California State University at Northridge (CSUN) invited 1,800 of its students to join its MyCSUNtablet Initiative, a pilot program designed to cut textbook costs on campus.
Student volunteers are able to access e-texts, apps, and other learning materials after buying an iPad through a CSUN partnership with Apple or using a device they already happen to own. The program is offering classes in seven CSUN majors and will be assessed on how well the devices and digital course materials help students learn.
“What we want to do is get out of the grasp of the publishers of this stuff,” CSUN Provost Harry Hellenbrand told the Los Angeles Daily News. “I figure our bookstore will disappear in 10 years, with the money deferred to portable devices and service contracts.”
CSUN officials say students will only need to take three classes to break even on the cost of the iPad assuming professors design and furnish free digital course materials. They also suggest e-books are available for purchase for $12-$15, although that is not always the case.
“No, no, no. We’ll never get rid of the bookstore,” countered Paul Schwantz, director or web and tech services at the school. “We will always need CSUN sweaters. I think some of the books will be around for a long time as well, because some people always want books.”
Not to mention the program directs students to the Matador Bookstore to purchase their iPads.