Promising: Trending college model sees boost in student success

I’ve always considered myself a good student. Ask my parents—I think they’d agree. I would dutifully tote textbooks and color-coded binders with matching dividers around everywhere I went, from home to school, school to after-school practices, practices to my part-time job, and then back home every evening, studying any chance I could.

Oh, how things have changed.

Now students have access to all those learning materials and resources from the touch of a small, light-weight device. They can access what they need from anywhere, regardless of what device they are using. In a world of constant change and continuous improvement, finding paths that will encourage student growth, success, and retention are vital in our educational strategies.…Read More

Dean: Here’s how eTextbooks are leading to higher completion rates

As we were planning to open our doors and offer our first classes in 2009, we decided affordability and access would be a priority at Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMU-SA). As we have grown, this commitment to providing the highest-quality education at the lowest cost possible has not been lost. Today, our students pay the lowest tuition of any of the 15 four-year higher education institutions in San Antonio at around $4,000 per semester for in-state students taking 15 credit hours.

But tuition represents only one aspect of overall college costs. The costs of textbooks have risen–and continue to rise–exponentially over the past two decades, placing a heavy burden on students—a burden that often makes attaining a college education unattainable. We saw these costs putting unreasonable pressure on students early in our history at the College of Business causing students to not take classes, suffer academically when they did not purchase books, or drop out of school.

Something had to be Done …Read More

How is eTextbook use shaping up across the globe?

Students have high expectations for their learning as they head off to four-year institutions, and rightly so–why would they want how they use technology for learning to be years behind how they use technology in their personal lives?

A recent survey gauges student satisfaction with the digital programs, focusing specifically on eTextbook programs, offered by universities in the United Kingdom, and reveals that progress is happening, despite barriers.

The survey from VitalSource, conducted by Shift Media, surveyed 866 students from 131 institutions and assesses engagement with eTextbooks. It also identifies various institutional practices and student behaviors that correlate with high student satisfaction levels.…Read More

State University announces free e-textbooks for students

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.”…Read More

OpenStax, Knewton introduce adaptive learning into OER

Peer-reviewed OER digital textbooks will be uniquely personalized for each student

OpenStax and Knewton have formed a partnership intended to personalize the learning experience for college students using open source digital textbooks.

OpenStax is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials, and its open educational resource (OER) textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet scope and sequence requirements.

Knewton’s adaptive learning platform will provide specific content recommendations for precisely what a student should study next by analyzing the data set of what the student knows, how she learns, and what concepts she needs to achieve a stated learning goal.…Read More

Up next for textbooks? The bionic book

Penn State develops new technology to create robot-written textbooks.

robot-textbooksA new technology developed at Penn State works with faculty to automatically build complete textbooks from open resources on the web. The texts are organized according to topics and keywords provided by a user.

The system is helping to usher in a new genre of media: the bionic book.

The tool, called BBookX, can be used to create a variety of media, ranging from study guides to textbooks. To begin, users fill in a digital table of contents — assigning each chapter a topic with text or as many related keywords or key phrases as they’d like. Using matching algorithms, BBookX then returns text, and users can keep the chapters as they are or mix with content of their own.…Read More

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.…Read More