Fixing the Textbook Model
Indiana University’s Brad Wheeler explains how his institution is ditching the college textbook and replacing it with digital alternatives that are accessible to students from day one.
By Dian Schaffhauser 06/21/17
Brad Wheeler, the vice president for IT and CIO of Indiana University
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.”
Starting in the mid-1990s, the price of educational books rose faster than just about any other measure, including healthcare. Something had to give. Wheeler has seen a “constellation of things” forming to bring about change. First, the e-reader software has matured, he said. “It works on your phone, your tablet, your laptop.”
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.
the College Board decreased the undergraduate student budget for books and supplies in its “Trends in College Pricing” report.
Indiana U has seen nothing but growth for its IU eTexts digital initiative:
Unizin. This is the organization created by Indiana U and other large institutional partners to develop services that could replace major paid third-party applications, such as learning management, digital textbook and data warehouse platforms. The goal: to enable higher ed to own its data.
more on open text book in this IMS blog
Technology Use Among Teachers Strong and Growing
By David Nagel 11/17/16
The study, conducted by adaptive learning provider Front Row Education, found that 75 percent of teachers use technology with students on a daily basis and that a bit more than half have a 1-to-1 ratio of devices to students in their classrooms (up 10 points from last year’s survey). That increase in student devices is helping to drive an increase in the use of technology, with about 60 percent of teachers surveyed saying they expect to increase the use of technology in the 2016–2017 school year.
60 percent of teachers have access to Chromebooks, up 15 percent from last year; 64 percent have access to iPads, down 5 percent from last year. iPads tend to be the tool of choice in lower grades (75 percent in K–2), while Chromebooks dominate the middle school years (66 percent). Interestingly,
more on technology use among teachers in this IMS blog:
Film isn’t the only medium that gets the virtual reality treatment. The best-selling author Wally Lamb has a new book called “I’ll Take You There” that’ll launch as part of the Metabook line — a series of works that include extras like 360 degree videos and photos.
More on ebooks in this IMS blog
Books in Browsers VII
more on ebooks in this IMS blog
Global E-Learning Market in Steep Decline, Report Says
By Richard Chang
a recent report released by Ambient Insight Research, a Washington state-based market research firm.
Revenues for self-paced e-learning in 2016 are heavily concentrated in two countries — the United States and China. The growth rate in the U.S. is at -5.3 percent, representing a $4.9 billion drop in revenues by 2021, while in China, the rate is at -8.8 percent, representing a $1.9 billion drop by 2021. The e-learning market in China has deteriorated rapidly in just the last 18 months, the report said.
- Of the 122 countries tracked by Ambient Insight, 15 have growth rates for self-paced e-learning over 15 percent during the next five years. These countries are heavily concentrated in Asia and Africa, with the two outliers being Slovakia and Lithuania.
- Eleven of the top 15 growth countries will generate less than $20 million by 2021. Of the top 15, Slovakia and Lithuania are anticipated to generate the highest revenues for self-paced products by 2021, at $55.4 million and $36.5 million, respectively.
- The growth rates are negative in every region except Africa, where the growth is flat at 0.9 percent. The steepest declines are in Asia and Latin America at -11.7 percent and -10.8 percent, respectively. The economic meltdowns in Brazil and Venezuela are major inhibitors in Latin America.
- There are 77 countries with flat-to-negative growth rates. The countries with the lowest growth rates are Yemen (-18.7 percent), Brazil (-19.8 percent), Qatar (-23.5 percent) and Venezuela (-26.8 percent).
Self-paced e-learning products include online courses, managed education services, managed training, e-books and learning management systems, according to the report. The author does not consider mobile and game-based learning, which are growing, to be in the self-paced e-learning category.
The news on the self-paced e-learning industry is so bad, Ambient Insight will no longer publish commercial syndicated reports on the industry, the firm says on its website and in the report.
more on elearning in this IMS blog
New Model Lets Students Rent Textbooks on Pay-as-You-Go Basis
By Michael Hart 04/12/16
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.
The Secret You Need to Know About Ebooks
BookBub, a daily email that alerts readers to free and deeply discounted ebooks that are available for a limited time.
To see today’s ebook deals, go to http://www.bookbub.com.
More on ebooks in this IMS blog:
excellent introduction to ebooks, ereaders and eformats here:
How one school beat the textbook dilemma
Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
March 31st, 2016
The college rolled textbook costs into tuition the same way costs associated with athletic fields, libraries,
and classroom equipment are rolled into tuition.
More on textbooks in this blog:
More on e-books in this blog: