April 17, 2014
The University of South Florida joined twenty three other universities in the Internet 2 / EDUCAUSE Etextbook Pilot which spanned over three semesters, including the fall 2012, spring 2013, and fall 2013 terms. USF’s reasons for participating in the pilot were to offer cheaper alternatives to expensive textbooks, enhance learning, and explore emerging etextbook technology.
- The pilot was based on a successful etextbook model used at Indiana University in 2009 by Bradley C. Wheeler, the university’s vice president for information technology.
- The 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.
- USF utilized Student Technology Fee funds to pay a flat fee for inclusion in each pilot phase, which covered the e-reader platform (Courseload) and publisher-provided content.
- The USF Tampa Library lead the project with support from USF Information Technology.
- Over 3,000 USF students participated and were provided their textbooks at no cost for the duration of the pilot.
- The Courseload e-reader, a digital learning platform designed to enhance etextbooks with greater mobility and studying tools, was required to access the etextbooks in the pilot.
- The etextbooks and Courseload were integrated onto Blackboard and Canvas.
- Courseload was intended to encourage students to take advantage of their etextbooks by enabling them to print what they needed, highlight passages in the text, create annotations, and use the collaborative features in order to engage more with fellow students and their professor.
- At the end of the pilot, students and faculty were asked to provide feedback through a survey developed on Survey Monkey about their experience with the etextbooks and the Courseload platform in order to assess the effectiveness of the pilot.
- Internet2 / EDUCAUSE collected the survey data from all of the participating universities and created an official summary report. You can access the report here.