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Developing a Digital Textbook Strategy for Your Campus

A Symposium Presented by the Florida Distance Learning Consortium February 8, 2012 in Lake Mary, Florida

The Florida Distance Learning Consortium held a one-day symposium on institution and state level digital textbook initiatives, examining national trends and prevailing models for both publisher digital textbooks and open textbooks. Faculty, policymakers, and experts from across the country described their digital textbook programs, policies, results, and best practices. Two panel discussion followed the presentations. The first, the Publisher Voice panel, included digital textbook providers and an open textbook provider. The second, Comparing Pathways, included the speakers from state systems and institutions that have established digital textbook programs.



Steve Acker, Research Director, eTextOhio Project
The Ohio Digital Bookshelf: State-Level Strategies
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF; Implementation Checklist; Additional Files
Steve Acker is Research Director, The Ohio Digital Bookshelf, an initiative of OhioLINK, the state library consortium of 99 university and public libraries, and the Ohio Board of Regents.  Dr. Acker also is Emeritus Professor of Communication, The Ohio State University. While at OSU, he served as the founding director of Technology Enhanced Learning and Research within the Office of the CIO. He speaks, writes, and consults on the implementation and diffusion of innovative learning technologies. Ohio’s Scaffold to the Stars - an Educause Next Generation Learning Challenge project - provides a current focus.


Miklós Bóna, Professor of Mathematics, University of Florida
The Online Calculus Initiative at the University of Florida
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF
Miklós Bóna received his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He has taught at the University of Florida since 1999. In 2010, he was inducted into UF’s Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Besides the open textbooks of the Online Calculus Project, he has written three advanced textbooks in Combinatorics, which is his field of research. He is the author of over 50 research articles and one of the Editors-in-Chief of the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics. Dr. Bona has graduated four doctoral students in mathematics and currently serves on the Committee for the Professional Ethics of the American Mathematical Society.


Tom Caswell, Open Education Policy Associate, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Open Policy in Washington State: How We Got to the Open Course Library and Where We Go From Here
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF; Implementation Checklist
Tom Caswell is Open Education Policy Associate at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). Tom’s current work includes leading the Open Course Library, piloting a community college Open Learning Initiative (OLI) in Washington, and supporting the OPEN initiative for Department of Labor C3T grantees. Prior to working for the State Board, Tom was Strategic Outreach Manager for the OpenCourseWare Consortium. He also developed open education projects at the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL).


Rhonda M. Epper, Assistant Provost for the Colorado Community College System
Colorado Community College System Digital Textbook Program
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF; Implementation Checklist
Rhonda Epper is Assistant Provost for the Colorado Community College System, where her responsibilities include development of academic innovations across the system's 13 community colleges, policy direction for online learning, transfer and articulation issues, and research/planning for academic affairs. Previously, she managed CCCOnline and other system-wide consortial initiatives, such as the enterprise learning management system, 24/7 help desk, and digital textbook programs. Epper serves on the WCET Executive Council and as a Fellow with the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR).


Ben Graydon, Assistant Professor of English, Daytona State College
Digital Textbooks: An English Faculty Perspective
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF
Ben Graydon received his Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University and has taught composition and literature at Daytona State College since 2009.  He has been closely involved with Daytona State’s effort to develop a digital textbook strategy, including participation in a two-year FIPSE-funded study of different textbook delivery models.  His description of this study and its results, co-authored with Blake Urbach-Buholz and Cheryl Kohen, was published in the December 2011 issue of EDUCAUSE Quarterly.


Diane Harley, Senior Researcher - Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley
Keynote Speaker
Open and Affordable Textbooks: Incentives and Barriers to Their Use and Creation by Faculty
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF
Diane Harley, Ph.D., directs the Higher Education in the Digital Age (HEDA) project at the Center for Studies in Higher Education. Dr. Harley is a biosocial anthropologist with a Ph.D. in anthropology from UC Berkeley; her approach emphasizes the concurrent analysis of social, economic, and academic costs and benefits of new media in scholarship. She is the principal investigator of Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing: Its Meaning, Locus, and Future, and principal author, and co-principal investigator with C. Judson King, of Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An In-depth Study of Faculty Needs in Seven Disciplines (both part of The Future of Scholarly Communication Project and funded by the A.W. Mellon Foundation). She is also the principal investigator of the Open and Affordable Textbooks Project.


