Apple iPads begin replacing text books at Unitec Institute of Technology

“Unitec has become the first New Zealand tertiary institute to use iPads to deliver tailored course literature electronically,” Unitec reports. “To make study easier and more efficient for those at the start of their Bachelor of Business degrees, lecturer James Oldfield has ditched the books and gone digital in what could be a test case for other departments. By replacing hefty textbooks with tablets loaded with relevant course information, Oldfield says first year students taking accounting and finance and marketing and management papers get just what they need.”

“Instead of purchasing a series of expensive books students access tailored course literature on a tablet. ‘In the first four courses we have created a series of multi-touch textbooks using iBooks Author that they get for free so they are no longer required to buy text books,’ Oldfield says,” Unitec reports. “Students need an iPad of their own and to get everyone up and running a deal between Unitec and JB Hi-Fi allowed them to get a discounted package. It worked out that the money saved on books would cover the basic package.”

Unitec reports, “Oldfield says while the programme is limited to just the first year courses now, as students advance through their studies and e-publishing becomes more widespread the devices could be used across other courses.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]


  1. Great business model: give content away for free. Make up the cost by volume?

    I’ve written five textbooks. One of them took six years to develop and hone. If the return on my investment of time, energy, and expertise is 0, then that’s also the amount of effort I’ll put into updating or writing new books.

    1. It is about time. Other industries have had to adapt, like audio cassetes & VHS.

      There is not one subject out there that can not be learned, rewritten and modified with new info into an e/iBook. That new iBook can distributed for whatever price or no price a teacher or university wants to charge.

      Authors of paper books may decry the trend or … they create their own iBooks. Physical paper book writers do not have a monopoly. Students rejoice.

      I literally can not see paying $100 for a math, biology, statistics or science book in paper format.

      Today we want or must be able to search back for specific data and images later and you just can’t do that quickly with a 400 page text.

    2. Jim, if your textbook were an eBook then you could have developed several CHAPTERs and started selling them years earlier. So you would have had revenue sooner and students would have had more current material. With lower overhead and printing costs, you also could charge less and therefore reach a larger market. The education system must change and it should start with text books.

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