CourseSmart eTextbooks Accessible and Cost-Efficient, Survey Finds

STEPP Project from CourseSmart, Alternative Media Access Center and AccessText Network Effectively Supporting Students with Print Related Disabilities
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Aug. 10, 2012 - PRLog -- SAN MATEO, Calif., August 10, 2012 – CourseSmart®, the world’s largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials, today announced the results of a survey evaluating the STudent E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP), an innovative, eTextbook rental program developed by Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) and AccessText Network (ATN) following a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The survey of 1,185 students partaking in STEPP found that 77% reported that they saved money by renting their eTextbook instead of buying a print version and the majority of students (80%) who needed an accessible textbook were satisfied with the quality of accessibility.

The survey was commissioned to measure the success of the project against its primary goals of improving low-cost access to higher education eTextbooks for all students, including those with print-related disabilities such as blindness or dyslexia. On average, students save 50% or more off the retail cost and are able to access their textbooks anytime, anywhere. The majority of students reported a positive experience in renting a digital textbook and 78% of students indicated that the accessible eTextbook provided them with that they needed for class.

“We could not be more pleased to be a part of the STEPP Project, an effort that should be applauded for its mission to level the playing field in higher education. The economic realities of earning a college education make it paramount that all students find savings, and this program ensures that students with print related disabilities can not only enjoy the cost benefits, but also capitalize on the countless digital efficiencies of eTextbooks that their peers have appreciated for years,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart.  “It is encouraging that so early in the program, we are already meeting our goals and we look forward to continuing to work with AMAC and ATN to help ensure all students can enjoy the benefits of eTextbooks.”

The STEPP project, initially announced in October 2010 and designed to offer eTextbooks that are specifically modified for accessibility in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, marked the first time students with disabilities could enjoy the benefits of significant cost savings inherent in an eTextbook rental program. The eTextbooks that are part of the program are digitally formatted for qualified students and distributed through CourseSmart.

“CourseSmart’s eTextbooks were incredibly easy to use and they provided me with an accessible reading experience. From navigating through the chapters and pages to searching with keywords, I did not experience any issues,” said Rich Cavallaro, a computer information technology student at Hofstra University who is participating in the STEPP Project. “Renting the digital textbook also cost much less than it would have cost to buy the print version and scan it into my computer. I will surely recommend CourseSmart’s accessible textbooks to other college students.”

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About CourseSmart®
As the world’s largest provider of digital course materials, CourseSmart® connects education publishers to consumers by providing an efficient distribution platform for their best-selling content in digital form. Founded in 2007, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company provides services to four business segments: Online direct retail for students; Indirect distribution of course materials to students through bookstores; Online faculty textbook evaluation services; and Institutional solutions for faculty and students that are integrated within campus technology ecosystems. CourseSmart improves the educational process and experience by offering all users anywhere, any-time access to the course content they need, including those with vision- and print-related disabilities. With more than 90% of the same core titles offered by major print publishers, the company's eTextbooks can be purchased for up to 60% less than the cost of new print textbooks. For more information about CourseSmart, visit the company’s Web site at
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