Online Community-College Students in Colorado Get a Break on Textbook Prices

The high cost of textbooks is driving some students to download illegal copies of textbooks online, and others to rent them for only a semester.

Colorado Community Colleges Online is offering students another option. The distance-learning program, a consortium of 13 institutions in the Colorado Community College System, has teamed up with Pearson Education to offer digital textbooks at a one-time cost of $49 per student. The deal is the first of its kind between a major publisher and a public college system according to Rhonda M. Epper, co-executive director of learning technology for the Colorado online system. The $49 fee is rolled in with tuition.

Students can print any and all sections of the digital textbooks. They can also purchase custom black-and-white print versions via participating campus bookstores.

The program is being phased in gradually, beginning this summer. At the end of the 2008-9 academic year, students in 17 courses will be able to take advantage of the digital textbooks. By the spring of 2011, the Colorado online system expects that most students will be using the digital texts. To make course material more affordable, the Colorado online system is also using wikibooks and content from the National Repository of Online Courses.Andrea L. Foster

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