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Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

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OIT tests Amazon's Kindle e-reader in sustainability effort

Princeton's Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Princeton University Library are working with Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reader in a pilot project to study if using an electronic reader can reduce the use of paper at Princeton while preserving the benefits of the traditional classroom experience.

In the project titled "Toward Print-Less and Paper-Less Courses: Pilot Amazon Kindle Program," a small number of classes in the fall will use Amazon's wireless e-readers for their course materials. Readings for three courses will be loaded on Kindles. Several courses are under review for the pilot project, and the selections will be announced in the fall.

Participating students and faculty members in the selected courses will receive a free device that they may keep. The project is being supported by a gift from the High Meadows Foundation and falls under the University's Sustainability Plan.

At the end of the pilot project, OIT will assess what effects the readers have had on reducing printing and on teaching and learning in the selected courses. The results of that assessment will be made public at the end of the pilot project.

OIT has developed a website to provide information about the goals and logistics of the pilot e-reader project.

Princeton is one of six colleges and universities participating in the project, joining Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Reed College and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Princeton's project directors are Serge Goldstein, associate chief information officer and director of academic services, and Steven Sather, associate chief information officer and director of support services.

The Amazon Kindle pilot project is sponsored by OIT, Princeton University Library and the High Meadows Foundation. The High Meadows Foundation gift of term funds over four years was given to fund initiatives that support goals set forth in the "Research, education and civic engagement" section of the University's Sustainability Plan, which was announced in February of last year. It is one of the plan's three main areas, along with greenhouse gas emissions reduction and resource conservation.

Co-founders and trustees of the High Meadows Foundation are Carl Ferenbach, a 1964 Princeton graduate who is a member of the University's Board of Trustees, and his wife, Judy. Funding requests were evaluated by review panels of the Princeton Sustainability Committee using a formal request for proposal process.

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