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ETEXTS  April 2018

ETEXTS April 2018

Subject:

Re: Pricing is Difficult. Buying...not so much when goals are clear

From:

"Evans, Gwen" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE eTexts Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:50:51 +0000

Content-Type:

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>>>3. What happens to the student who opts out with regard to quizzes, exams, homework, and other materials that are available only through the platform? How can a student pass the course in this case?

This isn't tied to the inclusive access model. Courseware like MindTap or MyLab are often assigned by faculty as a required resource while the textbook gets acquired independently by the student in whatever format they wish. Unless there is some kind of accommodation made and requested, students can't pass the class without buying the courseware. It has nothing to do with inclusive access as a model per se. And there are legitimate and defensible reasons for faculty to use courseware in certain environments, while developing OER courseware is much more challenging and requires more investment in time, technology and design than a traditional textbook, although there are efforts being made to develop OER replacements.

Best, Gwen





Gwen Evans
Executive Director, OhioLINK
ph: 614-485-6608
[log in to unmask]
www.ohiolink.edu


Per Ohio Revised Code, this communication and any attachments may constitute a public record. (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/149.43

________________________________________
From: The EDUCAUSE eTexts Constituent Group Listserv [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Bailey, Jody E [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 5:46 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ETEXTS] Pricing is Difficult.  Buying...not so much when goals are clear

I attended the Open Education Conference in Anaheim last October, and I learned a great deal from a panel that was focused on "inclusive access." This panel was organized by SPARC (https://sparcopen.org/), which is a big player in the OER world. At that meeting, SPARC personnel advocated for calling "inclusive access" "automatic purchasing programs" since their take is that this label is more honest. Off the top of my head, I'd say decision makers should be thinking or asking about the following:
1. Will students have access to the course materials after the lease period?
2. Is the opt-out process clearly explained and easy? Or does the publisher try to hide the process and/or make it difficult?
3. What happens to the student who opts out with regard to quizzes, exams, homework, and other materials that are available only through the platform? How can a student pass the course in this case?
4. What are publishers doing with student data? In the wake of the Facebook scandal, do universities want to find themselves in a situation in which publishers are selling student data or misusing it in some other way?
5. The 65% savings that are promoted by publishers are usually calculated from the list price, not the used book market that so many students purchase from. So are we really saving them that much money?
6. Many of these course materials are digital only; publishers do not provide a print option for the book since they don't want the materials to be shared among students. What happens to those students who prefer print, or perhaps even need it because of a disability?
7. Are these platforms and digital materials 100% accessible to students with disabilities? My understanding is that many are not.
8. Many of these course materials have heavy-handed DRM incorporated in them, which means that often students can't copy/paste short sections into their notes or print even just a few pages. How does this rigid control support student learning?

If you'd like to see the slides from the panel I attended, they are openly licensed and available here:
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1TEczfNO8d9N8u3E3rD92aN9idcMoT2cl1rSa5OuEM4E/edit?usp=sharing
Here's a shorter link for the same URL: https://bit.ly/2FbXLSH

The last panelist for that presentation was Rajiv Jhangiani, Special Advisor to the Provost on Open Education and a Psychology Professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, BC. Rather than making several slides, he recapped this blog post from July 2017: "Just how inclusive are 'inclusive access' e-textbook programs?" https://thatpsychprof.com/tag/inclusive-access/
Regarding accessibility, one commenter on this post wrote, " Many of the online publisher textbooks I've seen don't have image descriptions, have math content that's not in MathML (and therefore cannot be read by a screenreader), or have videos that lack captions."
https://thatpsychprof.com/just-how-inclusive-are-inclusive-access-programs/#comments

As a final but very important note, I'll provide a link to David Wiley's take on "inclusive access," which is not favorable. His main criticism is that the materials are 100% protected by copyright rather than being open, and copyright-protected learning materials hobble both faculty and students alike who try to engage with the subject matter: "If We Talked About the Internet Like We Talk About OER: The Cost Trap and Inclusive Access" https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/5219

Best regards,

Jody

Jody Bailey, MA, MLIS
Linguistics/TESOL Librarian
Director of Publishing, Mavs Open Press
Central Library Room 410
University of Texas at Arlington Libraries
[log in to unmask]
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4226-4173


-----Original Message-----
From: The EDUCAUSE eTexts Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Aimee Denoyelles
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2018 8:54 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ETEXTS] Pricing is Difficult. Buying...not so much when goals are clear

Hi Brad,

I want to thank you for taking the time to eloquently summarizing this trend and acknowledging the positives and concerns.

