Bradley C. Wheeler, the chief information officer of Indiana University at Bloomington, believes that colleges should take an aggressive stance when conducting business with technology companies and material providers, such as eTextbook publishers. He has recently compared the management of college technology to a chess match, placing colleges on one side and the technology companies on the other. Wheeler says that colleges need to collaborate with each other and look several moves ahead to anticipate tomorrow’s technologies and demands.

Wheeler helped lead the pilot effort at Indiana University to broker a deal with publishers to lower the per-book cost of eTextbooks in exchange for guaranteeing that students will buy them. For each course using the eTextbooks, students will be required to pay a course-materials fee that effectively equals to buying the books at a 30 percent discount. Despite that the Indiana University deal is not scheduled to begin until Fall 2012, several colleges have already begun to follow this kind of model to help trim costs for students.

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