The University of Iowa

ICON Direct Teaching Best Practices

Inclusive access programs deliver significant savings to your students; however, there are steps that you should take to introduce the required purchase to your courses. See below for a list of Best Practices likely to result in stronger student engagement in the text, resulting in a greater opportunity to reach learning outcomes.

  1. Understand that every student registered for your course will be charged for the materials you select in the Ordering Tool, unless they opt out or meet certain exception criteria.
    1. Do not order an eTextbook unless it is going to be actively used in your course by your students.
    2. If you are ordering an eTextbook, do not order a physical copy at the local bookstores.  Students will be confused to what format is necessary for your course.
      Note: Some publishers will offer a supplemental paper copy for students to purchase, in addition to your eText.  This is not a replacement for your ICON Direct content, but an optional additional purchase students may choose to make. 
    3. Be sure to use your book in the first week of the course in a manner that allows students to use the content tools.
  2. Please consider adding this statement (or something similar) to your syllabus and posting it as an announcement to your students 1-2 weeks before the first day of class.

I will be teaching this class with electronic content. Your course material is available in your ICON course site. You may opt out of this content, but the consequences of doing so may affect your outcomes in this course.

  • You will lose access to any additional content your instructor might add to the eTextbook, such as links to other content; additional supplemental resources; and highlights, annotations, and any study tips your instructor may add to guide your engagement and learning in the course.
  • You risk falling behind in the course if you have not acquired alternate versions of the same materials prior to the first day of the class.
  • Faculty are not responsible for providing you with alternative materials or waiving course/class requirements.
  1. Communicate to your students on your first day of class why you have chosen the eText material for your course.  These reasons may include: the benefits of first day access to the correct edition of the texts, the duration of student access, and of course, the lower prices.


If using the Engage eReader:

Please familiarize yourself with the ICON Direct platform before the first day of class. In the navigation menu at the left of the course home page, click on “Unizin Engage” to open the Engage eReader. Engage works best when viewed online, in Firefox or Chrome.

The following Best Practices apply to courses with an eText adoption.

  1. Add the Unizin Engage eReader to your course. (Only applicable to courses selecting an eText, not an online learning platform.)
    1. Click Settings and Navigation
    2. Locate and enable the “Unizin Engage” tool
      Enabling the Engage eReader in ICON
    3. Click Save

If you see an error message after adding the ICON Direct/Unizin Engage reader to your course navigation, the publisher materials have not been connected to your course yet.

  1. Introduce the ICON Direct/ Unizin Engage eReader to your students.
    1. Explaining how to use the reader’s Q&A tools to highlight and tag passages of text will help students find important information at a later point in time. 
    2. Consider linking to the ICON Direct documentation site, or reproducing the ICON Direct student handout in your course site.
  2. The ICON Direct eReader software has the ability for students to send questions to their instructors. Plan for this ahead of time, and let your students know:
    1. Will anyone be monitoring these questions?
    2. Who will be responding to these questions – your TAs or yourself
    3. What an expected response time will be: 48 hours? Every weekday at noon?
  3. Communicate to your students why you have chosen the eText for your course.  These reasons may include the benefits of first day access to the correct edition of the texts, the duration of their access, and of course, the lower prices.

A minimal amount of advance instructor experience with ICON Direct makes all the difference in the world. View the ICON Direct help menu (for instructors) to learn about the basics of navigating in and using the basic features of the ICON Direct platform, or contact the ITS Help Desk for a one-on-one session to become familiar with this tool.

Support for ICON Direct