Your message could not be more timely for us at UCF. We are currently exploring the various platforms and providers that would enable a discount for students, as well as investigating the bursar/student account side. Personally, I'm cautious of diving into an agreement that may ultimately disadvantage the student (for instance, if the eText goes away after the course is over).

Are other institutions having these conversations? What are some questions we need to be asking providers?

Thanks again, Brad!
Aimee

-----Original Message-----
From: The EDUCAUSE eTexts Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Wheeler, Bradley C
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ETEXTS] Pricing is Difficult. Buying...not so much when goals are clear

Dear eText List Colleagues,



I've noticed a few trends lately that I'd like to call out for possible discussion on this eTexts list.  In the decade-long evolution of paper textbooks into digital options (plus adaptive tutoring systems, etc.), we are now beyond "the end of the beginning" and into the next chapter of refining the economic relationship between students, faculty, institutions, publishers, and authors.



One clear signal of this transition was at the 2018 EDUCAUSE annual meeting in Philadelphia.  For the first time, I saw that many of the major publishers on the exhibit floor had signage and were trying to drive the eText model (sometimes branded as Inclusive Access, Day 1 Access, All Students Acquire, etc.).  While there are a lot of important details to consider, and many have been discussed on this list, the core of the new bargain is this:



If each student will pay for the digital materials through bursar billing, the publishers can dramatically reduce the cost to students and while still growing both their revenue and profits over the traditional paper book model.



The precise terms of this new bargain are still being sorted out, and now is a critical time for institutions to give very careful attention to these shifting terms and pricing.  Institutions are an essential part of this bargain if our real goal is to enable the lower prices for our students among the other favorable attributes of digital.  The bargain is made possible through our unique ability to enable direct bursar billing for each registered student in a course section (of course, there are opt-out options).  Institutional Bursar billing is the enabling element that makes the new bargain work.



From an economic perspective, you could fairly argue that institutions are essentially "renting" a non-substitutable service of bursar billing in each eText course section in exchange for obtaining the best prices for required course materials on behalf of students.  Again, this service is the essential element that makes the bargain win-win for both students and content creators.



For the most part, industry trends in this new chapter are very favorable for win-win terms.  The major publishers, many with somewhat recent leadership transitions, have moved quickly over the last 18 months to embrace the new bargain for eText models.  To repeat... this is a very rational behavior to lower digital prices AND get paid by each student as it is a win in revenue/profit to the publishers and is also a lower cost to the students.  At IU and through the Unizin Consortium, we have seen a string of increasingly favorable win-win terms that are enabling our faculty to make choices that drive volume in digital.  Our numbers continue to grow in significant ways every year including over $4M in real cost avoidance to IU students this year.



YET.. not all trends are favorable, and thus my warning note to our institutional community today.  We have also seen some publishers chase only half of the new bargain.  They (understandably) seek an eText/Inclusive Access model to get paid by each student, but they are going the wrong direction in pricing.  Their offers exceed the reasonable alternatives that students can find in the used book market and through other substitutes.



While there can be great variance across disciplines, in general, in 2009 an IU internal study concluded that any eText pricing to students in excess of 35% of print list (e.g., 65% discount off of print list) would be disadvantageous to our students.  Early offers to us, and sadly, some even today in this new chapter want to assert a high price and still get bursar billing for all students in a section.   IU did not then and does not now accept those terms for participation in our eText model as such terms are not in the interest of our students.  Most are much more favorable by 2018.



Thus as we accelerate into the next chapter on the path to digital course materials, I strongly urge deep diligence at each institution that assesses all the options to reduce the cost of required course materials (including OER).  I applaud those many, many publishers who are innovating with fixed or tiered pricing at very reasonable levels as one favorable step, and to those who are sharpening the bargain to further win-win pricing and volume deals where those meet the choices of faculty.



The worst outcome for students would be for institutions to sign on to (near) compulsory purchases for required course materials at prices that are structurally unfavorable to students.  In other words, don't accept only half of the new fair bargain.  I look forward to continued innovation in product and economics by content creators, faculty, institutions, consortia, and students as this chapter unfolds.



--Brad



P.S.  Some of these thoughts and more will be shared next week in a Chronicle of Higher Education Webinar on Tues, 24 April, 2p EDT.  Stacy Morrone and I will share a few insights and respond to questions in advance of the release of eText 101: A Practical Guide that is a collection of authored chapters on this topic and edited by IUPUI Dean of Libraries (Emeritus) David Lewis.









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