Online universities continue to see some of the largest adoption of digital course materials. Such institutions have distinct advantages for this shift, due to standardized curriculums, centralized course decisions, and primarily distance/commuter population to name a few. These advantages also make it easier for institutions whose classes are primarily online to negotiate institutional licensing arrangements for content--something that is more complicated and much higher risk for traditional academic institutions.
A recent article in Campus Technology underscores this pattern, reporting that Western Governors University, a well-recognized institution with largely online classes, has started to adopt digital textbooks into their curriculum. Like many of their for-profit counterparts, the cost of the digital course materials is included in student’s tuition and fees charged by the university. Students can then access digital titles through their existing university accounts. Approximately 15,000 students have used about 130 distinct e-texts through CourseSmart, and half of the university’s 350 courses are currently using the new delivery service according to university officials.