This blog is dedicated to the topics of Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education. it is intended as an information source for the college store industry, or anyone interested in how course materials are changing. Suggestions for discussion topics or news stories are welcome.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

News from OhioLINK's eText program

I do not recall off-hand if I have posted information on OhioLINK's eText program previously, but this is an initiative to watch. The eText Project is similar to California State University's Digital Marketplace, which emphasizes affordability, accessibility and choice for students. The OhioLINK program is focused on affordability and the affect on student outcomes.

OhioLINK's initiative has been very interesting. I have not found a good weblink with more information about the program, although here is a link to a related news story. We have been in discussions with their program leaders since first becoming aware of the initiative over a year ago. However, things have been heating up lately, with pressure from Chancellor Fingerhut's office and new pending legislation that would mandate e-books at colleges and universities across Ohio. The first such legislation we are aware of to date.

Using an experimental design, Ohio's first semester pilots demonstrated no difference in student classroom outcomes based on the use of digital or print course materials. The digital materials appear to be less expensive, but the model looks more like digital rental than digital ownership. With successful first round pilots completed, and more underway, Ohio moves ahead of California in terms of providing a digital content solution for the higher education classroom environment. So, as Ohio goes, so too may go the rest of the country, as many states are certainly watching this initiative very closely, as are we.

There will be a symposium in a few weeks (Apr 29th) held in Columbus where OhioLINK and the Chancellor's plans will be discussed in greater detail. Several college stores and NACS have been invited to attend and participate. There does appear to be genuine interest in having the stores be part of the final solution. That, of course, requires stores to step up to the plate, and quickly. Several stores have already done so, and this initiative will affect nearly all college stores operating in the state of Ohio over the next few years -- whether public, private or contract managed.

More news and information on this topic will appear in future postings.

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