An all-eTextbook campus won’t just make Florida’s Daytona State College the envy of the education-technology world. The program will also save academic careers cut short when students can’t afford their books, pushing Daytona officials to find an electronic alternative and perhaps serve as a model for higher education.
Daytona State, a 35,000-student institution and a former community college, has been moving toward a “100 percent” eBook campus since 2009, using electronic texts in English, computer science, and economics courses, said Rand Spiwak, Daytona’s chief financial officer and executive vice president.
Daytona’s eBook initiative would allow students to buy electronic texts for about $20 apiece, Spiwak said, and the books would be accessible on any web-enabled eReader. The college would make affordable eReaders available to students or students could read their books on one of the thousands of on-campus computers.
And if students or faculty members still want the traditional hardback textbook, they can print out the eBook’s pages and put them in a three-ring binder.
Daytona State’s goal should be welcome news for cash-strapped students: Officials want to reduce annual textbook costs – now at around $1,100 – by 50 to 80 percent, even after the purchase of an eReader like the Apple iPad.