?

We are working on that right now. Once we have more ebooks completed, I think that we will be even more competitive. We are hoping that some of our ebooks will eventually be able to replace lectures and allow students more time down in the clinics.

“We are hoping that some of our ebooks will eventually be able to replace lectures and allow students more time down in the clinics.”

The Future

What are CATS Lab's plans for the future?

We are working to convert several of our faculty member’s lectures into ebooks. This will allow for more time for students to spend in the clinics, getting real-world experience.

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