Internet2/Educause Etextbook Pilot – SPRING 2013
In the 2013 spring semester, the University of South Florida entered into its second phase of the Internet 2/EDUCAUSE Etextbook Pilot. USF conducted its first phase of the etextbook pilot over the 2012 fall semester with twenty six other universities. The student and faculty data collected from the first phase of the pilot is now being analyzed and the results will be released soon.
The goal of the pilot is to test a new etextbook model and provide students with substantial financial savings and enhanced access to digital educational materials. The pilot builds on a successful etextbook model used at Indiana University in 2009 by Bradley C. Wheeler, the university’s vice president for information technology. Wheeler’s model promoted the idea that if a university bought etextbooks in bulk and charged a mandatory course-materials fee to cover the costs, the university could negotiate a much better price per book for their students.
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. Currently, McGraw-Hill and Elsevier are the only publishers willing to participate in the pilot. In addition, Courseload has been provided as the pilot’s e-reader.
Courseload, an e-reader and learning collaboration tool, is embedded in the student’s course on Blackboard or Canvas. It allows students to take full advantage of their electronic textbooks by encouraging them to print what they need, highlight passages in the text, and create annotations. The e-reader is available both online and offline, so that students and faculty can access their e textbooks even when their devices are disconnected from the Internet. In addition, students can either self-print pages of their e-textbook or purchase a print version of the textbook for under $36.
At the end of the pilot, students and faculty will be asked to provide feedback on their experience with their e-textbooks and the Courseload platform to assist in determining the effectiveness of the pilot.