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SBU Participating in eTextbook and iPad Pilot Programs

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The Division of Information Technology is leading the way to help Stony Brook explore the viability of etextbooks and iPads in teaching and learning. This fall approximately 12 classes with close to 1,600 students will participate in the EDUCAUSE/Internet2 eText Pilot for colleges and universities nationwide, while the Physical Therapy program’s Class of 2015 (65 students) is beginning a pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of iPads in teaching and learning.

The EDUCAUSE/Internet2 eText Pilot is being conducted in partnership with McGraw-Hill Education and Courseload. Stony Brook is among more than 25 colleges and universities participating. Stony Brook students involved will access their books through Blackboard where etexts will be available to them at no additional cost. Students can print up to 50 pages at a time or order a custom printing of the entire book at a greatly reduced rate. The pilot aims to advance a new model for the purchase, distribution and use of electronic textbooks and digital course materials, departing from current etext practices in three key ways:

• it replaces individual purchases by students with site licenses negotiated and funded by campuses

• it replaces paper textbooks owned by students with electronic materials licensed for use in specific classes

• it uses an ereader not associated with a specific publisher

Based on the pilot, EDUCAUSE, Internet2 and the participating institutions will assess the appeal and scalability of the new model, and especially how the model supports lowering the cost of educational materials. The pilot will help higher education progress toward adoption of more cost-effective procurement of electronic class materials, which are in turn much less expensive than their print predecessors.

Students and faculty in participating courses will use McGraw-Hill Education eBooks and digital learning material, as well as the Courseload reader and annotation software, which allows content to be delivered directly through Stony Brook’s Blackboard learning management system.

The Fall 2012 pilot expands upon a more limited experiment involving the University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a successful earlier effort at Indiana University. These initial efforts both demonstrated the appeal of the new model — more than 100,000 online pages read, with almost none printed — and virtually no negative reaction from students or instructors.

In a parallel project, each member of the Physical Therapy program’s Class of 2015 has been loaned an Apple tablet for the duration of their physical therapy studies at Stony Brook University. The hope is that the iPad’s mobility and flexibility will be taken full advantage of by this particular student population, allowing them to have access to tools they need wherever they go. Applications being experimented with include Flash Cards, Web-based data organizers, class notes and anatomy applications.

For more information about these two pilot programs, please contact Chuck Powell, Interim Chief Information Officer.

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