The goal of the pilot is to provide students with substantial savings and to enhance access to digital educational materials by delivering etextbooks to students and faculty via an institutional site license, rather than through individual purchases by students. The pilot builds on a successful initiative conducted at Indiana University, which was later extended to several other institutions through a collaboration with Internet2. The current version of the pilot is an initial proof-of-concept activity under a partnership between Internet2 and EDUCAUSE and it may expand over time to include additional components, such as additional publishers or e-readers.

The pilot will work as follows:

  • The publishers will provide USF access to etextbooks within the specific classes or sections involved in the pilot. Students will have access to the etextbooks until the end of the fall 2013 quarter or semester, so long as they remain registered in the class.
  • Courseload will provide faculty and students access to the etextbooks via an e-reader. The e-reader is integrated within Blackboard or Canvas, is based on HTML5, and works on just about every device with a browser including most of those that run Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android.
  • The e-reader will allow faculty and students not only to read the etextbooks, but also to annotate them, to highlight passages, and to share annotations with fellow students and with faculty.
  • Faculty will also be able to use the e-reader in additional sections to deliver Open Educational Resources, faculty-authored and other non-copyrighted digital content as part of the pilot. These additional sections do not count against the total number of sections allowed in the pilot and will be provided by Courseload at no additional cost.
  • The e-reader is currently available only with an internet connection. Previously, the offline feature was available through the full version of Google Chrome, however this feature is currently disabled due to incompatibility with the recent Chrome version 28.
  • Students may print a section or the entirety of the etextbooks themselves directly from the e-reader for free, or for about $30 or less they may obtain copies of the etextbooks from a third-party print-on-demand service.
  • Courseload’s e-reader will use the same authentication mechanism that USF already uses to associate students with specific classes or sections in Blackboard or Canvas. That is, the pilot will not require students to have an additional username or password.
  • Courseload has created an Accessibility Advisory Board with representation from Indiana University, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, Cornell, Ball State, UC Berkeley and AHEAD. They are also working with the National Federation of the Blind to meet accessibility compliance.
  • USF will pay a flat fee for these services. Internet2 will receive these fees and disburse funds to the vendor. The flat fee is all inclusive, and covers the e-reader platform, publisher-provided content, external integration to Blackboard and Canvas, and support.

E-Text Pilot Work Group

The members of the E-Text Pilot Work Group will advise the University of South Florida on the implementation and assessment of the Internet 2/EDUCAUSE pilot project that will be launched fall semester 2013.

Monica Metz-Wiseman, USF Libraries, Work Group Chair (monica@usf.edu)

Grandon Gill, faculty representative, College of Business (grandon@usf.edu)

Valerie Janesick, faculty representative, College of Education (VJanesic@usf.edu)

Johnny El-Rady, faculty representative, College of Arts & Sciences (jelrady@usf.edu)

Michael Shuman, faculty representative, College of Arts & Sciences (mshuman@usf.edu)

Michael Pearce, VP, Information Technology, Project Sponsor (mpearce@usf.edu)

Laura Pascual, USF Graduate Student (lcpascua@mail.usf.edu)

Alexander Neff, USF Graduate Student (neffa@mail.usf.edu)

Ruben Mathew, Undergraduate Student (mathewt@mail.usf.edu)

Dennis Walpole, Information Technology (walpole@usf.edu)

Christa Fowler, USF Sarasota Manatee representative (lcfowle2@sar.usf.edu)