EDUCAUSE and Internet2 are teaming up to conduct pilot tests of digital learning materials including e-readers. More than 25 colleges and universities will participate in the testing, which aims to evaluate technologies and business models.

For the fall 2012 portion of the pilot tests, McGraw-Hill Education and Courseload will supply digital learning materials selected by faculty, as well as a Courseload e-reader and annotation software. The institutions involved are subsidizing the study, enabling students to receive their digital learning materials, referred to as “eTexts,” at no cost.

According to today’s announcement, the pilot test will evaluate several practices that differ from what happens now with digital learning materials in three ways:

  • Site licenses negotiated and funded by campuses will replace individual purchases by students
  • Electronic materials licensed for use in specific classes will replace paper textbooks
  • The e-readers used will not be associated with a specific publisher

The fall 2012 pilot expands on two earlier trials, which according to Internet2 and EDUCAUSE, “demonstrated the appeal” of eTexts. Those trials showed, for example, that participants appreciated the ability to digitally annotate content and share those annotations while using less paper.

“Our core mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology,” said Greg Jackson, vice president of EDUCAUSE, in today’s announcement. “This pilot will help us understand how the advent of appealing, affordable eTexts can enable fundamental changes in the relationships among students, instructors, campuses and publishers, and thereby address a major obstacle to college affordability.”

Organizers are still looking for additional participants for the fall 2012 pilot. Current participants include:

  • Baylor University
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Colorado State University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology
  • Madison Area Technical College
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • Middlebury College
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Stony Brook University
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of Alaska
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Vermont State Colleges
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wichita State University


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