Reflections on ELI Part 1: eTextbooks at Indiana and iPad Initiative at Anderson

This is a little ironic for several reasons. Our group (Education Technology Services) is currently involved with some pilot projects
I’m done with the Educause Learning Initiative Annual Meeting now and thought I’d share a few of my observations. This is part 1 of 3 (probably).

About the Educause Learning Initiative Annual Meeting:
For those who don’t know, advice website the ELI conference is a gathering of about 700 people who are focused on various aspects of educational technology, mind mostly from higher education. I knew that others in our group would be attending sessions on topics like analytics and gaming, visit this so I spent all of my time at sessions focused on mobile learning and eTextbook/Paperless initiatives. Here are some of the highlights related to those topics:

eTextbooks at Indiana University
Anastasia Morrone from Indiana University talked about rolling out a eTextbook initiative aimed at reducing the student cost of textbooks to 35% of the cost of new books. They are doing this in partnership with a company called CourseLoad and a mandatory eTextbook fee that students pay as part of their tuition bill when they have signed up for one of the courses in the initial rollout. Indiana University is working through Internet2 to expand this program to other universities. I think it’s an impressive initiative that has focused on reducing student costs and ensuring accessibility. By expanding this to other universities, they are hoping to use collective bargaining power to keep costs low. For more, see: Indiana University eTextbook Site

iPad Initiative at Anderson University
Ben Deaton from Anderson University talked about their iPad initiative for all of its incoming students. This year, 580 freshmen received iPads as well as abut 90% of their faculty who were only required to say that they would try using the iPad for teaching and learning purposes. Six of the faculty were involved in extensive course redesign projects that involved using the iPad as an active element in the course. For example, a biology class identified mitosis and meiosis as difficult concepts, so they had students use their iPads to create stop-motion animations that illustrated those concepts. Pre/post test data showed that student understanding went way up.

That’s all for part 1. My flight out of Austin is taking off soon.

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