Partnership to provide access to etexbooks

A ground-breaking etextbook licensing partnership, the first of its kind in Canada, will provide University of Windsor students with lower costs and greater access to high quality course materials in a wide range of digital formats.

Gwendolyn Ebbett, dean of the library, spearheaded the university-wide agreement with Flat World Knowledge, the largest publisher of openly-licensed college textbooks.

In time for the 2012 fall semester, and as part of a pilot program studying etextbooks, UWindsor purchased 2,000 seat licenses to the company’s course content.

“I am a firm supporter of open access, which makes Flat World Knowledge the ideal partner to provide the building blocks of a campus-wide etextbook program,” says Ebbett.

Using a per-student, per-course seat license, the company pledges the new approach is more economical, convenient and environmentally sustainable. And most importantly, all students assigned to a Flat World Knowledge textbook will have access to their course materials on the first day of class. Students will be able to download the digital files onto any computer, laptop, e-reader, tablet or smartphone. Once they do, the content is theirs to use for as long as they like.

All of Flat World’s content is free of digital rights management and unlike other etextbooks, doesn’t expire after six months. Students who prefer a physical book will have the option to buy a low-cost print book through the UWindsor bookstore’s print-on-demand service.

Flat World’s open licensing model gives UWindsor faculty the ability and online tools to revise, remix and incorporate their own contributions into the content, so it more directly relates to the focus and learning objectives of their course.

“We’re honored to be selected by the University of Windsor as their partner in Canada’s first etextbook licensing program,” says Jeff Shelstad, founder of Flat World Knowledge. “UWindsor is leading the way in using digital technology and high quality open content to increase access, affordability and personalization—key factors to improving student retention and outcomes.”

The Leddy Library has been buying e-resources beginning with e-journals in the late 1990s, and now there are over a million e-books in our collection, according to Ebbett.

“Libraries play a key role in the teaching and learning activities on our campuses,” she says. “In fact it is incumbent on us to show leadership, since part of our mission is to stay informed about new technologies and resources for the delivery of core academic content to our students and faculty.”