eTexts: A Perishable Opportunity for Higher Education?


What role, if any, should colleges and universities play in the shift from print to digital textbooks (eTexts)? One perspective is that eTexts are a consumer transaction between a publisher and student, and institutions need not be involved. Another perspective is that volume licensing by institutions can dramatically reduce the costs to students and improve the terms through a business-to-business negotiation. Likewise, what software is needed? Do institutions want a common software platform for eText reading and annotation, or are four different software systems to read five eTexts just fine for a freshman?

This EDUCAUSE Live! program will address the strategic, business, and policy implications for institutions in light of a changing world of consumer electronics and new models for digital educational resources such as eTexts, website tutorials, and other licensed content. As price points and terms begin to solidify in 2012, there may be a perishable opportunity to set an eText strategy that reduces the cost of higher education while serving the interests of students and faculty.

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