Thursday, January 15, 2009
Northwest Missouri State University expands e-textbook program
Last semester, Northwest Missouri State University began an e-textbook pilot program which allowed professors in four disciplines and about 250 students to test out Sony PRS 505 e-readers loaded with McGraw Hill electronic textbooks. This semester, the university has expanded the program by purchasing e-textbooks for about 500 students that can be downloaded onto their laptops while an additional 3,000 students will have the option to purchase the e-textbooks. Additionally, a smaller group of students will test out the newer version of the Sony e-reader the PRS 700. According to a recent article, the university decided to focus this semester’s pilot on laptops because they currently provide more interactivity than the e-readers. However, students could see an improvement this semester because the Sony PRS 700 offers increased interactivity compared to the earlier version. A second article explains that the university plans to expand their program to eventually eliminate all printed textbooks and expects that this will occur in about three year’s time. Dean L. Hubbard, President of the university commented, "We’ll move as fast as the industry moves and they’re moving very rapidly." Jeffrey Ho, a product manager for McGraw-Hill Education noted, "Right now, digital products account for a small percent of our higher education business, but it is growing at a rate that is breathtaking."