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Indiana U Students Save $3.5 Million Through Digital Textbook Program

Indiana University (IU) is out with a numbers update for its eText initiative that delivers digital course materials to students: In the 2016-17 academic year, IU students saved an estimated $3.5 million more than what they would have otherwise spent on traditional programs, according to a campus official. The program uses an inclusive-access model that delivers digital course materials directly to students in time for their first day of class. More than 40,000 IU students purchased at least one digital textbook through the initiative in the same academic year.

The university launched eText as a pilot in 2009. IU partnered with more than 20 higher ed publishers to drive costs down, while expanding catalogs and providing more options for teachers and students. Most importantly, IU’s initiative goes beyond delivering course materials — it includes digital study tools that provide personalized, adaptive learning experiences. IU eTexts are powered by Unizin’s Engage e-reading platform, which integrates with IU’s Canvas learning management system. Students and faculty are making extensive use of these tools, with more than 100,000 annotations in March alone.

Professor Nancy Evans, who teaches computer information technology at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, said in an IU statement that she likes the fact that students receive their course materials before day one of class. “I do a lot of active learning in my courses, and if you don’t have the textbook, you can’t really participate. eTexts help each student — and the whole class — get the most out of teaching and learning.”

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