Co-op provides free online course materials

Anna Canizales

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

The University Co-op is providing free access to textbooks online for all students, according to an email sent Monday to faculty from Michael Kiely, University Co-op Director of Course Materials. 

VitalSource Helps is a program designed to support students and instructors who may have lost access to course materials after their campus moves to online learning to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, according to its website. Kiely said VitalSource, the Co-op’s digital course materials provider, spent all weekend contacting publishers to make this happen.

The e-books can be downloaded offline, and one individual account can access up to seven titles, according to the VitalSource website.

Kiely said this service is available to most universities across the country between now and May 25 to make sure students have all of the materials they need. He said the program does not include custom course materials. 

“Hopefully, more publishers will step up and give VitalSource permission for this program,” Kiely said. “I really wanted to get it out there quickly to faculty and students. I’m just hoping the faculty will forward that URL to students.” 

Kiely said the email was sent to professors but not to students because the Co-op does not have every student’s email address.

He said the service will only work for email accounts ending in “.edu” to ensure that only students and faculty have access.