The University of Minnesota (including the Office of eLearning) is continuing to explore the feasibility of providing texts and course materials in electronic format through the Provost’s e-Text Task Force co-chaired by Bob Crabb (Director, University Bookstore) and Brad Cohen (Associate CIO).
Spring 2012 Pilot
In Spring 2012, the University of Minnesota partnered with Cornell University, Indiana University, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin, and Internet 2 in a rapid eText pilot. About 700 University of Minnesota students participated. The effort was led by Indiana University (IU), which initiated a formal eText pilot in 2009.
This initiative offered a comprehensive approach in the shift from print to digital texts by bringing together key players:
- IU began a faculty-led research study of eText use in fall 2009.
- Trial courses spanned a range of disciplines and included classes at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, professional) in both face-to-face and distance delivery modes.
- In September 2011, IU announced eText deals with major publishers and a common software platform.
- Over 150 IU course sections used eTexts for the January 2012 semester.
- The program was made available to other R1 institutions during the Spring 2012 semester. The University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of California - Berkeley, University of Virginia, and Cornell University participated.
- See IU's eText website for details.
- Indiana University: spearheaded the initiative, shares training and support materials.
- McGraw-Hill: provided eTextbooks, works with campus sponsors to promote their use.
- Courseload: provided eReader/annotation software, which integrates with Moodle and other course management systems.
- Internet2 Net+: handled contracts with publishers and Courseload.
- Participating schools: identified faculty participants, manage the process on their campus, share results of pilot; may opted in to a faculty-led, IRB-approved research study and receive a timely summary and raw data at the end of the semester.
Former Provost Tom Sullivan authorized the initiative and funded the U's $20,000 participation fee. Former Vice Provost Billie Wahlstrom and Vice Provost Bob McMaster served as executive sponsors and a project management team was constituted to address timelines, deliverables, challenges, risks, and metrics.