As part of a two-year partnership, McGraw-Hill Education is making its complete catalog of e-books and adaptive learning products available to all 65,000 students enrolled at the University of Minnesota at a discounted rate starting in fall 2012.

Under the program, the University of Minnesota Bookstores will identify the digital materials each instructor needs for classes and bill students’ bursar accounts directly. Students will have automatic and immediate digital access to course content through the college’s learning management system.

“We are pleased to partner with McGraw-Hill for this first-of-its-kind program,” said Bob Crabb, director of University of Minnesota Bookstores. “We view this as a strong opportunity to increase e-book usage on campus while keeping costs down for students. It’s also an opportunity for us to expand our traditional retail model and begin to move toward a service bureau model.”

At the University of Minnesota, McGraw-Hill’s e-books can interface with the company’s suite of online learning platforms, including McGraw-Hill Connect, an all-digital teaching and learning platform; McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, on online adaptive study tool; and Tegrity, a searchable lecture capture service. The university previously worked with McGraw-Hill on an earlier e-book pilot program in conjunction with with Internet2 and Courseload.

But McGraw-Hill’s program is just one of several projects being readied in the run up to the fall semester. The 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM) announced that it is partnering with Akademos, a turnkey virtual bookstore and marketplace, on a faculty-focused textbook search tool to run on the 20MM Web site. The Faculty Adoption Tool will include another new initiative at the University of Minnesota in its College of Education and Human Development—the Open Academics textbook catalog, a library of high-quality, publisher-grade open source textbooks.

“The 20MM faculty adoption search engine allows professor to view, contrast, and compare textbooks and other course materials within a given subject areas,” said president and CEO Dean Florez, former California State Senator. “Our goal is to provide faculty with the information they need to make an informed decision, including reviews and testimonials by verified faculty.” The tool includes the cost of the book in new, used, rental, and digital formats.