April 17, 2009
Northwest, McGraw-Hill conduct major e-textbook trial
MARYVILLE, Mo. -- One of the largest public university e-text research trials is currently being conducted by Northwest Missouri State University and McGraw-Hill. The alliance is testing the potential of replacing students' printed textbooks with the electronic, fully interactive versions that offer promising cost savings.
The preliminary phase of this study ended this past December and involved four classes and approximately 200 students. This second phase involves 10 departments and more than 500 students. Initial results are expected by mid-April 2009.
"As we look ahead to the University's ever-growing operational costs, especially in today's challenging economic environment, we see e-books and other interactive learning tools as a proactive solution to address the considerable expense associated with higher education," said Dr. Dean L. Hubbard, Northwest's president. E-books typically cost about half as much as traditional printed textbooks.
In the second phase of the pilot program, the students download the McGraw-Hill e-books using VitalSource Bookshelf(R) a software application for reading, managing and interacting with digital content.
"We will be collecting data and evaluating responses from our students and faculty to determine both their satisfaction with the e-book format and the effectiveness of e-books as teaching and learning tools," Dr. Hubbard said. "In addition, McGraw-Hill is making digital access codes available to up to 3,000 students who are taking courses based on a McGraw-Hill textbook. Those students have the choice of either using a traditional book or downloading the electronic material."
Ed Stanford, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, said McGraw-Hill chose to partner with Northwest because of the university's long and successful history of providing its students with the latest educational technology.
"We are proud to have the opportunity to deliver our multi-functional, interactive e-books at Northwest across academic disciplines," Stanford said. "Our latest generation of e-books truly engages students, offering tools that allow them to highlight, search much more quickly than print books allow, share notes with classmates, create personal study guides, print sections, and much more."
"Northwest is uniquely well-positioned for this kind of major study," Stanford said. "The university has perfected a technology-driven learning delivery system that precisely lends itself to an efficient shift to e-books. We eagerly await the second-phase results of this study -- the first of its kind for McGraw-Hill -- and anticipate providing Northwest professors and students with the fully customizable digital content they want."
Northwest has provided printed textbooks to students through a rental program since the school was established in 1905. In 1987, Northwest became the first public university to implement an electronic campus and currently provides fully loaded notebook computers to all full-time students.
Dr. Hubbard said incorporating textbook rental and technology fees into the overall cost of attending Northwest has helped keep expenses down for families while providing students and faculty with the learning tools needed for academic success.
McGraw-Hill's Stanford added, "This is a great example of how McGraw-Hill is empowering administrators and educators to deliver the best educational solutions and learning experiences in the classroom. Digital learning tools delivered on high-speed Internet -- with the ability to collect formative assessment data -- will become increasingly integral to higher education nationwide, and we are very excited about working with Northwest to identify the best learning environments for its students and faculty."
Dr. Hubbard said that if Northwest should decide to move forward with an e-book-only environment, the substitution of electronic learning materials for printed books could begin as early as fall 2009. Adoption would likely begin with a selected group of courses or disciplines, and additional academic programs would be added until most printed content is replaced by e-books.
About Northwest Missouri State University
Founded in 1905 as a state normal school for the training of teachers, Northwest has since grown into a comprehensive university internationally recognized for its award-winning Culture of Quality. This continuous quality improvement program has strengthened all aspects of Northwest's undergraduate and graduate programs and resulted in the University winning four consecutive Missouri Quality Awards.
In 1987, Northwest became the first public university in the United States to create a truly comprehensive electronic campus with workstations in all residence hall rooms. Today, every full-time Northwest student receives a powerful, high-speed notebook computer and enjoys access to high-speed Internet and an advanced electronic learning environment.
A national leader in student satisfaction and graduation rates, Northwest also strives to create opportunities for young people who may lack the financial resources to attend college. The University's pioneering, needs-based American Dream Grant provides tuition, room and board, a computer and textbooks to academically qualified students from lower-income families. For more information, go to www.nwmissouri.edu .
About McGraw-Hill Higher Education
McGraw-Hill Higher Education, a unit of McGraw-Hill Education, is a premier provider of teaching and learning solutions for 21st century post-secondary and higher education markets worldwide. Through a comprehensive range of traditional and digital education content and tools, McGraw-Hill Higher Education empowers educators and prepares professionals and students of all ages to connect, learn and succeed in the global economy. McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), has offices in 33 countries and publishes in more than 65 languages. Additional information is available at http://www.mheducation.com .
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