Mike Silagadze isn’t shy about his desire to take market share from the largest college textbook publishers through his classroom software company Top Hat. He believes his company’s brand of digital textbooks beats anything Pearson, McGraw-Hill and their ilk can provide.
Founded in 2009, Top Hat claims that 2.7 million students access its digital course materials, including those at 750 of the top 1,000 higher education institutions in North America.
Silagadze believes younger faculty members and future generations of college students will help drive institutions to adopt digital materials instead of print.
Top Hat has challenged tangible goods for a long time now. Its first offering was a digital version of clickers to measure student responses in the classroom. In 2017, the company launched a marketplace for e-textbooks, working with authors and offering openly licensed content from the likes of OpenStax as well.
Last year, the company ceased sales of individual assessment tools to instead offer a bundle of its products. Students pay $48 for one year of Top Hat’s products. Interactive textbooks on Top Hat cost an average of $35.
But more technology doesn’t always mean better results. Within K-12 learning environments, the digital divide means that students in low-income and rural households have less access to reliable internet and fewer connected deviceson which to complete the online portions of their homework. And while Pearson’s initiative applies only to textbooks in higher ed, the shift to digital has implications at the collegiate level as well.
Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis. According to a 2018 Babson College survey, faculty awareness of OER jumped from 34 percent to 46 percent since 2015.
One of OER’s leading proponents is OpenStax, a nonprofit based out of Rice University that offers a few dozen free textbooks, covering everything from AP Biology to Principles of Accounting. In the 2019–2020 academic year, 2.7 million students across 6,600 institutions used an OpenStax product instead of a for-profit equivalent.
The knock against OER is that, well, you get what you pay for. “One faculty member told me only half-jokingly, that OER is like a puppy that’s free. You get the free puppy, but then you have to do all the work,” says Cengage’s Hansen, who argues that traditional publishers provide critical supporting materials, like assessment questions, that OER often lacks, and can push more regular updates.
By virtue of being free, OER materials also heavily skew toward digital, with hardcover as a secondary option. (Or you can download the PDF and print it out yourself.) The same caveats about efficacy apply. But at least OER doesn’t lock you into one digital platform, the way the major publishers do. OpenStax alone counts around 50 ecosystem partners to provide homework and testing support.
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Or you could always split the difference.
That’s the territory Cengage wants to stake out. Late last summer, the educational publishing behemoth—it announced a planned merger with McGraw Hill in May; the combined company would surpass all but Pearson in market capitalization—rolled out Cengage Unlimited, a “Netflix for Textbooks” model that rolls all textbook rentals and digital platform access into a single rate: $120 for a semester, $180 for a full year, or $240 for two years. Almost a year in, the US-only program has a million subscribers.
it’s taken a long time for textbook publishers to own up to the “fundamental flaw” of their industry: “They are obsessed with counting their gross margins on the things they actually do sell.” And, he added, they ignore the enormous amounts they lose through the other 75 percent of the market made up of used and rented books and other kinds of substitutes. Because of those blinders, the publishers have “long pursued a model that has been failing, year over year.”
Second, students are “increasingly digital.” They’re “comfortable with interacting with digital information [and] electronically marking it up.” After all, he noted, “some of them went through high school with digital books and materials.”
Third, familiarity is growing among faculty too. “They see e-texts not just as a substitute for paper, but as a teaching and pedagogical tool. They can go in and annotate that paragraph in the textbook and point to classroom materials or go online and correct something,
Fourth, the printed textbook-first philosophy has stopped paying off for publishers.
The three biggies — Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Cengage — weren’t first in line to sign on, even as additional universities piled onto Indiana U’s project. As a result, their reticence to promote textbook alternatives hit their bottom lines. Eventually, Pearson’s shares took a hit, hovering currently around $8; McGraw-Hill’s education division was peeled off and sold to Apollo Global Management in 2013; and just months later Cengage filed for bankruptcy, emerging a year later with $4 billion less debt.
