You are viewing the new AUSU.org, an updated web site to provide services to AUSU members. We'll have a grand-opening soon, but for now we're making sure everything works properly and getting all our services back online.
If you notice any problems with the new site, send Tamra an email at email@example.com. We'll send out some random prizes for useful error reports, BUT PLEASE CHECK THE ISSUES LIST BELOW FIRST to make sure the error you are reporting isn't already on our list!
The new navigation is based on three core sections: GOVERNANCE (council policies, bios, minutes, etc.), SERVICES (what we offer our members), and MEMBERS (ways to connect with fellow students). This grouping should make it easier for you to find what you need, though there may be a small learning curve if you are used to the old site. However, we have taken pains to change as few links as possible so your old bookmarks should still work.
Some new features you'll want to check out include the live chat option (the pink box on the lower right) and large navigation buttons to make it much easier to get around with a touch screen. The site will be further optimized for mobile devices as we proceed.
The course evaluations remain offline for now: the system was very old and created by a third party, so we can no longer update it. However, a new evaluations system is high on the priority list and we will make sure to retain the old data in some format.
This story will be updated as the site work progresses. For now these items are on our to-do list (in other words, no need to report these ones to us because we know about them already):
- creating sub menus on the big navigation buttons
- course evaluations on-line
- a new Clubs system (the existing clubs forums remain functional)
- preventing live help window from shifting to the right on larger monitors
AUSU is providing these tips to help students transition to electronic textbooks in AU courses. This information is based on the best info available as of the last update of this document. As the eBook initiative is still in development, some things might change. AU is the only source of official information on this and all course offerings!
Should I purchase an ebook reader to view my eTexts?
AUSU advises that you hold off on the purchase of a device to read eTexts at AU, because there are several factors to consider, including:
- Not all devices will work for accessing AU texts. Traditional eBook readers (Kobo, Kindle, Nook, etc.) are NOT supported at this time. Only devices with full web functionality will work, such as the iPad or the Kindle Fire (a completely different device from the regular Kindle or Kindle Paperwhite). Of course, any laptop or desktop computer will also work. Some phones will work too.
- eTexts will be introduced in phases (see below for information on which courses will be the first to transition). Depending on your study schedule, it may be many months or more than a year before your courses include electronic books.
- We are hoping that the university will be able to arrange discounts to help people purchase e-reading devices. Nothing is certain at this time, but it may be worth waiting before making an expensive purchase. AUSU may also be offering bursaries to assist with the purchase.
When will AU courses transition to eTexts?
eTexts are being phased in across all undergraduate courses at AU. The first phase will begin September, 2013, though you may not receive electronic books immediately after this date. The university has stockpiles of books in the Course Materials centre and will use these up before moving to electronic books. The length of time this takes will vary greatly.
For more information on the project students should see this page on the AU site: eText website.
Select the link titled "Phase 1 list of courses" to see which courses will be making the transition first. We do not yet know when phase 2 will begin, nor do we know when students will actually receive eTexts for courses that are on the phase 1 list. We have been told that the course syllabi will be updated to indicate eTexts are included with the course when the transition is complete.
Many courses will continue to ship with hard copy books as the project is phased in: AU will also be using up stockpiles of books which may further delay the transition to etexts for some courses.
I already know about eTexts because I'm in a course that uses them. This is the same, right?
The eText initiative is a university-wide project that will encompass all undergraduate courses at AU (grad courses will be included later on). Some professors have individually added eTexts to their courses using a variety of online services, but these courses do not reflect the nature of eTexts that will be part of the larger project, nor do they necessarily use the same or similar software. eTexts delivered as part of the new project will be delivered through a software platform known as VitalSource.
Will course fees change when eTexts are implemented?
No: you will continue to pay the same amount for the Learning Resources fee, regardless of whether you get hard copy or electronic books.
Will books be printable?
Probably, but with limitations. Under the user agreement students are permitted to print their books and will not be in violation of usage if they print out a copy for personal use. However, as far as we know at this time you will not have an option to print the entire book in a single operation. You may have to print one page at a time. This does not permit students to take their file to a print shop, but should facilitate home printing. We are waiting to have access to a book for testing to learn more about the print option.
How many devices will you be able to use to access your books?
At this time, we understand that you will be able to install your texts on up to two computers, AND up to two mobile devices.
Will I have a choice to get a hard copy book?
No: for courses that have transitioned to eTexts, you will only have the option to receive the electronic version of the text with your course registration. You will have the option to purchase a hardcopy directly from the manufacturer (and you will be given the university discount rate), but this will not release you from paying the regular course materials fee for the electronic copy. AUSU is working with the university to try to reinstate the option to buy hardcopy books, and we’ll update you if there are changes.
What should I know before using eTexts?
We do have a few tips for you at this time: these are subject to change as we know more.
- The VitalSource software will include an option to take notes. This may be very convenient, but we want to make students aware that the user agreement makes clear that your notes are not guaranteed to be secure. In all likelihood you can rely on the software to save your information throughout the course, but if a software error occurs that deletes your information, you will not have any recourse. Also, you should know that the information you enter will be kept on a cloud server in the US, not on your local computer. At this time we recommend that you print out or otherwise backup any notes you enter into the software.