Thursday, March 31, 2011

ASU, Michigan Test Ways to Work with Digital Texts

Putting e-textbooks into the hands of faculty members may be an avenue to wider acceptance of digital course materials. A Campus Technology article highlights efforts at Arizona State University, Tempe, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to that end.

ASU adopted the CourseSmart Faculty Instant Access program, which allows instructors access to course material to review without waiting for delivery of the printed copy. The program also provides multiple text versions for faculty to consider through a cross-book searching function. Faculty can order e-textbooks through the school’s My ASU information portal and, as soon as an adoption has been made, the e-textbook is available for purchase through the CourseSmart web site.

In Ann Arbor, a working group made up of personnel from the library, Office of the Registrar, Information and Technology Services, and Instructional Support Services is testing a program that integrates digital titles directly into the university’s learning management system. The group is conducting surveys and focus groups to learn about student and instructor expectations and experiences with e-books throughout the semester, and then report to campus leaders on e-book implementation.

Additionally, users are able to access the digital material from any computer or browser-based mobile device. There are also iPhone and iPad apps, and users with vision disabilities can download customized versions.

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