eText Pilot – Part III
eText Pilot Evaluation Reports
This opinion piece by the Daily Cardinal provides a good analysis of the pros and cons of e-books.
This article from Internet2 Senior VP Shel Waggener does a solid job of laying out the opportunities and risks in front of us with E-Content.
The UW-Madison concluded its third semester-long study on the use of eTexts on our campus. All three of these initiatives were undertaken as part of the NET+ E-Content pilots organized by Internet2/Educause. We were part of a limited pilot in the spring of 2012, as well as another in the fall of 2012. Both of these prior pilots involved the use of Courseload (an eReader/annotation program) and 800 students in several courses. However, the spring 2013 pilot utilized CourseSmart as the eReader platform and content provider and involved 98 students.
While the first two pilots included all students (and their faculty) in single courses, students in Pilot III used eTexts in several of their courses. This enabled the study to focus on student perceptions of the value and usefulness of eTexts when a significant proportion of their semester’s textbooks were available in digital formats and accessed in the same way.
The study provided free eTexts and students automatically had access to the eTexts on the first day of class through My-UW Madison. Student participants were able to read, highlight, and annotate their eTexts via browsers on computers, tablets, and smartphones and also on free apps for iOS and Android devices. Students had the option to print out sections of their eTexts. Students accessed their eTexts through CourseSmart accounts, which, for the purpose of this pilot, were integrated with UW Madison's identity management systems. Level 1 support was provided for pilot participants by the UW Help Desk and more advanced technical support was provided by the CourseSmart vendor.
Campus sponsors were Joanne Berg, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management; Chris Olsen, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning; Ed Van Gemert, Interim Director of Libraries; Linda Jorn, DoIT Academic Technology Director; Bruce Maas, CIO and Vice Provost for Information Technology.
Goals of the Pilot
Goals for the third pilot were similar to the first two, but with broader application and more specific use of the eText tools:
- Evaluate student attitudes towards using eTexts, impact on student learning and cost savings for students.
- Work with CourseSmart to help make eTexts accessible.
- Learn what enterprise technology support is needed for campus-wide eText efforts.
- Recommend a sustainable University of Wisconsin – Madison business plan that shapes an eText publisher model(s) that is most advantageous to students.
Growth in eReader devices and tablets is changing the way books and textbooks are consumed by the masses. As students bring them to campus, expectations grow for the University and textbook publishers to make course content e-Reader friendly. In addition, eTexts may offer new ways students to use textbooks since they are more portable than print textbooks and enable note taking in digital formats, and note-sharing between students and instructors.
These eText pilots exemplify the work UW-Madison and peer institutions are doing to prepare for the shift from print to digital textbooks and content. By participating in these pilots, UW-Madison is part of a group effort to influence the pricing, accessibility, and delivery methods for eTexts in the future. We are also helping to shape the role eTexts play in teaching and learning.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries, questions and feedback.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did you do a third pilot?
A: While the first two pilots allowed us to gauge student opinions about using an eText in a single course, we wanted to study whether those perceptions changed when students were using them in multiple courses.
Q: Who is participating in this latest UW-Madison eText pilot?
A: 98 students.
Q: What did the pilot cost?
A: The first pilot cost $20,000. The second cost the same, plus additional assistive resources. The third cost $27,500. The University paid for each. There was no cost to the student or faculty participants.
Q: What will you study to determine effectiveness?
A: This pilot will enable nearly 100 students to become experienced using a single eText platform for several of their semester textbooks. We will ask students which features, based on their experience, make for an ideal eText experience and which were least beneficial. We will also ask what they would be willing to pay for the same eTexts.
Q: Where does the student data go and how is it used?
A: CourseSmart is not able to share any user information with a third party and all data obtained by CourseSmart remains the property of the participating institution.