Home | News & Events | Events | 2014 Events | NISO Webinars | September 10: Part 1: E-books for Education: Electronic Textbooks: Plug in and Learn

NISO Two-Part Webinar: E-books for Education
Part 1: Electronic Textbooks: Plug in and Learn

Part 2 of this webinar will be held on September 17: Open Textbook Initiatives

September 10, 2014
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

  • About the Webinar
  • Agenda & Event Slides
  • Event Q&A
  • Registration
    Can't make it on the webinar day? Register now and gain access to the archive for one year.
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    • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
    • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.
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About the Webinar

The most rapid developments in the world of e-books have taken place in the popular market for fiction and non-fiction monographs. However, with the development of new standards such as EPUB 3 that support multimedia and the improvements in reading devices, the penetration of electronic versions of trade books has advanced quite rapidly. The market for digital textbooks, however, has grown at a more modest rate for a variety of reasons. The electronic textbook marketplace is still working through some very complex technological and business model issues.

This two-part webinar series will explore the nascent world of electronic textbooks and how publishers, students, and librarians are dealing with these new products.

In Part 1, we will explore the notion of just what an electronic textbook is. Are e-textbooks an interactive "courseware" website, an application for mobile devices and tablets, or self-contained digital files? Or is there a place for all of these and if so, how do they fit together and combine with a course syllabus?



Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

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Advocating for Change: Open Textbooks and Affordability
Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education, Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

With traditional college-level textbooks cost rising at 4 times the rate of annual inflation, students are increasingly opting out of purchasing textbooks that faculty and course instructors require. This is creating a very uneven landscape in the higher education environment, and the need for affordable textbooks is crucial. Nicole Allen, director of open education for SPARC, will help give context to the issue of textbook affordability and why change is necessary to help mitigate the ever increasing costs of acquiring a 2- or 4-year degree.

Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education for SPARC. In this role she leads SPARC's work on Open Educational Resources (OER), focusing on public policy and engaging and supporting the library community on this issue. Nicole joined SPARC in 2013 already established as a leading figure in the OER movement through her previous role at the Student Public Interest Research Groups. During her seven year tenure, Nicole worked with college students to organize numerous large-scale grassroots campaigns on OER and related issue areas, including a 40-campus, cross-country van tour called the "Textbook Rebellion" and organizing 3,000 professors to sign a commitment to consider adopting open textbooks. Nicole is widely cited in the media for her work, and is considered one of the leading issue experts on college textbook costs.

Nicole graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy. A life-long activist, Nicole chose a career in grassroots organizing because of her first hand experience with the power of the student voice. Currently she splits her time between her home in Providence, RI and SPARC's headquarters in Washington, DC.

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Open your books and turn to page 10: Getting students to use their e-textbooks
Reggie Cobb, Biology Instructor, Nash Community College

During this session the presenter will explain how to motivate students to use their e-textbooks to learn the content. One of the main challenges is to get students to open their book. Another challenge is to get students to use the book effectively. With the help of Cengage's MindTap, the presenter will explain how he adds video, presentations, and guided notes to an interactive eTextbook. By combining these learning tools and the etext into one integrated online learning program, students will engage with the textbook as they complete required assignments and effectively learn the major concepts of the course.

Reggie Cobb is a biology instructor at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, NC, where he teaches non-majors and majors biology, environmental biology, and other freshman/sophomore elective biology courses. As an on campus, online, and virtual instructor since 2000, he incorporates technology in both on and off campus courses. Reggie received his B.S. in Biology and MAEd in Science Education from East Carolina University. With educational backgrounds in both biology and science education, he continually updates teaching methods to best facilitate student learning of the biological concepts. 

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A Proof of Concept Initiative: The Internet2/EDUCAUSE Etextbook Pilots
Monica Metz-Wiseman, Coordinator of Electronic Collections, University of South Florida Libraries

The University of South Florida (USF) participated in a national etextbook initiative with Internet2/EDUCAUSE that spanned three semesters. Using content from major textbook publishers, students and faculty received their etextbooks at no cost. The presenter will summarize USF’s perspective on the purpose behind the pilots, the work involved, the reaction from students and faculty, and uncertain next steps.

