University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover


The Academic Technology Showcase provides members of the University community an opportunity to show colleagues how they are using technology to drive innovation in teaching, learning, and research.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union

Topic: eBooks

eText: A Collaborative Approach to a Pilot Project

Background: In November 2011, Indiana University, which initiated a formal eText pilot in 2009, invited other institutions to participate in a spring semester 2012 pilot. Five institutions agreed including the University of Minnesota, University of California ‐ Berkeley, Cornell University, University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin. At the University of Minnesota, Vice Provosts Bob McMaster and Billie Wahlstrom were identified as executive sponsors and a project management team was formed to address timelines, deliverables, challenges, risks, and metrics. The team only had about eight weeks to finalize the legal and financial aspects, select faculty participants, integrate the technology, and prepare students. The project depended upon a highly collaborative model which included several Provost’s Office units (Distributed Education and Instructional Technology, Undergraduate Education, Faculty Affairs, and Student Affairs), Disability Services, Office of Information Technology, University of Minnesota Bookstores, University Libraries, Institutional Research, and Office of General Counsel. The project team also includes a representative from the Senate Committee for Educational Policy (SCEP), a faculty member and a student from one of the classes in the pilot.


The eText pilot project has three major goals:

1) Conducting a pilot of the use of eTextbooks for a limited number of classes during spring semester 2012 using a multi-unit project team approach;

2) Collaborating with other Internet2 members to explore the impact of eTexts in different higher education settings; and

3) Exploring and understanding how students with disabilities — including those who use screen readers — can access and navigate material through the Courseload application.

The pilot integrates the Courseload eReader software and McGraw-Hill content with the University’s course management system (Moodle) and single sign‐on to provide access to eTextbooks. Faculty and students can read, annotate and print eTexts via most browsers on laptops, desktops, and tablets. The eTextbook pilot project gives the University an opportunity to quickly pilot eTexts while taking advantage of contracts that have already been negotiated with publishers and software providers and allows us to learn from our peers. A multi-institutional research component is a key element of the pilot. The team plans to produce a final report in June 2012.

More Information is available at:

Project Team:

Bob McMaster, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education (Executive Sponsor)
Billie Wahlstrom, Vice Provost for Distributed Education and Instructional Technology (Executive Sponsor)
Susan Engelmann, Distributed Education and Instructional Technology (Co-Chair)
Bob Rubinyi, Distributed Education and Instructional Technology (Co-Chair)
Suzanne Bardouche, Office of Undergraduate Education
Tom Brothen, Senate Committee on Educational Policy
Greg Brown, Office of General Counsel
Brad Cohen, Office of Information Technology
Sehoya Cotner, Associate Professor
Bob Crabb, University of Minnesota Bookstores
Sandra Ecklein, Distributed Education and Instructional Technology
Ole Gram, Faculty and Academic Affairs
Ron Huesman, Office of Institutional Research
Brittany Lloyd, Office of Information Technology
Elizabeth McClurg, Undergraduate Student
Tonu Mikk, Disability Services
Peggy Mann Rinehart, Disability Services
Amelious Whyte, Office of Student Affairs
Karen Williams, University Libraries Participating

Participating Faculty:

Sehoya Cotner, Biology, CBS
David Fan, Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, CBS
Rhonda Franklin, Electrical and Computer Engineering, CSE
Donald Liu, Applied Economics, CFANS
Helen Moser, Finance, CSOM
Nathan Springer and Peter Tiffin, Plant Biology, CBS
Teresa Swartz, Sociology, CLA
Henriette Warren, Child Development, CEHD

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Last modified on May 21, 2013.