- New data for the 2016-17 school year released by Indiana University shows over 40,000 students used at least one of the university's e-Texts during the academic year, netting a total of $3.5 million in savings compared to traditional textbook prices.
- The numbers mark a 56% growth for the program, which is the product of direct partnerships between the institution and publishers for digital course materials, and 88,000 titles from over 25 publishers are available for instructors to choose from.
- The university says the program is part of a larger effort to lower its cost of attendance while raising the quality of education, with course materials delivered to students' devices before classes start.
While Indiana University appears to be seeing success with its e-Text program, a recent survey from the Campus Computing Project raised concerns that faculty reluctance may slow digital adoption in higher ed overall. In that survey, under 50% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that digital materials significantly added value over print.
It's worth considering that when going digital, it's also important to do more than just offer students a static PDF copy of a traditional text or handouts — a frequently-voiced concern in the K-12 crowd particularly. New models of teaching made possible by digital transitions favor an active, dynamic learning experience as opposed to the "sage on a stage" model of old, in which an instructor simply lectures at students from the front of the class. K-12 students acclimated to such an experience will likely expect it in higher ed, as well. But that, too, comes with its own challenges and concerns due to the increased demands on instructors that can result.