ICON Direct is a digital storefront for buying textbooks and course materials at a much lower cost than printed equivalents. Use has grown steadily since the first pilot in fall 2017, and savings to UI students are estimated at $1 million and counting as more instructors choose this option for their courses.
Digital materials used in ICON Direct are available through the University of Iowa’s membership in Unizin, a nonprofit consortium of universities. When instructors decide to provide an online textbook through ICON Direct, MyUI notifies students with a description of the book and its cost. Students can access the book up to a week before the semester, and the cost automatically appears on their U-Bill.
In addition to saving students money, ICON Direct is opening up new possibilities in teaching and learning. Students can search, annotate, and mark digital course materials, or pose questions to their instructors within the text. Instructors can see which passages students highlight or find challenging.