On Friday, 11/4, I attended a meeting in Versailles on eTextbooks: "Today's Textbook--Tomorrow's Digital Future Quality and Costs: An Aim toward Affordable Education." The even consisted of 20 min. presentations from a variety different eTextbook vendors:
--KY Learning Depot
---Barnes and Noble
Some major themes I heard over and over included:
--eTextbooks are significantly cheaper--as much as 50%.
--eTextbooks give students instant access to course materials.
--eTextbooks provide the functionality of a computer. Students and instructors can share notes and comments easily. eBooks provide multimedia (audio and video) and other functionality like flashcards, practice tests, etc. Instructors can "add" chapters and other content to their eTextbook.
--Some eTextbooks can be integrated with Bb and provide a single sign on solution...when students log into Bb, they have access to their textbooks.
Some items that struck me:
--Barnes and Noble really is pushing Nook Study--their eReader software (Note: this is different from the Nook eReader they sell that completes with Kindle). I was pleased to Nook Study connects to Merlot and other open source content. Faculty can make notes in the textbooks that are shared across the all student textbooks. And students can "annotate" text. The big downside: the software is restricted to a PC and will not run on mobile devices like smart phones, iPads, or even eReaders like Nook and Kindle. More at www.nookstudy.com/college.
--Cengage's Four Letter Press (4LTR) offers both eTexbooks along with a paper companion. They are sold in a one stop shopping experience for textbooks. 75+ titles.
--I would like to see more cross platform solutions. E.g. Amazon's eBooks can be read on a Kindle, an iPad, an iPhone, an Android phone, a Windows PC and a Mac. I'm not necessarily seeing that _yet_ in these educational solutions.
--Elsevier offers eContent to support nursing and allied health programs and provides Bb support, too _and_ an iPad app.
--Flatworld Knowledge does appear to be pretty cross platform. They allow much of their content to be viewed for free online and make money by selling print books and eBooks for PDF, iPad, Kindle. They also let books be read through Nook Study. I like some aspects of this model.
--KY Learning Depot is repository for open textbooks and other content. They are also trying to do bulk purchasing of educational content much in the same way the KYVL offers content.
--MacMillan/Bedford St. Martins/Worth/W. H. Freeman/Hayden McNeil offers ebooks.
--McGraw-Hill recently released McGraw-Hill Campus, a cross platform eReader with Bb functionality. McGraw-Hill Create allows instructors to customize content. Their Connect platform allows for powerful data analysis of student success rates. ALEKS is AI software that assesses student knowledge of a topic (esp. math) and connects students to textbook content.
--HippoCampus and NROC. Grant funded for "open educational resources" including open source textbooks. National Repository of Online Courses offers lots of great content and support for creating online classes. In addition to textbooks, there's lots of great, free audio and video content.
--Pearson eBooks are supported on the iPad, the Pearson eText.
--Walters Klewer is Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a health-science publisher. More at www.vitalsource.com.
--I would like to see more cross platform solutions. E.g. Amazon's eBooks can be read on a Kindle, an iPad, an iPhone, an Android phone, a Windows PC and a Mac. I'm not necessarily seeing that _yet_ in these educational solutions...although some are coming close.
--I am looking forward to a the moment when my annotations, notes, and even audio and video can be imbedded in a "textbook" so that my commentary is available to my students.