Daytona State College, a fifty-three year old former community college, now a state college offering four year degree, has a very seriously embarked upon the task of greatly reducing the cost of higher education via the replacement of traditional textbooks with a number of textbook alternatives, to include e-textbooks. Our faculty and administration are equally as passionate about solving this “student access limiting” issue. Many of the College’s students pay more for textbooks than they pay for tuition and fees. The College has been researching and evaluating textbook alternatives with various textbook publishers and are independently working with them to create a delivery efficient, cost effective alternative to printed textbooks.
College-wide adoption of this technology is very obtainable and supported by College faculty and students. The College is receptive to single or multiple e-reader software and platforms, access to a one, a few or many publishers and adopting new text to make e-text possible. Daytona State College is very “open” and flexible having a few potential barriers to contend with, such as, no teacher union contracts (that may have conflicting text selection language), nor are we “committee strangled” in the selection of texts. The College requires common departmental text adoptions at all campuses (one course, one book, many sections). The College has a very “flat” structured administration thus allowing the final decision making process to be simplified and timely.
Daytona State College began seeking a path to an e-text environment by initially searching for other colleges or universities that has successfully implemented this vision. The research did not result in identifying any institution that had adopted this technology on a college-wide basis, and found only limited adoption by a particular professor or academic department. Daytona State College intends to adopt this technology college-wide and is currently investigating and pilot testing a few other textbook alternatives to include:
- College or bookstore contractor managed textbook rentals;
- Expanded use of custom publishing (8”x11”, 3 hole punched, shrink-wrapped) text, both externally and internally published/copyrighted, which are either sold to the student or distributed to the student and included in the tuition/fee charges;
- College created “texts” downloaded from the College’s virtual college / LMS website;
- Near-exclusive publisher arrangements to acquire texts at heavily wholesale discounted prices and re-sold by the College to the student directly (at cost) or via a third party (at cost plus handling);
- Multi-publisher arrangements to acquire texts at heavily wholesale discounted prices and re-sold by the College to the student directly (at cost) or via a third party (at cost plus handling);
Daytona State College’s CFO met with the other twenty-seven Florida state college CFO’s and secured their concurrence in future consideration to adopt this e-text venture. Florida’s state colleges enroll over 870,000 students annually and exceed $2B in annual revenues.
Daytona State’s vision has led the College to investigate every solution available to reduce the cost of textbooks and increase student access to higher education. The College is most anxious to explore all solutions to solving this high cost/access limiting issue.