Once students register with iFlipd, they can rent digital textbooks for as little as a week. Once they finish using a book, they can move it back into the digital catalogue, making it available to other students. There is a loyalty program that gives points toward free rentals.
iFlipd is also integrated with Datalogics and its interactive Active Textbook e-book system so that students have sharing capabilities. They can share notes on the texts through the platform and access notes made by previous users of the same textbooks. The note-sharing platform allows for highlighting, annotations, audio, video and search.
purpose: draft a document for the provost to plan for charting the future goal 3.12 “develop a comprehensive strategy to increase awareness and development of e-textbooks and open educational resources (OERs)”
SCSU goal: to reduce the cost of textbooks as an affordable learning initiative. Amount of reduction is undetermined
According to Bossaler et al (2014), it might be worth considering that SCSU (MnSCU?) must go first through implementing of e-text[books] in courses first by using publisher materials and then by using “in-house” produce. At this point, SCSU does NOT have an aligned policy of integrating e-texts in courses across campus. Lack of such experience might make a strategy for adoption of e-textbooks much more complex and difficult to implement
stats are colored in green for convenience. Stats regarding the increase in textbook costs are re-printed from author to author: e.g. Acker (2011, p. 42). Murey and Perez (2011, p. 49 (bottom) – 50 (up)) reports stats from 2009 and projections for 2013 regarding etexbook adotion. Same authors, p. 50 second paragraph reports good stats regarding texbooks’ price increase : US$1122 per year for textbooks in 2010.
Wimmer at al (2014) presents a lucid graphic of the structure of the publishing process (see bottom of this blog entry for citation and perm link).
Wimmer at al (2014) discusses copyright and permissions, which is of interest for this research (p. 85)
regarding in-house creation of e-textbooks, see (Distance education, e-learning, education and training, 2015). It very much follow the example of SUNY, which Keith was laying out: a team of faculty charged with creation the e-textbook for mass consumption.
Besides the SUNY model Keith is envisioning for MnSCU (comparable), there is the option of clustering OER sources: e.g. NASTA as per Horejsi (2013), CourseSmart. FlatWorld Knowledge (Murrey and Perez, 2011) etc.
Hamedi & Ezaleila (2015) present an entire etextbook program. Article has been ordered through ILL. Same with Joseph (2015).
Open Educational Resources in Acker (2015, p. 44-47). Also in Murey and Perez (2011, p. 51).
Also in ICWL (Conference) (13th : 2014 : Tallinn, E., & Cao, Y. (2014): OpenDSA
Different models of pricing also in Acker (2015, p. 48). Keith touched on that
students learn equally well from etextbooks as from paper ones: Taylor (2011)
my note: there is no good definition about e-textbook in terms of the complexity, which e-textbook on campus might involve.
Considering Wimmer et al (2014) account on their campus experience in publishing e-textbook, a textbook may involve an LMS (Canvas) and blog (WordPress). Per my proposal during the F2F meeting, and following Rachel’s suggestion about discrimination of the different types of e-textbooks, here is an outline of e-textbook definition:
working definition for e-textbook for the purposes of SCSU:
e-textbook is a compilation of textual, multimedia and interactive material, which can be viewed on various electronic devices. E-textbook can: 1. be purchased from a publisher; 2. compiled in HTML format on faculty or group web space; 3. compiled on the content module of LMS (BB, D2L, Canvas, Moodle, etc.) 4. compiled on LMS (BB, D2L, Canvas, Moodle, etc.) and including all interactive materials: e.g. hyperlinks to MediaSpace multimedia, quizzes, etc.; 5. compiled on special apps, such as iBook Author, eCub, Sigil.
(Electronic-BOOK) The electronic counterpart of a printed book, which can be viewed on a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet or e-book reader (e-reader). When traveling, a huge number of e-books can be stored in portable units, dramatically eliminating weight and volume compared to paper. Electronic bookmarks make referencing easier, and e-book readers may allow the user to annotate pages.
Although fiction and non-fiction books come in e-book formats, technical material is especially suited for e-book delivery because it can be searched. In addition, programming code examples can be copied, which is why CD-ROMs that contained examples or the entire text were often packaged inside technical paper books.
Wimmer, Morrow, & Weber: Collaboration in eTextbook Publishing
There are several e-book formats on the market, including EPUB, Mobipocket (PRC, MOBI), eReader (PDB), Kindle (AZW, KF8) and Apple iBook (EPUB variation). Many e-readers also accept generic formats, including Adobe PDF and plain text (TXT).
According to a United States Government report, textbook prices have increased at over twice the rate of inflation in the last couple of decades. According to another report, the average student spends between $700 and $1,000 per year on textbooks while the cost of e-textbooks can be as much as 50% lower than paper textbooks.
