Jul 06 2017

Digital Textbooks Save Indiana University Students Millions

Tech tools have major benefits for costs and learning outcomes.

Students at Indiana University are saving over $3 million every single year thanks to a digital textbook initiative called eText.

eCampusNews reports that more than 40,000 IU students have used at least one eText that they have downloaded to a digital device thanks to IU’s direct partnerships with a number of publishers.

“Digital textbooks and course materials should cost less and do more for learning,” says IU Vice President for IT Brad Wheeler in the article. “We see that happening in IU’s rapidly growing eText program as it is growing 50 percent year-over-year in 2,600 course selections.”

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Digital Textbooks Expand Access, Streamline Class Time

IU’s eText initiative supports a model called “Day One Access,” which means students are getting access to course material from the very first day of class, reports eCampusNews.

“I do a lot of active learning in my courses, and if you don’t have the textbook you can’t really participate,” says IU professor Nancy Evans, an early adopter of the digital tool.

With the digital textbooks, IU students and teachers can integrate notes and collaborate with classmates and instructors. IU reports to eCampusNews that in March 2017, the university saw over 100,000 annotations in the texts by students and faculty.

On the off chance that students don’t have access to a personal digital device, eTexts can also be printed and accessed from campus computers as long as students are enrolled at the school.

Digital Courseware Lets Students Learn How They Want

Digital course materials like IU’s eText and Oregon State University’s adaptive learning texts are tapping into a demand from students themselves.

A recent study found that while 82 percent of students, teachers and administrators believe that digital course materials are the future, only 56 percent said more than half of their institutions’ courses are using them.

Another survey found that online students, in particular, are getting a lot of use of their mobile devices — 81 percent use them for research and 66 percent use them to complete course activities — and universities would be wise to make courses more mobile-friendly.

Traditional textbook publishers have even found that students are learning better with digital components to their textbooks, the Association of American Publishers reports.

“Education publishers and learning companies have heard college students loud and clear and are offering them more of what they want — more affordable materials without sacrificing high-quality content,” says David E. Anderson, executive director of higher ed with AAP. “Publishers are able to do that, in large part, because of this transition to interactive and engaging digital materials.”

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