Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Free Webinar > Reduce Costs and Improve Outcomes with Open Textbooks ... > September 11 2012 > 1:00 PM EDT

Please join us September 11, 1:00 pm Eastern for a webinar on how to reduce the cost of education for students while improving learning outcomes through the use of open textbooks and open educational resources.   This webinar features three leaders who are actively engaged in different strategies to promote open access learning materials to improve student outcomes:
  • David Harris, Editor-in-chief OpenStax College at Connexions.  OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Their free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course.  The first three books are Introduction to Sociology, Physics, and Anatomy & Physiology
  • Norman Bier, Associate Director, Community College Open Learning Initiative (CC-OLI) Project at Carnegie Mellon University. CC-OLI is establishing a consortium of community colleges to enact a large scale, systems-change process that increases efficiency in the way instruction is developed, delivered, evaluated, and continuously improved. Focus is on gatekeeper courses critical to graduation success: Introduction to Psychology, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Statistic
  • Thomas Madsen, CEO Bookboon. publishes free and openly available eBooks for students and business professionals. The Books can be downloaded in PDF without registration.  Their mission is that students should not have to pay for any textbooks to attend college.  Textbooks from a wide range of subject areas are available with primary concentration in STEM, Business, and Economics and feature a limited amount of advertising.
Source and Link To LogOn Available At 

 ??? Pre-Registration *Not* Required ???

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wikiweb > Visualizing Connections Between Articles

A Wikipedia reader for your iPhone and iPad that visualizes the connections between articles.

  • Explore any article on Wikipedia, beautifully laid out and carefully typeset
  • Create custom webs of articles and share them through email or Twitter
  • Discover interesting articles through unexpected connections
  • Read in any one of 45 supported languages
Source and Link Available At 

Friday, August 24, 2012

CHE > Students Find E-Textbooks ‘Clumsy’ and Don’t Use Their Interactive Features

August 22, 2012, 10:49 am / Angela Chen

Several universities have recently tried a new model for delivering textbooks in hopes of saving students money: requiring purchase of e-textbooks and charging students a materials fee to cover the costs. A recent report on some of those pilot projects, however, shows that many students find the e-textbooks “clumsy” and prefer print.

The report is based on a survey conducted this spring of students and faculty at five universities where e-textbook projects were coordinated by Internet2, the high-speed networking group. Students praised the e-books for helping them save money but didn’t like reading on electronic devices. Many of them complained that the e-book platform was hard to navigate. In addition, most professors who responded said that they didn’t use the e-books’ collaborative features, which include the ability to share notes or create links within the text.

The participating universities were Cornell, Indiana University at Bloomington, and the Universities of Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin at Madison. The pilot is the result of a partnership between the institutions, Internet2, McGraw-Hill, and Courseload, an e-book broker. After paying $20,000 each, the participating institutions were provided with the Courseload platform and e-textbooks for up to 1,000 students to use. Each university was individually responsible for training professors and distributing the e-textbooks.

The pilot projects are based on a model pioneered at Indiana University in 2009 by Bradley C. Wheeler, the university’s vice president for information technology. The university buys bulk e-textbooks to distribute to students, who pay a mandatory course-materials fee to cover the costs, with the idea that the university can get a much better rate per book by buying in bulk.

Mr. Wheeler said he still believed in the approach, arguing that complaints about unfamiliarity are normal in any group adopting new technology.


Twenty-four universities—including Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, and Michigan State University—will join the pilot program this fall.

Source and Full Text Available At 


Note: Iowa State University is participating in the Fall pilot program


Friday, August 10, 2012

CourseSmart: Results of a Two-Year Digital Textbook Study

CourseSmart, a leading supplier of e-textbooks for higher education, shared the results of a two-year study on the use of digital textbooks which had been commissioned by Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) and AccessText Network (ATN) following a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The study tracked the reactions of 1,185 higher education students who participated in an ebook rental program, some of whom required accessibility that isn’t available in print editions.

“We could not be more pleased to be a part of the STEPP Project (STudent E-rent Pilot Project), an effort that should be applauded for its mission to level the playing field in higher education. The economic realities of earning a college education make it paramount that all students find savings, and this program ensures that students with print related disabilities can not only enjoy the cost benefits, but also capitalize on the countless digital efficiencies of eTextbooks that their peers have appreciated for years,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, in a press release today.  “It is encouraging that so early in the program, we are already meeting our goals and we look forward to continuing to work with AMAC and ATN to help ensure all students can enjoy the benefits of eTextbooks.”

While the project’s main focus was to attempt to reduce the cost of student textbook expenses by 50% over print edition purchasing, an objective that the project achieved, an additional goal for the program was to drastically reduce the cost of textbooks for students who required specialized texts due to a disability.

According to the release, “the STEPP project, initially announced in October 2010 and designed to offer eTextbooks that are specifically modified for accessibility in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, marked the first time students with disabilities could enjoy the benefits of significant cost savings inherent in an eTextbook rental program. The eTextbooks that are part of the program are digitally formatted for qualified students and distributed through CourseSmart.”

As the project results indicate, there are both financial and accessibility benefits to digital textbooks, especially when the rental option is available to students who would otherwise be required to purchase print.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

A/V Now Available > Free Webinar > Managing the Print-to-Digital Transition > August 21 > 2 PM - 3PM (ET)

This event takes place on Tuesday, August 21, 2 to 3 p.m. ET. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission announced a blueprint to get all schools using digital textbooks in five years. While not mandated, the initiative encouraged schools to make the switch from print to digital materials based on estimated cost-savings and academic improvement—because print textbooks are expensive and digital content can be more personalized. But there are questions as to whether digital textbooks are actually cheaper, especially when factoring in the cost of the devices needed to deliver them, and whether digital content too closely resembles its print counterpart. Given the various devices, publishers, and content formats that have emerged in the education market, school districts are moving toward their digital goals in many different ways. Our guests will discuss their approaches to using digital content and the benefits, challenges, costs, and savings driving their strategy.


Jay McPhail, director of instructional technology, Riverside Unified school district, Calif.

James Ponce, superintendent, McAllen Independent school district, Texas


Jason Tomassini, staff writer, Education Week

An archived version of the event will be available within 24 hours after the original presentation. 


Underwriting for this webinar is made possible by a grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Source and Link to Registration Available At


A/V Available At