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First Day Access


First Day Access Information Guide

Hello and welcome to the First Day Access Information Guide. This guide will walk you through the information and processes relating to First Day Access, also known as “FDA”

1. What is FDA and why?

2. What is included with FDA?

3. How to access FDA content?

4. Payments and Charges

5. Opt-in, Opt-out, Billing and Refunds

6. Semester Pay and Continuations

If you have any further questions, concerns or problems that are not addressed in this guide, give us a call here at the Rocker Shop at 605-394-2374 or send us an email at sdsmtuniversitybookstore@sdsmt.edu

Section 1.) What is FDA and Why?

So, what exactly is First Day Access or “FDA”? Basically, it is all just digital content! FDA converts physical course materials into instantly accessible, totally interactive, and adaptive content. The FDA program has been adopted by the South Dakota Board of Regents to help save you money by reducing the cost of course materials and to ensure that ALL students are prepared with the same course materials on the first day of class. The program is set up at the faculty’s discretion and the extent of the materials used will vary from professor to professor.

FDA usage can save students an average of 60% by using the digital course materials over purchasing the physical print AND your backpack won’t be full of heavy and bulky textbooks. All your materials are accessed through your laptop! (less trips to the chiropractor too)

There are two main priorities that have influenced the adoption of the FDA program. One, to improve the educational outcome for students attending the university. We are in the Twentieth Century and the technology is rapidly changing and improving almost daily! But you know that already, that’s why you’re here at the South Dakota School of Mines and TECHNOLOGY!!! The second priority is to reduce the cost of materials needed to complete your courses. Let’s face it, if you’re here you are probably an engineer or scientist in training! You don’t have that NASA or Parsons Brinckerhoff salary quite yet. YET!!!

So, why FDA?

In recent years, more and more publishing companies are moving to digital options instead of the traditional print and in the years to come, less and less physical textbooks will be available! During this transitional period, the landscape of many publishers is rapidly changing. As the adoption of digital textbooks and courseware becomes more dominant, re-structuring of these publishing companies becomes a new and rapidly accelerating priority to keep up with all the changes.

With every new semester the digital process of this adoption only gets better and better. New challenges do present themselves and as things improve, these challenges are becoming less frequent.

Section 2.) What’s Included With FDA?

So, what all is included with the FDA “package”? This can vary from course to course and even their relative sections BUT with FDA you will commonly find a digital textbook and/or digital courseware and depending on the class, the “Courseware” can also INCLUDE the textbook. Some classes that have adopted FDA may only include the digital textbook by itself with no courseware. Some other things you may find included with FDA are study guides, solutions manuals and other “custom materials” that your professor may have adopted to be part of the course.

If the course contains the actual “Courseware” and not just the textbook by itself, then it will be common for homework assignments to be issued through FDA and the ability to submit your completed assignments can be done in the same way.

It is important to note that FDA is not JUST a digital textbook! This is a common misconception that needs to be addressed and understood. Typically, a course that has chosen to use FDA will use the textbook only however, some classes will utilize the full benefits of FDA and make use of all the courseware. The decision on how your course is set up is ultimately made by the professor.

Section 3.) How to Access

It is important to note that you are automatically enrolled in FDA and no additional steps need to be taken after you have registered for the class.

The first step to accessing your FDA content if you are unfamiliar with the process is to check your email! You should have received an email from the Rocker Shop with a subject line of “Important FDA Information” or something similar. This email will contain instructions on how to access your digital content. The email is typically sent a few days before the actual class starts so if you do not see it right away, give it some time and it will be available closer to the start of class.

The most common interface used to access your digital content is going to be through Desire 2 Learn or commonly known as D2L. This is the South Dakota Board of Regents official course management software tool. To log into D2L, go to https://d2l.sdbor.edu. Once your account has been activated you can sign in using your student email address and your password. D2L is a system separate from the SD Mines network so new users will have to create a new password the first time you access the system.

Instructions on how to log in for the first time can be found at sdsmt.edu/ITS then navigate to the “Campus Services” and click “How do I”. In the new page that pops up, find the “Logging On” option and click “How do I log on to D2L” OR, simply type “D2L” in the search bar on the top of the screen and then select “Log onto D2L the First Time”

Once you have gained access into D2L, you will find all your course information including the course schedule, links to courseware and textbooks, select solutions manuals and more! This page will be the main hub to access your digital content.

