e-textbooks KSU

State University announces free e-textbooks for students

Partnership with Pearson aims to ensure students have equitable access to course materials

Kentucky State University (KSU) is hoping to make college more affordable for students through a new partnership with Pearson that will offer e-textbooks to all KSU students for a flat fee.

KSU also is providing a book scholarship to every student, which means the e-textbooks are free.

“Some traditional textbooks can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 apiece. And the fact is, some students simply cannot afford to buy all the textbooks required for their course load,” said Aaron Thompson, PhD, interim president, Kentucky State University. “We want our students to be successful, and numerous studies have shown that if students do not have their books during the first few days of school, their success rate is seriously diminished.”

While many institutions have leveraged digital course materials delivery models at the individual course level, Kentucky State is one of only two institutions in the country and is the only institution in Kentucky currently working with Pearson to delivery course materials digitally college-wide, to undergraduate to graduate level students.

“We want to ensure that all our students have equitable access to required course materials the very first day they walk into the classroom, said Candice Jackson, PhD., acting vice president for Academic Affairs, Kentucky State University. “If a student does not own a computer, not to worry. Students can choose to rent a computer for a small use fee, or the university offers free computer at convenient locations all over campus which includes, dorms, computer labs and the library.”

(Next page: How the e-textbook trend is spreading)

Kentucky State University also recognizes that providing comprehensive support both inside and outside the classroom is a key to student success. To provide students with crucial academic and technical support, KSU has created technical help desk and Smarthinking online tutoring services part of its partnership with Pearson.

“There are some outstanding things happening at Kentucky State University and this is one of them,” said Thompson. “We are thrilled to be able to offer the free electronic textbooks to our students.”

The trend toward online digital materials and e-textbooks is growing on campuses across the country.

Two relatively recent reports reveal faculty and student perspectives on going digital, as well as the trends moving forward into digital textbooks and course materials, are highlighted.

A report from the National Association of College Stores (NACS) shows how the traditional model of course content creation and distribution (faculty-authored and publisher-produced textbooks) is being challenged by new digital and learning content formats, such as open courseware, open educational resources, and adaptive/personalized learning–all of which promise lower costs and better outcomes.

Along with the NACS report, a report from the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) in partnership with the Campus Computing Survey (CCS) notes that quality and cost of course materials for students emerge as key factors that drive the decisions of college faculty about textbooks and other course materials.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione