Electronic textbooks save Indiana students $8M

University officials say the number of electronic textbooks in use on campus has increased considerably

electronic-textbooksIndiana University students have saved $8 million over the last three years by opting into a digital learning program that uses electronic textbooks, school officials said.

“Students have been complaining for a long time about the high cost of textbooks,” Anastasia Morrone, associate vice president for learning technologies at IU, told The Indianapolis Star. “Really, it does give you pause why a book has to cost $300.”

The textbooks cost about $35, and students access them through the internet on computers and mobile devices. They can take notes and highlight passages, and professors can also add their own notes to alert students to important passages.

The number of students using electronic textbooks has gone up each semester since the program started, she said. Electronic textbooks are being used this semester by about 25 percent of the more than 100,000 students in the Indiana University network, Morrone said. Indiana University has contracts with 21 publishers.

Law student Jessi Hilger uses electronic books for two of her three classes.

“It’s a lot cheaper than a traditional textbook,” she said. “I work full time, and I go to school at night, so I usually have to carry around books that are five-plus pounds.”

IU law professor Max Huffman said the electronic books’ interactivity is attractive and all students have the same edition of the book.

“It’s like an Apple e-book or a Kindle book,” Huffman said. “It looks like a PDF, but it’s more interactive and engaging on the screen. The basic reading is no different than any other book in that respect.”

Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com.

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Laura Ascione

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