eText Pilot – Part IV

eText Pilot Evaluation Reports

Pilot IV (not yet available)
Pilot III, spring 2013
Pilot II, fall 2012
Pilot I, spring 2012

E-Books cheaper but with drawbacks

This opinion piece by the Daily Cardinal provides a good analysis of the pros and cons of e-books.

E-Content: Opportunity and Risk

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.

eText Pilots

The UW-Madison is in the midst of its fourth semester-long study on the use of eTexts on our campus. Three of these initiatives were undertaken as part of the NET+ E-Content pilots organized by Internet2/Educause. The fourth pilot is entirely UW-organized, although similar to open eText initiatives at other universities.  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 fourth UW-Madison eText pilot, called eTexts: Adopt, Remix, Create, will provide support to campus instructors who want to find better textbook options for their students. In this pilot, instructors will create their own eTexts and blend together interactive media, digital articles, and other materials to create fresher textbook content that is customized for their courses. Participating faculty will complete their project for a course that will be offered by Spring 2015. This initiative is being piloted by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW Libraries. Details on the fourth pilot are found on this Libraries site.


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.