During the summer of 2012, the University of South Florida’s First-Year Composition (FYC) Program agreed to participate in the Internet2/EDUCAUSE Etextbook Pilot of the fall 2012 semester. The pilot was originally designed to experiment with Courseload, a new digital platform, and an etextbook purchasing model, but any professor holding the copyrights of course content or using open-educational resources was encouraged to join.
For the etextbook pilot, Professor Joseph Moxley and his colleagues decided to use a new custom textbook written by FYC teachers. The FYC Program houses a custom textbook project that has been active for about five years, with a team that is comprised of instructors and graduate students. Every year, FYC collaborators create and edit two new textbooks, one for ENC 1101 and another for ENC 1102. Largely through the efforts of Jenifer Yirinec, Joe Moxley, Dianne Donnelly, and Megan McIntyre, 2012 witnessed the construction of the program’s first etextbook, Network, Collaborate, Compose: College Writing in the Digital Age,which took advantage of electronic capabilities like hyperlinking and anchoring. A new team is already preparing the next edition.
By participating in the pilot, Professor Moxley allowed the Network, Collaborate, Compose textbook to be uploaded to the Courseload platform and distributed to over a thousand students free of charge under a Creative Commons 3.0 NC ND license. Normally, the custom textbook is sold for about $60, but his decision to join the pilot saved students an estimated $84,588 in total textbook costs for the semester. The students are also experimenting with the etextbook platform Courseload and providing feedback about its strengths and weaknesses, which helps improve the platform for future users.
In spring 2013, the second phase of the etextbook pilot is set to begin and Professor Moxley has once again agreed to participate with about 200 students.