Oxford dictionary, an electronic book or e-book is “an electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.” An e-textbook is defined as an e-book used for instructional or educational purposes and often includes features such as bookmarking, searching, highlighting, and note-taking as well as built-in dictionaries and pronunciation guides, embedded video-clips, embedded hyperlinks, and animated graphics.
E-textbooks have moved from occasional usage to a mainstream technology on college campuses. According to the Association of American Publishers, sales of e-books hit over $90 million; this is up over 200% when compared to the same month the previous year. When the cost of textbooks and the availability of formats are considered, the use of an e-textbook in the classroom may be the reasonable choice.
A digital textbook is a digital book or e-book intended to serve as the text for a class. Digital textbooks may also be known as e-textbooks or e-texts. Digital textbooks are a major component of technology-based education reform. They may serve as the texts for a traditional face-to-face class, an online course or degree.
The concepts of open access and open source support the idea of open textbooks, digital textbooks that are free (gratis) and easy to distribute, modify and update https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_textbook
Exploring Students’ E-Textbook Practices in Higher Education
Authors: by Aimee Denoyelles, John Raible and Ryan Seilhamer Published: Monday, July 6, 2015. Instructional Designers, University of Central Florida
According to the United States Government Accountability Office, prices have increased 82 percent from 2002 to 2012.3This cost sometimes drives students to delay or avoid purchasing textbooks. Digital materials such as e-textbooks may offer a more cost-effective alternative.4 Also, the expectation for digital materials is gaining strength in the K–12 sector.5 For example, Florida school districts set a goal to spend at least half of classroom material funding on digital materials by the 2015–2016 school year. Given that 81 percent of first-time-in-college (FTIC) undergraduate students hailed from a Florida public high school during the fall 2014 semester at the University of Central Florida (UCF), it is important to anticipate student expectations of digital materials. Finally, the availability of digital materials has risen exponentially with the incredible popularity of mobile devices.
Despite the advantages that e-textbooks pose, such as interactive features and accessibility on mobile devices, several barriers exist regarding implementation in higher education, namely non-standardization of the platform, limited use by students, and the unclear role of the instructor in adoption.
a survey questionnaire in 2012 that explored basic usage and attitudes regarding e-textbooks.
Bossaller, J., & Kammer, J. (2014). Faculty Views on eTextbooks: A Narrative Study. College Teaching, 62(2), 68-75. doi:10.1080/87567555.2014.885877
This qualitative study gives insight into the experiences instructors have when working with publishers to integrate electronic content and technology into their courses.
Baek, E., & Monaghan, J. (2013). Journey to Textbook Affordability: An Investigation of Students’ Use of eTextbooks at Multiple Campuses. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 14(3), 1-26.
the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (2007) reported that textbook prices represent a significant barrier to students’ accessibility to textbooks. The report concluded that textbooks cost between $700-$1000 per year; textbook prices have risen much faster than other commodities; and that college aid fails to cover textbook expenses. Textbook costs are equivalent to 26% of tuition costs for an average four-year public university student and 72% of tuition costs for an average community college student. In fact, the California State Auditor (2008) reported that textbook costs grew more rapidly than student fees in academic year 2007–08.
Much of the research related to digital texts has focused ontechnical aspects of readability (see Dillon, 1992, for a review) and limitations of digital media for note-taking, underlining, or highlighting text (Brown, 2001). However, the important—and unanswered—question from a teaching perspective is, ‘‘Can students learn as well from digital texts as from paperbound textbooks?’’ Few published studies have addressed this ques-tion directly, and even fewer studies have examined this ques-tion among college students.
Murray, M. C., & Pérez, J. (2011). E-Textbooks Are Coming: Are We Ready?. Issues In Informing Science & Information Technology, 849-60.
Pilot projects that can help build institutional expertise
Address how and where insights gained from pilot projects will be collected and
People resources (e.g., instructional designers) that will be needed to assist
instructors to use this technology
ICWL (Conference) (13th : 2014 : Tallinn, E., & Cao, Y. (2014). New horizons in web based learning: ICWL 2014 international workshops, SPeL, PRASAE, IWMPL, OBIE, and KMEL, FET, Tallinn, Estonia, August 14-17, 2014, revised selected papers. Cham: Springer.
