Tag Archives: CourseSmart

Digital Textbooks and Open Educational Resources – Summary of SOCHE Think TV session

On Tuesday, May 3rd I recorded a 15 minute segment for the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education on Think TV, the local public television station in Dayton, Ohio.  My topic was the rise of digital textbooks and options available for students and faculty to access and produce textbooks and learning materials.  Below is a snapshot of my general comments with links to various sources for more information.

Our current textbook system is broken.  We have arrived at $200 textbooks and have students who cannot afford them.  As a result, students try to borrow a textbook from the library or a friend (sometimes the older edition), purchase a used one, or go without.  Neither of these options provides revenue to the publisher, thus resulting in higher price points in an effort to recover the costs or production.   What can we do about this catch 22? Continue reading

CIL Conference – Empowering the Reader in a Digital World

This CIL session was presented by Chad Mairn, Information Services Librarian at St. Petersberg College and Al Carlson, System Administrator for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.

Al Carlson:

  • Library automation, the internet, and EPUB are the three big things he feels have hit the library industry during his career.
  • The book is the content and not the package, ebook is just another package.
  • Diagnosing the DVD Disappointment:  A Life Cycle View by Judson Coplan – this article from 2006 is one that Al recommends to read as a comparison to how quickly ebooks may be adopted.
  • History suggests that ebooks will rapidly invade the codex space
  • Books aren’t dead, they are just changing Continue reading

eBooks in Higher Education, textbooks, rentals – great article

Great article today in Inside Higher Education, All in the Delivery, that discusses the rise of eBooks in higher education, specifically for textbooks.  Kindle, iPad, CourseSmart, FlatWorld Knowledge, and of course print, are discussed in the context of the best method for delivery of academic ebooks.  The author, Steve Kolowich, offers a nice overview and variety of stats and links.  The comments thus far are nice as well.

Articles of Interest

I can tell that fall is in the air, nearly every article on my list this week has to do with eTextbooks.  Other good ones are there too, check them out.  Happy reading.

Robert Boissy of Springer on the Future of Ebooks and Libraries

An iPad book for the deaf

The State of the E-Textbook

Textbooks Up Their Game – WSJ

CourseSmart offers iPad App, iPad Give Away

Project Gutenberg on quest to digitize 1 billion books

10 Takeaways from the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference for Librarians

Earlier this week I attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) Conference for the first time.  Over 1250 attendees gathered in New York City to discuss and network   about issues and trends in publishing, in particular, digital publishing.  While much of the information presented was for the publishing industry, I did manage to find several great ideas and concepts that relate to libraries.  I’d like to share these with you, in no apparent order. Continue reading

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Tools of Change – Future of Digital Textbooks

Tools of Change Conference – Future of Digital Textbooks, Feb. 23 10:45- 11:30

Speakers:  John Warren (Moderator) , Eric Frank, Flatworld Knowledge; Frank Lyman, CourseSmart; Nicholas Smith, Agile Mind; and Neeru Khosle, CK12 Foundation

Questions:

  • What is your company doing?
  • What challenge or problem are you trying to solve?
  • Give an example of a successful business model and conversely, ones that don’t work.
  • How will digital textbooks be consumed?
    Continue reading

TOC – Tools of Change Keynote Speakers

Day One, TOC Conference, about 1200 attendees in the North and South Ballrooms of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  Good lineup for keynotes this morning including:  Peter Collingridge with Enhanced Editions, William Patry with Google, Skip Prichard from Ingram Content Group, Sameer Shariff from Impelsys, and Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post.

Andrew Savikas, Program Chair started us off with intros.

Highlights are below from each speaker. Continue reading

Rent your textbook

Interesting article in the NYT today about Barnes & Noble’s textbook rental program.  According to the article, textbooks can be rented from college bookstores for about 42% of the retail price.  B & N piloted the program last year in a few schools, it has now been expanded to 25 campuses.  Renting textbooks isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s picked up in popularity due to federal grants for bookstores to start rental programs (to combat the high cost of textbooks).  Cengage and Chegg.com are also options.   Are you allowed to highlight and write in the rented books I wonder?  If this takes off, how might this impact the regularity of new editions?  Unfortunately, it only offers an option to students, renting.  It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, which is the high cost of the book.

Here in Ohio we experimented with leasing e-textbooks from CourseSmart.  It didn’t work out so well because the program has been canceled.  Students just aren’t ready to embrace the e-textbook, they want “a real book.”

Ohio Textbook Portal

The University System of Ohio introduced a textbook portal last week.  This portal, developed by programmers at OhioLINK, searches many sources for textbooks including:  OhioLINK catalog, OhioLINK Electronic Book Center, Safari Tech Books Online, and CourseSmart, an electronic textbook provider.   Textbooks located on CourseSmart can be leased for about 50% of the print cost.  OhioLINK students also receive an additional 10% off the cost.

CourseSmart represents 6 higher education textbook publishers.  They use one common platform for hundreds of digital textbooks.  Searching, bookmarking, and notetaking are just some of the features available.  Students may also print parts of the book.

Locating a book in the portal is easiest with the ISBN.  If that is not available, title and author will do.  As with any metasearch tool, search capabilities are limited, so the portal should not be considered a replacement for any of the individual resources.

The University System of Ohio includes 14 universities with 24 regional branch campuses, 23 community colleges, and an adult workforce education and training network – operating in more than 200 locations – working  in a collaborative, cooperative environment across the state. With a mission to provide affordable, high quality higher education opportunities for all Ohioans, programs and curricula are designed to meet Ohioans’ individual and collective needs for the 21st century. (USO website)