Indiana University says a long-term effort to "break the spiral" of rising textbook costs has saved students around $15 million. More than 40,000 students last school year used education materials offered through IU’s eText initiative — and that figure continues to grow. The university’s formal eText pilot launched in 2009 and Vice President for Information Technology Brad Wheeler says "no big research university, no big public university… No one is even close to our numbers." IU has agreements will all major textbook publishers and says students on all campuses are set up to order the digital materials.
Wheeler tells Inside INdiana Business the program has grown organically among students and faculty. He says it’s not a battle between old and new technology. "The creation of Kindles and digital books certainly didn’t displace paper novels. We still see vibrant industries for both and I think that will continue here." He adds that throughout the research process, eText users have indicated the need for an option to print digital materials, "but now with six years of data, we see that they almost never print."
Wheeler says by shifting into an eText model "early and assertively," the university has been able to leverage its resources to knock down the price of textbooks. "The shift to digital education materials – eTexts – is proving a win for students and faculty with better value, convenience, and more insight into how students study and learn. We are grateful to the authors, publishers, and our partners who continue to grow this win-win model that can reduce the cost and improve the quality of a university education."
The program works like this: faculty members select eTexts, which are delivered to students’ digital devices automatically and weeks before class begins. The technology includes features like the ability to highlight, add notes and collaborate through integrated software at the school. IU says the students can have access to the materials as long as they’re enrolled.
You can connect to more about the program by clicking here.