MnSCU will by as Content Authoring Tool – SoftChalk. Here is a promo from Softchalk (my bold):
NEW SoftChalk Create 10 and SoftChalk Cloud eBook publishing features will arrive on April 25th! Come check out the latest enhancements at our upcoming webinars!
Sleek Designer Headers and Callout Boxes – Add some new pizazz to your SoftChalk lessons!
Three New Quiz Types – Test your students’ understanding with Sentence Completion, Multiple Blanks and Feedback Questions.
Polished New QuizPopper and Activity displays – With an enhanced interface for instructors and students.
Accessibility enhancements – Make your lessons available to everyone with even more accessibility enhancements.
NEW SoftChalk Cloud eBook creation and publishing – Includes a totally re-vamped, easier eBook creation and management. New SoftChalk eReader apps available for free download in the iOS, Android, Chromebook and Windows app stores. (Cloud Only)
Zaghab, R. W., & Beckenholdt, P. (2014, June). Textbook-Free Learning: A Framework for Critical Analysis. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on e-Learning: ICEL 2014 (p. 190). Academic Conferences Limited.
Textbooks are losing relevance in the higher education classrooms partially due to the high costs and slow speed of textbook publication in the midst of the growing supply of open electronic resources. With trends toward online course delivery, more colleges are considered online resources as a matter of policy without an adequate framework for decision making during times of rapid transformation. The purpose of this paper is to improve the balance and deliberateness of university decision making in considering Textbook-free approaches. The proposed line of inquiry responds to a critical and timely question: Under what conditions might Textbook-free online course resources offer the best approach to a quality higher education learning experience? A three-part analytical framework is proposed to consider resource quality, institutional commitments, and external trends. By distilling the literature, the authors propose: 1) universal quality indicators for online and open education resource selection for a course or classroom; 2) institutional factors and resources that impact the quality of the Textbook-free approach; and 3) the selection of instructional resources based on environmental factors and transformational change influencing fields of study. Punctuated equilibrium theory helps to inform the framework. With the assumption that classrooms prepare students for the world of work, the proposed framework identifies challenges to the identification of educational resources for fields undergoing disruptive change.
About 80% of the revenue still comes from renting textbooks, which might seem a bit outdated with everyone talking about tablet deployments and digital textbooks.
Though heavily funded and with more than 225,000 digital textbooks in its library, the startup was sold for pennies on a dollar to Intel Education last week.
With the Internet and tablet devices, publishers themselves can now go directly for the students through digital products. There is no need for physical bookstores or other middlemen to distribute the textbooks. Also professors are now able to sell their own textbooks directly to students.
This IPO is not so much about the current business of renting physical textbooks but about the time after paper-based textbooks. Chegg apparently does not see a future with publishers or professors by their side, and they will probably choose more direct sales channels in order to balance out sinking margins.
Connexions: A place for teachers, students, and professionals to search and contribute scholarly content, organized into “modules” or topic areas instead of entire textbooks.
CK12 FlexBooks: A nonprofit that aims to reduce the cost of textbook materials by encouraging the development of what they call the “FlexBook.” Anyone can view or help create these standards-based, customizable, collaborative texts.
Shmoop: An up-and-coming collection of freely shared, expert-written content (most Shmoop authors are Ph.D.s and high school or college-level educators) with the goal of inspiring students and providing tons of free resources to teachers that include writing guides, analyses, and discussions.
MIT Open CourseWare: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology publishes nearly all of its course content on this site, from videos to lecture notes to exams, all free of charge and open to the public. Many other universities are doing the same, often using the content management system EduCommons.
Anyone in here teach instructional design that can recommend a textbook that teaches ADDIE or SAM but is inclusive and has an emphasis on instruction being culturally responsive or culturally sustaining?
The ADDIE model of instructional design is probably the most well-known approach for crafting learning solutions. ADDIE stands for Analyze, Design, Development, Implement, and Evaluate. But ADDIE isn’t the only game in town these days. One popular alternative to ADDIE is SAM, which stands for Successive Approximation Model.
Created by Allen Interactions, SAM offers an instructional design approach consisting of repeated small steps, or iterations, that are intended to address some of the most common instructional design pain points, like meeting timelines, staying on budget, and collaborating with Subject Matter Experts