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Savings drive increased use of eTexts

Nearly 10,000 Indiana University students are using digital textbooks (eTexts) this spring semester as part of IU's pioneering eTexts initiative. eTexts let students study with leading textbooks or faculty-edited course packs on just about any computer, tablet or smartphone.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Nearly 10,000 Indiana University students are using digital textbooks (eTexts) this spring semester as part of IU's pioneering eTexts initiative. eTexts let students study with leading textbooks or faculty-edited course packs on just about any computer, tablet or smartphone.

"IU has long saved students money by negotiating favorable pricing for software, and it is a natural to negotiate favorable pricing for digital textbooks to reduce the costs of attendance," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO. "As consumer devices continue to improve, we have worked closely with faculty, students and publishers to set a win-win path for digital content."

The spring semester has 250 course sections using eTexts, and comparisons show that amounts to $200,000 in total savings over next-best options. Students also have ongoing, searchable access to all of their eTexts while they are enrolled at IU, and they can print for no additional cost or get full printed versions for a small fee.

The eTexts program is steadily growing as faculty choose from an array of digital learning materials from leading publishers. eTexts enable students to highlight, add notes and collaborate with their peers and instructors through the Courseload software integrated with IU's educational systems. The eTexts deals also include online simulations, tutors and labs that provide additional ways for students to learn.

"I began as a pioneer with the eText initiative when it first became available and I have had nothing but good experiences with the process and products," said William Ramos, a professor in the IU School of Public Health. "I feel great about the cost savings for my students, the innovative tools that I can integrate into my teaching and the ease and reliability of the Courseload format through Oncourse."

IU's eTexts initiative began with pilots in 2009, and is now in its third full semester. In the last year, the number of participating course sections and students has doubled. The model is now being piloted and expanded at other institutions.

For more information, visit http://etexts.iu.edu.