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Internet2 and Educause To Kick Off Electronic Content Pilot Project

Internet2 and Educause have introduced a new electronic content pilot project for higher education targeted for a spring 2013 launch. Announced this week at the Educause 2012 conference in Denver, CO, the pilot gives schools a chance to explore nontraditional educational materials, such as electronic textbooks, and gives content providers an opportunity to try out new business models.

The pilot project involves content providers Courseload, CourseSmart, Elsevier Science and Technology, and McGraw-Hill Education, and organizers said they expect more than 20 colleges and universities from across the country to participate.

The two main goals of the pilot are to "advance the higher education community's understanding of online materials," so they can figure out how to meet or exceed the educational outcomes associated with traditional textbooks, and to "explore innovative business models, terms, and conditions" that make digital educational materials effective and economical for both institutions and publishers, according to Internet2 and Educause. The pilot project will also document lessons learned as part of a collaborative research effort and share the results with the higher education community.

Participating educational institutions will select one of three package options, each of which offers two or three tiers of service. Students and faculty will receive the electronic materials through an institutional license for all content, rather than through individual purchases by students.

Package options include:

  • Package A, which offers a newer version of Courseload's e-reader and access to McGraw-Hill Education's Courseload eText portfolio;
  • Package B, which offers access to Elsevier's Science and Technology text and has no optional extras; and
  • Package C, which allows up to 20 educational institutions to participate in a trial of the CourseSmart Subscription Pack.

"With its increasingly diverse group of participants and content packages, this pilot enables us to explore a broader range of issues related to eContent implementation and adoption," said Greg Jackson, vice president of Educause, in a prepared statement. "As findings from the pilots become available, we expect that they will enable electronic textbooks to make higher education more effective and affordable."

Internet2 and Educause will discuss the pilot project during the "Educause and Internet E-Text Initiative: Lessons Learned and Looking Forward," session at the Educause 2012 conference in Denver Nov. 8.

Additional information about the spring 2013 pilot project is available on the Internet2 site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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