Most of your courses will be accessible through D2L and some are accessed via 3rd party extensions like Vital Source Bookshelf, Wiley and Pearson. There may also be some content that is located outside of D2L like ZyBooks and can be accessed through its own format. If you are having any issues with “Error” screens while trying to access your digital content, contact us here at the Rocker Shop so that we can diagnose the problem and find a solution.

Section 4.) Payments, Charges & Durations

FDA is automatically charged to your student account once you register for a course. Students are billed at the same time as registration and that payment is due at the same time as tuition and fees. Your bill is housed in SDePay which is accessible through Banner. Banner provides you with information on courses, financial aid, allows you to register for classes, view your course schedule, and more. Once you’re in banner, click on “SDePay/View Accounts” under the “My Student Account Information” section. From there you can view and pay on your accounts or see your recent statements. The charges generated from FDA will appear as “MFDA”.

You can also pay with cash or check at the cashier’s office located on the main floor of the Surbeck Center. For more detailed information you can visit the SDSMT website and find the “Understanding Your Bill’ document. Simply type that into the search bar at the top of the page and it will show up first on the list and can be downloaded as a PDF.

Another important aspect to pay attention to is the duration of the digital content. As the start date to the semester gets closer, you will see a list from the Rocker Shop with all the FDA courses available with their relative section numbers, Instructor, price and the duration of the material. Some digital textbooks can be available on a “Perpetual” basis meaning that you have access to that digital copy forever. Commonly, if your course is using the FDA Courseware, YOU MAY SEE that the book is perpetual, but the courseware is “Pay Per Semester”.

Other durations for the content can be available 180 days to 5 years! It is important to account for the duration of your materials before you consider opting-in or out.

Section 5.) Opt-in, Opt-out, Refunds and billing

Opting in or out is a popular subject within the FDA program. So, what does it mean to be Opted-in or Opted-out?

Opt-In means that you are enrolled in a course that has chosen to use FDA as the course materials supplier. Once you have registered with a course utilizing FDA you are automatically “Opted-in”

Opt-out means that you are waiving the right to use FDA materials. By opting-out you lose access to all digital courseware and/or the textbook.

Why would someone want to opt-out of FDA? This could be for many different reasons but let us present a few common examples.

Example 1.

Your professor may only require the actual digital textbook with no other courseware components, and you may already have that textbook. This can be a physical textbook or a digital copy that you have access to. It’s important to know and understand whether your professor uses FDA for homework submission before opting-out of FDA. As explained in section 4, it is also important to make sure that you are aware of the duration of your materials as it is possible for your content to expire before your course is over.

Example 2.

You wish to acquire your own course materials. If you are enrolled into a class that requires digital materials to complete the course and you wish to use a different party’s content, you become solely responsible for

  • A: Acquiring the correct materials as required to complete the course.
  • B: Attaching the materials to your class. Support for non-FDA content will need to be sought either through the third party’s customer support or possibly through your professor which may or may not have some instruction to set up your materials related to their course.

    Once again it is important to understand the difference between “Courseware” and “Digital Textbooks”. Courseware will typically INCLUDE the digital textbook and other digital course materials required for the course while a Digital Textbook” will commonly be Textbook ONLY and does NOT include other course materials.

  • Example 3.

    You are dropping the course and therefore, have no need for the materials you were automatically enrolled for. No problem! You will automatically be opted-out and refunded if the course is dropped BEFORE the Add/Drop date and this refund will be reflected in your student account.

    Section 6.) Semester Pay VS. Continuations

    You will probably hear the term “Continuation” somewhere regarding FDA. A continuation simply means “continued access” to course materials and/or digital textbooks where you pay once and have continued access through future semesters in relation to specific classes. It is important to note that you will be billed for the “2nd” course but a refund will be issued after the Add/Drop date ultimately resulting in no charge for that course.

    Continuations are becoming less of an option as time goes on as the publishers are leaning more toward the Pay-Per-Semester format. In some recent cases, however, like Chemistry 326, the courseware AND the textbook will still be used in Chemistry 328. Once you are enrolled in Chem 328, you will probably see an FDA charge for the class but this charge will be refunded back to your account after the Add/Drop date and you will still have access to the courseware and textbook.

    Courses that include continuations are phasing out. Pay-Per-Semester is the most common format used for the FDA program. For more information on Opting-out of the FDA materials, please refer to section 5. Opt-In, Opt-out, Refunds and Billing or the FAQ’s