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 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