Pilots try to lower textbook costs

Pilot projects to lower textbook costs — including e-books, rentals and open education resources (OER) — are underway at colleges and universities across the nation, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Lynn University bought iPad minis for incoming freshmen and plans to offer nine introductory courses through Apple’s digital course manager, iTunes U.

“Essentially, our goal is to get rid of all textbooks in our core curriculum,” said Chris Boniforti, the university’s chief information officer. “Without getting myself in too much trouble, I’d like for that to happen next year.”

Given Apple’s tendency to update its tablets about once a year, Boniforti said students will be able to upgrade to the newest model once their iPad has turned two years old. Upperclassmen interested in the courses can also rent an iPad for $100 — less than the cost of the textbook. If a student breaks the iPad, whether by accident or not, the university will repair it and issue a rental in the meantime.

Other universities are trying open-source textbooks, such as Rice University’s OpenStax College, a nonprofit publisher, and the University of Minnesota’s open textbook catalog.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON September 6, 2013

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