In a recent study, the U.S. General Accountability Office discovered a troubling problem facing college students: the cost of textbooks has dramatically risen. The government agency reported the annual price for books increased by six percent, twice the rate of inflation, and account for 25 percent of the total fees that students pay on campus.Beginning fall 2013, Fort Valley State University’s Department of Business Administration and Economics will launch an e-textbooks program with Cengage Learning, Inc. According to the company site, Cengage’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.
During the pilot, professors within the department will be encouraged to switch from traditional, hardcover textbooks to digital materials. Students attending business classes will have their course materials provided at drastically reduced prices, up to 66 percent.
“[The price of textbooks] is extremely burdensome for our students, who are forced to take on more loans, work long hours, or extend their years of education because of the financial demands imposed by [the cost] of textbooks,” said Dr. Karl Lawrence, department chair for business administration and economics.
According to Lawrence, the new pilot program allows students and professors to bridge the technology gap. He says that the goal of the program is to enhance learning, to encourage increased student engagement through the use of this technology, and better prepare students to transition into the work place.
“My vision is to provide all of our students with e-textbooks on devices like iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tablet,” said Lawrence. “Technology is not going away; it’s time we embrace it.”
The departmental chair says that e-textbooks makes it easier to learn new material. E-textbooks have the same content and layout as the hard copy versions; however, they are half the price, because there are no printing and shipping fees attached. There are additional benefits, thanks to interactive features. Students can easily search, highlight passages and make notes within the book. E-textbooks can also be converted into an audio file, so students can listen to educational materials through their headphones.
“We all have a role to play in leveraging 21st century technology to expand learning and better serve our students,” said Dr. Larry E. Rivers, FVSU president. “This initiative will ensure that we know which digital textbooks meet our academic needs, so these cost-effective resources can be used to ensure that students have access to a world-class education.”
Lawrence announced additional news. Two departments are leading the launch of the DegreeWorks program: FVSU’s Retention Services Center and the business department. The web-based program allows students and their advisors to review past, present and future academic course work. FVSU academic advisors will give real-time information to students, and document advice from one-on-one meetings.
The program, which is easily integrated with the BannerWeb, will launch fall 2013.
Lawrence discusses the e-textbook and degree works programs in the following clip.
For more information about the e-textbook or Degree Works programs, contact Dr. Karl Lawrence, (478) 825-6270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christina D. Milton, writer
Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, email@example.com