Fixing the Textbook Model

Brad_Wheeler

The idea that students could still be over-paying for course materials all over the country really burns Brad Wheeler, the vice president for IT and CIO of Indiana University. A big part of the problem, he believes, is that it’s taken a long time for textbook publishers to own up to the “fundamental flaw” of their industry: “They are obsessed with counting their gross margins on the things they actually do sell.” And, he added, they ignore the enormous amounts they lose through the other 75 percent of the market made up of used and rented books and other kinds of substitutes. Because of those blinders, the publishers have “long pursued a model that has been failing, year over year.”

Wheeler has arguably been one of the loudest voices telling textbook companies to change their ways. In 2009, his university began piloting an e-textbook program that eventually pollinated to numerous institutions and started a movement that led to the founding of an organization dedicated to helping schools reclaim ownership of their decisions and data.

Read more on Campus Technology…

Image courtesy of Indiana University

When Students Whine About WiFi on Twitter

A woman tweeting on her mobile phoneMean tweets aren’t just a feature on Jimmy Kimmel Live! — they permeate the feeds of college students across America. And the primary target of their wrath seems to be campus WiFi:

“Here’s the deal… You can either give me functional WiFi or you can give me back a portion of my tuition. Which one is it gonna be?”

“What if this is all some kind of social experiment to see what happens when you take WiFi away from college students?”

“How to academically ruin a college student: shut off their WiFi on a Sunday.”

Two institutions are using those kinds of disparaging tweets from their community of students as inspiration for improving delivery of wireless networking.

Read more on Campus Technology here…

Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg via FlickrCCBY

DeVos: We’re Just ‘Scratching the Surface’ of Ed with Tech

Betsy DeVosThe new Secretary of the Department of Education told an audience of education innovators that she believed the role of technology in education has just begun to “scratch the surface,” particularly in bringing “new opportunities” to rural populations.

Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke at the ASU+GSV Summit, taking place this week in Salt Lake City. The event brings together people from education, industry and government to discuss education and workforce innovation.

More on THE Journal here…