Texas university pilots new digital textbook program

In an attempt to make earning a degree more affordable for students, officials at Rice University in Texas recently announced the launch of a pilot program to provide several introductory level digital textbooks to freshmen free of charge, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Rice has partnered with nonprofit publisher Openstax College to provide peer-reviewed digital textbooks to students through Rice's Connexions learning management system (LMS). If the program is a success, the digital textbooks could collectively save students as much as $90 million in the next five years.

Some experts say that digital textbooks could make education more affordable and accessible for many students.

"Textbooks are so expensive," Nicole Allen, a digital textbook advocate, told the news source. "[Publishers] can charge really high prices because students don’t have any choice but to buy their books."

According to Reuters, a survey by Kelton Research says 71 percent of students were keen to access digital textbooks through a web-based portal or LMS. The news source also said that students spend an average of $2,400 on textbooks during the course of their studies.

What do you think about digital textbooks? Would this kind of program encourage you to fill out a college application? 

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