NET+ eContent: FAQ
Internet2 and EDUCAUSE Partner To Deliver eContent Pilot
at Colleges and Universities Nationwide, Fall 2012
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Are we eligible to participate if we are an EDUCAUSE school but not a member of Internet2?
Yes, you are eligible to participate in the pilot program.
What does the "fee" ($20,000 or $35,000) provide? Does it provide the devices for the students?
It provides McGraw Hill eContent and the Courseload e-reader software for 20 sections/800 students or 40 sections/1600 students. The fee does not provide for the devices (laptops, tablets, etc) that the faculty/students use to access the eContent. Note: Neither EDUCAUSE nor Internet2 keep any of this money; it is disbursed by Internet2 to the providers of the e-reader and eContent.
What e-reader are you using: iPad, Android, or other?
We are using the Courseload e-reader which is HTML5 based and can be accessed on just about any devices with a browser.
Does the Campus Bookstore play a major role in this pilot as it is currently structured?
Currently the campus bookstore has no role in this pilot.
Our campus bookstore is Follett, and they apparently have an exclusivity clause in their contract with us that prohibits us from using any e-reader other than theirs (Cafe Scribe). Does that mean we can't participate?
It is possible that since this is a limited, research based pilot (a research study is included if desired) it falls outside the language and the spirit of the contract with Follett.
Will the central IT areas need to work with the students accounts area or Bursar to manage the billing process and coordinate with the faculty and department chairs to manage the communication process with the students?
It is believed that the central IT areas will not need to work with the student account areas to manage the billing process. This pilot is based on the institution providing a flat fee (of either $20K or $35K) that subsidizes the costs for the students. Individual students do not pay any fees under the pilot.
For every class participating with this program is it an "all or nothing" solution? In other words, where eContent under this program is adopted, will the entire class participate with this eContent option?
Whether or not every class involved in the pilot is an "all or nothing" solution would be up to the individual institution.
If a student wants to purchase or rent a printed text or print a portion of the electronic text, would that be outside this program for an additional cost?
The pilot does allow full printing of eContent at no additional cost. Also, students can purchase a low-cost POD version of the eContent for an additional fee if desired.
Will this program create a "digital divide" in which students from a low socioeconomic background do not have the same access to the technology necessary to use the resource as students from a more well-to-do background?
In a situation in which a student cannot afford a laptop or tablet device, they still have the option of printing out the eContent for free.
Regarding the POD option, this is very helpful information. When you say "no cost" I assume you mean no added royalty fee to the publisher, but the student (or someone) would still need to pay the printing cost or sell the low-cost POD version. Consideration for how this printing/POD will take place and be paid for then needs to be taken into account in the plans?
When we say printing at no cost, we mean that a student can print out the eContent personally (on their own personal printer, at a computer lab, etc.) at no additional fee. In this pilot, the student can print out specific chapters of interest or literally print out the entire eContent if desired. The "low cost" POD would be a separate transaction that the student would enter into with the publisher or a contracted 3rd party. In the POD scenario, the student would receive a complete printed version of the textbook for approximately $20-$30.
How will the flat fee be managed on a larger scale? With all the institutional budget pressures everyone is facing these days, absorbing a new course materials fee at the center will be difficult when the program goes beyond a small pilot?
The flat fee is only an arrangement for the pilot being offered by I2 and EDUCAUSE. It is designed to provide a simple, low-cost eContent pilot for an institution so that each institution doesn't need to worry about contract negotiation, arranging a fee gathering process, billing students, etc., as all of those items take additional time and resources to implement.
In effect, if there isn't a billing function to pass through this cost to the individual user, the institution will have to bear the cost for an item, which is currently funded a la carte by each student when they buy or rent a text or e-text. This is a financial reality that will need to be considered when scaling the pilot to production?
Once an institution is ready to move beyond a pilot phase into a larger scale eContent initiative, the institution would need to figure out how they would bill their students for the cost of the content as I doubt that an institution could simply keep subsidizing the costs for students at scale. For example, IU has set up an eContent fee that charges each individual student in an eContent section for the cost of the content. There is no large flat fee that IU pays the publisher.
When a student takes notes in his or her eContent, can those notes be downloaded and archived by the student to use after the course?
Students can print out their notes and export them for archiving purposes.
If I highlight in my eContent, can I copy and paste those highlights into my notes?
The highlights will show up in the notes section of the software, so no need to copy and paste.
If the eContent is in my major and I want to retain access to the textbook, what are my options? Is it best to purchase a print copy? Do you know if the POD book paper is archival quality?
Best option for this pilot would be POD or printing the book yourself. The POD is of reasonable quality. It is certainly not equal to a hardback, glossy paged, full color textbook, but it is clearly readable and looks like a professional copy (it does not look like someone photocopied the book).
Will the bookstore sell used print copies of eContent?
That choice is made by each individual bookstore.
Can faculty members customize the actual text in addition to adding multimedia materials and annotations?
Yes, the faculty can add links to multimedia, annotations, highlights, and notes. Those resources will be immediately propagated in each student's eContent.
What has been the student response at IU to the eContent project?
We have seen the highest level of positive response in the classes where faculty truly utilized the software in their teaching. You can take a look at the Internet2 eTextbook Spring 2012 Pilot Final Project Report (PDF).
Will you or have you gathered data as to how students choose to interact with their course materials and in what subject areas and whether there is any impact on their course performance?
Yes, that data should be available at the end of the semester for the institutions to share if they wish.
Are faculty on your campus also using open textbooks as eContent in their courses?
We believe that some faculty are using their own faculty created content through the Courseload software, but we are not personally aware if a true open textbook is being used.
Have any major publishers signed on to participate in the pilot?
For the moment, McGraw-Hill is the only publisher and all of their eContent. (See McGraw-Hill Higher Education portfolio.)
Is Internet2 or EDUCAUSE (or any participating campus or sponsoring institution or individual associated with the pilot) receiving any payments, equity positions, or future payments from or equity in any of the publishers or e-reader providers associated with the pilot?
No. Internet2 and EDUCAUSE are contributing all staff work on the pilot and are not receiving any payments. All revenues from the pilot are divided between the e-reader provider and the publisher(s), as their contracts with Internet2 provide. In many cases the revenue from the participating schools may not fully cover the cost of the pilot program for the e-reader or publishers. In previous engagements with individual campuses, the platform provider for this particular pilot, Courseload, agreed to provide some rebates back in the form of scholarships, reimbursement for promotional expenses, and so on. Such rebates are NOT part of this pilot. One of Courseload's original investments came from State of Indiana's 21st Century Fund. Both Courseload and McGraw-Hill are EDUCAUSE corporate members. Regardless of these connections, for this pilot no funds or equity are being provided to Internet2, EDUCAUSE, Indiana, Indiana University, or any individual associated with the pilot directly or indirectly.
How are the publishers selected?
Numerous publishers were approached by the project team and offered the opportunity to participate in the pilot on common terms. While there is significant interest in working with our community, many of the publishers were uncertain how to accommodate such a program without impacting their existing business models. We have been clear that the program is not intended to set a permanent price point or to require a change in other business engagements, but rather focuses on exploring new delivery mechanisms. The tight time frame to achieve a fall rollout has made it difficult for some publishers and e-reader providers to participate.
How was the platform selected?
This pilot builds on work within a small group of Internet2 schools that previously conducted a pilot with Courseload and McGraw-Hill. We expect additional platform providers to join future pilots, which likely will explore different business models and delivery tools from the current pilot's, as well as expanded content from more publishers. Those agreements have not yet been reached, since planning for the next pilot will not begin until we've completed enrolling participants in the current one.
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