Kentucky State University (KSU) is one of two institutions in the country that has partnered with Pearson to provide digital course materials free for all undergraduate and graduate-level students. The second institution is Jones County Junior College in Mississippi, which also offers digital access for the full campus.

“Some traditional textbooks can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 apiece,” said Aaron Thompson,  interim president of KSU. “Some students simply cannot afford to buy all the textbooks required for their course load. We want our students to be successful, and numerous studies have shown that if students do not have their books during the first few days of school, their success rate is seriously diminished.”

KSU has partnered with Pearson Education and Bookshelf by VitalSource to equip students with digital educational resources at the start of the fall 2016 semester.

“One of our goals…is preparing students for the 21st century through technological instruction and pedagogical theory,” said Jennifer Miles, academic technology trainer, distance education, KSU. “Because being prepared and providing equitable resources lead to student success, through Dr. Thompson’s leadership, each student was provided a book scholarship to help reduce overall costs associated to higher education.”

As the Blackboard Systems Administrator, Miles described the integration of eTextbooks as “seamless.” eTextbooks use the latest, interactive technology that is grounded in research and the practice of teaching.

“Many of our instructors, such as James Obielodan…believes the eTextbook initiative increases student engagement and promotes meaningful and significant learning experiences,” continued Miles.

KSU also provides free online tutoring 24/7–for both on campus and distance students. “The eTextbook initiative sparked a variety of academic support structures, such as a new laptop checkout system at residence halls, computer labs, and the library,” said Miles.

“eTextbooks not only allow students the opportunity to engage and master using technology throughout the learning experience, but because all students receive a book scholarship, costs associated to earning a four-year degree are significantly cut,” Miles concluded.

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