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
Now here is a great use for eBooks - increasing access to traditional print textbooks for students with disabilities.
SOCHE, the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education received a grant to provide an online library of electronic textbooks to qualifying students at 12 institutions in Ohio. These electronic textbooks offer students with disabilities the chance to listen to the textbooks via screen reading software, increase the font size on computer screens, and probably lots of other things too. Things that were much more difficult or impossible to do with a print copy.
Prior to this collaboration, each school had to transfer the textbooks to electronic format. So the same textbook may have been transferred to electronic format 12 times. Now, only one copy is transferred and the 12 schools can share access to the title. For those of you thinking these students get free books, nadda. Each student still has to purchase a copy of the title, then they are given access to it electronically.
It would be great to make this a statewide, or even nationwide effort. Think of the money that could be saved. Do other universities or even public libraries participate in similar activities?