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Austin Peay Tests Day One Access to E-Books

college student holding textbooks

This summer, Tennessee's Austin Peay State University is piloting a program to put textbooks in the hands of students from the first day of class. The institution is testing out Barnes & Noble College's "First Day" in 10 of its courses. The program delivers e-books to a class learning management system, making the curriculum available by day one of the course and automatically adding the cost of the digital book to the student's tuition bill.

Students are guaranteed to have the right materials on time at deeply discounted pricing, accessible with single sign-on.

The institution estimated that students participating in the pilot would save more than $10,000 collectively, which could rise to $120,000 for the fall semester. Students may also choose to opt out of the program or access print versions of textbooks through the bookstore.

Chad Brooks, APSU associate provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, said he hopes to expand the program across campus in 2020. "As information dissemination becomes more freely available, open source free digital textbooks are becoming increasingly available and approaching the high standard of much more expensive textbooks," he noted, in a campus article about the project.

The program grew out of a task force convened to address textbook affordability. The group met with members of the faculty, vendors and campus bookstore management.

The First Day approach "will help drive affordability and accessibility, ensuring students are ready to begin learning on the first day of class," said Bookstore Manager Shonte Cadwallader. "This is a game-changer. I think you're going to see more of this."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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