IU was recently recognized as a 2013 Laureate by IDG Enterprise’s Computerworld Honors Program, according to a press release. The annual award program honors visionary information technology applications that encourage positive social, economic and educational change. IU earned the distinction for the eTexts initiative and recent wireless network upgrade to ensure reliable, secure access to digital materials, according to the release.
The eTexts program allows students to work with textbooks or faculty-edited course packs on nearly any computer, tablet or smartphone. The eTexts deals also include additional learning methods, such as simulations, tutorials and labs.
“The primary goal of IU’s eTexts initiative is to reduce the cost of course materials for students on all eight campuses,” Brad Wheler, IU vice president for IT and CIO, said in the release. “In 2009, IU began trials of new business models in anticipation of digital textbooks and mobile devices. We had long saved students money through bundled licensing of Microsoft and Adobe software, and digital course materials were an obvious next opportunity.”
Wheeler said that by working with IU faculty, students, publishers and Courseload’s common eReader/annotation software platform, IT was able to initiate the transition that directly saved IU students hundreds of thousands of dollars over other options, according to the release.
“We are honored that our work has been recognized by Computerworld in this way,” Wheeler said in the release.
Nearly 10,000 IU students in 250 course sections used eTexts in areas such as foreign languages, sciences and business in the spring 2013 semester, according to the release. In order to support this move to digital, IU embarked on a wireless network upgrade. Improvements on IU’s two main campuses, Bloomington and Indianapolis, were completed in 2012. Upgrades on all campuses will be completed this year. After the upgrade is complete, the network will have nearly 6,500 access points, according to the release.
“Technology continues to play a pivotal role in transforming how business and society function,” John Amato, Computerworld vice president and publisher, said in the release. “For the past 25 years the Computerworld Honors Program has had the privilege of celebrating innovative IT achievements. Computerworld is honored to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the 2013 class of Laureates and to share their work. These projects demonstrate how IT can advance organizations’ ability to compete, innovate, communicate and prosper.”
The Computerworld Honors Laureates will be recognized at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC on June 3 at the Gala Evening Awards Ceremony.