At the core of higher education today is the student experience. Universities globally are meant to adapt and shift to accommodate the 21st century student. Tom Hatton, CEO and co-founder of RefME, popular cloud-based reference management tool, said based on his own experience struggling with citations, he realised very quickly that universities and institutes were unhappy with the reference management tools available for students and saw the opportunity to transform and improve the way students cite and conduct research.
The building blocks of academia and learning are centred on citations founded out of quality research. Technology enhanced learning tools that empower the institution to improve the student experience are essential in higher education today and necessary in order for institutions to keep up with the ever-changing learning landscape.
The unique challenge of fulfilling students needs today, in a now digital world, is a problem that RefME’s tool seeks to fix. Tools, resources and utilities for education need to be developed to be both: easy to access and easy to teach.
It’s about empowering the institution to improve the student learning experience and providing them with the tool to do so – Tom Hatton
RefME has worked with institutions to understand the challenges libraries and learning services departments face when it comes to equipping students with the knowledge, tools and skills they need to cite a wide range of sources.
Education today is split between the forward thinking tech adopters and those who are maybe unaware of how digital tools can support their students. Given the world is adopting and innovating new technology at an accelerated pace, it is an ongoing challenge for institutions to know which tools are best to adopt and when.
“It’s about empowering the institution to improve the student learning experience and providing them with the tool to do so,” said Tom Hatton.
Removing the pain of citations is said to be RefME’s mission. Recently reporting that the tool is now used in over 14,000 institutions worldwide, they have launched RefME Plus, which includes integration with Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows, Mac and Word for iPad.
The Microsoft add-in is available as part of their institute edition RefME Institute, giving institutions a site license of the new premium features of RefME Plus, smart discovery service integration, library support and basic analytics. Hatton says the new premium features are to “help students do better research.” With features such as Photo Quotes, which translates printed text into digital text and, more organisational functions such as Folders, these updates cater to those who want additional functionality outside of just creating and exporting citations.
Working alongside 30 institutes in 2015, RefME has taken feedback from students, educators and librarians and built a tool that serves the wider student needs and offers a solution that institutes can support and be supported by. Demonstrating an innovative solution to an often tedious task, the premium features showcase a 21st century take on research.
More information is available online at RefME Plus and RefME Institute.