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SCVNews.com | CSUs Offering Low-Cost Digital Textbook Rentals | 02-22-2012
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The California State University system announced partnerships Wednesday with Cengage Learning, CourseSmart and Follett that will provide more than 5,000 of the most popular eTextbooks at discounted prices as part of a systemwide digital textbook rental program.

“This program will ease the financial burden on students by providing access to quality online materials that are priced significantly lower than traditional textbooks,” said Gerry Hanley, senior director of CSU Academic Technology Services and executive director of the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT). “Our exceptional partners in this collaboration share in the commitment to maintaining affordability for our students. We will continue to explore opportunities for lower-cost course materials that students need to reach their goal of a college degree.”

Beginning in the fall, students will be have the choice to rent digital versions of texts – eTextbooks – at a cost savings of 60 percent or more compared with the cost of purchasing the same text as a new printed version. Students will have access to the digital material for the length of the academic term and also have the option to print out the material from the eTextbooks. eTextbooks can be rented conveniently by CSU students through their campus bookstore supported by CengageBrain.com, CourseSmart.com and CafeScribe.com. eTextbooks and other digital materials will be available through laptops, desktops, tablets and various other devices, and can be accessed online or offline and include interactive capabilities such as note-taking and highlighting.

This spring the three partners will work with the CSU to market the discounted eTextbooks, and to provide professional development opportunities for faculty on the interactive capabilities of the Cengage, CourseSmart and CafeScribe services to help improve learning outcomes of students. Cengage Learning, CourseSmart and Follett have also committed to providing the CSU with plans for the continued improvement of the accessibility of their eReaders and eTextbooks.

The CSU’s digital rental program is just one facet of the system’s Affordable Learning Solutions initiative. Launched in 2010, Affordable Learning Solutions is guided by the three key principles of choice, affordability and accessibility to provide students with more affordable course materials while offering greater access to no-cost or low-cost academic content for faculty.

Under the initiative, the CSU has produced innovative business strategies and technologies that drive down the cost of learning resources for students while offering greater access to no- or low-cost academic content for faculty. In 2011-12, CSU saved students approximately $62 million by providing lower and no-cost print and digital alternatives to new textbooks and that figure is expected to increase to almost $118 million in savings for students through the shift of using digital alternatives to textbooks. For more information about the Affordable Learning Solutions initiative please visit http://als.csuprojects.org.

 

About California State University

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 427,000 students and 43,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards about 99,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.6 million. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media.

 

About Cengage Learning

Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. The company’s products and services are designed to foster academic excellence and professional development, increase student engagement, improve learning outcomes and deliver authoritative information to people whenever and wherever they need it. Through the company’s unique position within both the library and academic markets, Cengage Learning is providing integrated learning solutions that bridge from the library to the classroom. Cengage Learning’s brands include Brooks/Cole, Course Technology, Delmar, Gale, Heinle, South-Western and Wadsworth, among others. Cengage Learning is headquartered in Stamford, CT. For more information on Cengage Learning please visit www.cengage.com.

 

About CourseSmart

As the world’s largest provider of digital course materials, CourseSmart connects education publishers to consumers by providing an efficient distribution platform for their best-selling content in digital form. Founded in 2007, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company provides services to four business segments: Online direct retail for students; Indirect distribution of course materials to students through bookstores; Online faculty textbook evaluation services; and Institutional solutions for faculty and students that are integrated within campus technology ecosystems. CourseSmart improves the educational process and experience by offering all users anywhere, any-time access to the course content they need, including those with vision- and print-related disabilities. With more than 90% of the same core titles offered by major print publishers, the company’s eTextbooks can be purchased for up to 60% less than the cost of new print textbooks. For more information about CourseSmart, visit the company’s Web site at www.coursesmart.com.

 

About Follett Higher Education Group

Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Illinois, is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and over 400,000 faculty members through more than 900 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website, efollett.com, that provides services and products through a network of more than 1,000 campus stores.

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