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More IU Students Than Expected Using E-textbooks

More course professors signed up to use e-texts than Indiana University anticipated.

e-textbook

Photo: StandfordEdTech (Flickr)

Universities across the country are opting for e-textbooks that are cheaper and more accessible to students.

Exactly 130 courses signed up for Indiana University’s e-text program that began this semester–50 more classes than the university expected. In September, 2011, IU announced it had signed a deal with several publishing companies to start an etext program in lieu of hard copy textbooks.

IU Vice President for information technology Brad Wheeler says professors only had four weeks decide if they wanted to use the program, but they still had a good response.

“We’re two and half years into our pilot trails of e-text and how students use them and faculty value them, so I think we tapped into a number of faculty and some student demand that they were ready to go,” he says.

Wheeler says that most students buy used books, or in some cases do not buy the books at all. E-texts are cheaper, and he says this takes a load off students shoulders, both financially and physically.

“You’re not going to see them carrying around these 30 or 40 pound textbooks, but rather if they’re on the bus and the traffic is stuck they can just take out their Iphone or their Droid and flip through a chapter of psychology,” Wheeler says.

He says the technology is accessible on any kind of software including Ipad, Iphone, Droid, laptop computers, and mobile phones with internet. So students can access their schoolwork easily just about anywhere.

The lesser weight load, ease of access, and digital connection that these e-texts provide suggest that there will only be a continued increase in interest over the next few semesters. IU hopes to extend its program to other campuses.

Apple has also produced a new software for their textbook program, and Apple products are the only ones that can use the programs.

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