Monica Metz-Wiseman is the Coordinator of Electronic Collections at the University of South Florida (USF), one of the largest public universities in the U.S. At USF, she has held positions as the Head of Reference and the Virtual Library Project Manager involving over 100 librarians and staff who developed and implemented a five year plan to move the USF Libraries' services and collections online. She currently serves on three library advisory boards at the national level, led three Internet2/EDUCAUSE sponsored etextbook pilot projects at USF, and is the University’s lead on textbook affordability initiatives.

Event Q&A

What is the cost for the student?
(Reggie Cobb) New textbook with Access Card to MindTap - $200.95. Please keep in mind that this is book is used in 2 courses. $100 per semester for this bundle is a great deal. Here's a link to the bundle price (textbook and MindTap): http://www.cengagebrain.com/shop/isbn/978-1-305-59688-7

What is the cost for Cengage App? What is your costing model - is there a different cost for student from the instructor?
(RC) There is currently not an App. Students access the course using web browser. To access MindTap, students must have an access code, which can either be acquired by purchasing bundle package in bookstore or just the access to MindTap with eText on website.

Who develops the assignments and discussion questions? Publisher or instructor?
(RC) I develop the Discussion Questions and modify textbook PowerPoints. The assignments (quizzes/tests) in MindTap can be modified by the instructor.

Is it possible to store videos currently being worked on within MindTap or is it only for completed videos?
(RC) Videos can be created and stored in MindTap using an app called Kaltura. I also post videos on YouTube and share them in MindTap.

Did you use the features of the e-text such as highlighting and sharing notes, making and sharing notes within the e-text, etc. with students?
(RC) I have not used the sharing notes feature yet, but it looks very interesting.

If you were successful in getting the etextbook fee, would it be distributed to the departments or the library or another entity?
(Monica Metz-Wiseman) It would be distributed to the Library where we would make payment on the content and etextbook platform. There would be a period of time before the money is dispersed to the Library from Academic Affairs, possibly 2-3 weeks.

So this has focused on publisher generated e-texts but what about the truly open source books?
(MMW)This pilot was focused on commercially produced etextbooks from McGraw-Hill, Elsevier, Macmillan HE and others. We were however able to add open access ebooks during the three pilots. To my knowledge, only Cornell and USF included locally produced course material, including etextbooks. University of South Florida (USF) is now rolling out a pilot for the creation of open access textbooks by USF faculty. We had other faculty at USF with open access content that did not want to go to the “trouble” of moving their content to Courseload for one semester. They had no way of knowing that we would re-up for two more pilots.

Did the discussions with the bookstore address open access material at all?
(MMW) After the three pilots, the Library, General Counsel, the Provost’s Office, and the Bookstore developed an amendment to our contract that not only permitted the Libraries to engage in future pilots or production initiatives for etextbooks but allowed for open access etextbooks and other course materials as well.


Registration closes on September 10, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (ET)

SAVE! Register for both parts of this two-part webinar and save 25%!


  • NISO Member
    • $143.00 (US and Canada)
    • $164.00 (International)
  • NASIG Member
    • $143.00
  • Non-Member
    • $188.00 (US and Canada)
    • $224.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $74.00

If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration Costs: Part 1 only.

If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

  • NISO Member
    • $95.00 (US and Canada)
    • $109.00 (International)
  • NASIG Member
    • $95.00
  • Non-Member
    • $125.00 (US and Canada)
    • $149.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $49.00

Additional Information

  • Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on September 10, 2014. Cancellations made by September 3, 2013 will receive a refund, less a $25 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the webinar via e-mail the Monday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by 10:00 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the webinar, at please contact the NISO office or email Juliana Wood, Educational Programs Manager at jwood@niso.org for immediate assistance.
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  • Webinar presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to the site following the live webinar.
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