CNI Fall 2012 – What we’re learning from e-text pilots

What we’re learning from e-text

Joan Cheverie, EDUCAUSE
Rodney Petersen, EDUCAUSE
Jarrett Cummings, EDUCAUSE

Educause and Internet2 pilot – Spring 2013 eContent Pilot.

Moving from print to digital, but taking it above and beyond just a PDF of a print text. Want to explore innovative business models.

Funding and Distribution – Institutional agreements: College or univeristy pays; leverage institutional buying power; software site license is a model. Distribution to students: access via LMS; Option to purchase print-on-demand; institutional choice on cost recovery.

Stakeholders – Institution, faculty, students, bookstores, IT/libraries, eReaders, publishers. eReaders are increasingly open and part of what publishers offer or have agreements with.

Additional functionality: Highlighting passages, recording comments, sharing notes with other students, reading while offline, using different devices.

Methods – student survey, faculty research protocol, usage data.
Spring 2012 results – option to purchase paper copy (12%), lower cost of etext most important factor, portability also ranked high, offline access desirable, access throughout college, not just class, usability of eReader (especially zoom feature), faculty not using enhanced eText features.

Affordability – Textbook costs and their impact. Licensing e-texts directly could reduce college costs by 4%. For a $100 textbook, direct license cost could be $40, while buying it through the bookstore could cost $67. International survey found 77% reported that they do not always buy textbook for their course, with affordability being a prime concern.

Broadband access – Need to have access offline to texts as well as online.

Information Policy issues – Ownership – what you can do with the book once you own it, but in a licensing environment it’s different. What happens to fair use? DRM – some systems don’t allow printing or cut & paste. Preservation – long term preservation rights are not the norm. The only way to insure permanent access is download without DRM. Favorable licensing should include broad academic use, perpetual use right, DRM-free formats.

Accessibility – E-text pilots and the NFB. Minnesota was part of the first pilot, and their disability student services office evaluated the Courseload e-reader distributing McGraw Hill Education content. Found that Courseload was essentially unusable by people with visual problems. That report was made public as part of the pilot. NFB sent a letter saying that the pilot was a violation of the ADA. Minnesota’s findings had motivated Courseload to make substantive changes, planned for January 2013. Educause helped facilitate conversations between Courseload, McGraw Hill and NFB. Content remains key. Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Material in Postsecondary Education for STudents with Disabilities (The AIM Commission) – did a report to Congress, finding that etext publishers were making progress and epub 3 offered possibilities for accessibility, the materials currently in the market have problems. Encouraged adoption of standards for the federal government. CourseSmart says that 80% of their upcoming spring texts are accessible and they have accommodation processes for those that aren’t. The NFB is going to take a look at their offerings.

Privacy and Security – Lots of data analytics about interactions with electronic texts. That’s both good and bad. Materials reside on third parties, and publishers have access to data – what do they do with that? The pilot project has contractual language that prohibits use of data beyond the pilot. Most ereaders are accessible via web browser, so browser security is an issue.

Identity & Access management. Concern about multiple user names and passwords, or sharing passwords. The pilot uses the LMS, so don’t need a separate credential. But the future is in leveraging federation to use local credentials.



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