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Middlesex students given free e-books

New scheme is the first time a UK university will provide e-books to all students as part of tuition fees

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | August 21, 2015 | Higher education

Every undergraduate and postgraduate at Middlesex University will receive their core textbooks for free over the duration of their course, starting from September. 

The textbooks will be provided as e-books and are being made available to students in partnership with Kortext and John Smith’s Bookshop, the specialist university bookseller. 

The scheme is managed by the university library service and has involved close consultation with academic staff to ensure that the books chosen will bring the maximum benefit to the students when studying. 

The e-books can be read on a wide range of devices including e-readers, phones, tablets or laptops and can be downloaded on up to five devices at a time. Students will be able to annotate the texts, making note-taking easier than if they were using a physical book, and find information more easily through electronic searches.

"This scheme not only helps students in terms of financial support, but has educational benefits in providing students with the essential learning materials they need to support their studies."

Matthew Lawson, Head of Library and Learner Development at Middlesex University, said: “In a competitive market, and with the cost of living a big factor, students are likely to compare the added value which different institutions have to offer in addition to the courses themselves.  

“This scheme not only helps students in terms of financial support, but has educational benefits in providing students with the essential learning materials they need to support their studies. An analytics function will also help us to understand how students are engaging with their learning materials.  We will be interested to observe how students interact with the e-books – at what stage they start reading and preparing for a piece of coursework, and whether there is a correlation between effective use of the e-textbooks and success in their degree.” 

A pilot scheme ran for around 5,000 students in the University’s Business and Law Schools over the last academic year. A survey undertaken after the pilot found that 97% of students rated the scheme as making a positive contribution to the cost of study and 95% rated the scheme positively in providing relevant course materials.

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