Nik Osborne, J.D. , eTexts Faculty Liaison, Indiana University
The eTexts Experience @ IU
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF
As chief of staff, Osborne serves as advisor and key representative to the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO.  Osborne is responsible for managing executive-level communications for both internal staff and external partners of the Office of the Vice President of Information Technology (VPIT).  In addition, he works closely with the VPIT cabinet to monitor, advise, and communicate the implementation of the operational and strategic agenda.  To this role, Osborne brings experience in the public and private sectors.  Most recently, he served as employee relations specialist for University Human Resources (UHRS), where he worked with deans, directors, and human resources officers to resolve employment-related issues that affected long- and short-term business operations.  He was also responsible for providing policy and operational management training to professionals throughout the university.  Prior to joining UHRS, Osborne served as vice president of operations for a real estate investment company, where he provided day-to-day strategic management and legal counsel.  Osborne began his career practicing law for the law firm of Andrews, Harrell, Mann, Carmin & Parker.  He holds a B.S. in Business Law from Indiana University - Kelley School of Business, and a J.D. from Indiana University – Maurer School of Law, both in Bloomington, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Indiana University.


Brad Wheeler, Vice President for Information Technology & CIO, Indiana University
eTexts @ IU: Co-Creating the Path to Digital (+print)
Presentation Video; Presentation PDF; Scenario-Model PDF; Implementation Checklist
Dr. Brad Wheeler, Indiana University's vice president for information technology and chief information officer, leads IT services for IU's eight campuses.  These services include research, educational, administrative, networking, and other shared IT services.  He has co-founded some of higher education’s most transformative software and service collaborations including the Sakai Project for teaching and learning software, Kuali for financial and other administrative systems, and the HathiTrust for digital copies of scanned books as part of the Google Book Project. These projects are a blend of both open source and traditional development models that have grown to an ecosystem encompassing over $60M of pooled investments from 50 institutions and 22 commercial firms.  He is a professor of information systems in IU’s Kelley School of Business, and has taught executive programs for corporate and MBA audiences on six continents. Photo courtesy of Indiana University.


Publisher Voice: Digital Course Materials – The Licensing of e-Textbooks and Open Textbooks

Panel Video

Meredith Babb, Director, University Press of Florida
Tim Baldwin, Vice President, Cengage
Sean Devine, CEO, CourseSmart
Dan Bartell, Vice President, Pearson
Michael (Mickey) Levitan, CEO, Courseload
Tom Malek, Vice President, McGraw-Hill

Panel Moderator: Brad Wheeler, Vice President for Information Technology & CIO, Indiana University

Panelists representing commercial publishers, value added textbook distributors, and a university press discussed the various licensing agreements they have implemented or considered. Enrollment models—in which every student in a class pays a fee—offer vendors assurance of greater volume and consequently lower prices for new textbooks, whereas optional models allow students to rent or buy used books. The panel explored innovative approaches to supplying content, including open content, and models for institution and statewide licensing arrangements with publishers and vendors for the purchase of textbooks.

Moderator's Presentation PDF

Handouts: Cengage, Courseload, CourseSmart, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, University Press of Florida


Comparing Pathways: Support and Sustainability of Models

Panel Video Part 1; Panel Video Part 2

Stephen R. Acker, Research Director, Ohio Digital Bookshelf Project
Tom Caswell, Open Education Policy Associate, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Rhonda Epper, Assistant Provost for the Colorado Community College System
Diane Harley, Senior Researcher, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley
Brad Wheeler, Vice President for Information Technology & CIO, Indiana University

Panel Moderator: Tom Cavanaugh, Assistant Vice President, University of Central Florida

Developing and implementing a successful digital or open textbook strategy can provide enormous benefit for students. However, implementation is not always easy and involves many issues. Digital and open textbooks can successfully support teaching and learning while reducing costs if best practices are applied to the process. The panel of educators involved in open and digital textbook initiatives discussed techniques that facilitate the adoption of digital and open textbooks in practice.


This symposium was funded through the Open Access Textbooks Project, a project funded through a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE),
Grant No. P116Y090040.

Funded by Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)