Associated Students of Madison Shared Governance Committee explored the educational and financial benefits of online learning and e-textbooks at University of Wisconsin Wednesday.

Inclusive access is a model for textbook sales in which textbooks are converted into e-textbooks which would be available online, vice provost for teaching and learning Steven Cramer said. The price of the books would be included in every student’s tuition bill, which would mean that textbooks would be available at anywhere between 30 and 80 percent off their print price.

Students enrolled in classes with inclusive access textbooks can opt out, although less than one percent of students in these classes choose to do so, Cramer said.

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Committee Chair Deena Whitwam hoped students would be able to receive estimates on how much a course book would cost them before the start of the semester. But with the limited size of the current program and with publishers still coming on board, Cramer said it wouldn’t be possible by the start of the fall semester.

“It was a heavy lift with 16 lousy courses,” Cramer said. “What we’re talking about here is changing a culture.”

Cramer also sought input on the possibility of expanding the scope of online classes at UW. Only about 350 classes are taught online at the university, and only one undergraduate program is fully online, well behind many other universities, Cramer said.

Students spoke about the benefits that increased online curriculum could have for students coping with disabilities like anxiety.

Whitwam added that she preferred blended course curriculum.

“I think the exams are more legitimate when you’re not Googling all the answers,” Whitwam said.

Cramer also fielded questions about curriculum standardization, like the new standardized syllabus on Canvas, and UW’s credit hour policy.

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Cramer said the syllabus is a part of UW’s goal for instructors to make clear and consistent expectations for students early in the semester. While the format is not required, it must include information on how the course meets the credit hour policy and tangible learning goals.

Cramer also hopes that instructors will gravitate toward it because of its ease of use.

“You shouldn’t be fishing around four or five weeks into a course and not have laid out expectations,” said Cramer.