Engage eText Pilot

The UW-Madison Engage eText Pilot started in spring 2018. The university is currently transitioning from an initial pilot phase to a broader, campus-wide eText service. A new website along with other developments will be forthcoming throughout summer and fall 2020.

Participating Courses and eTexts

View current and past participant courses.

eText Selection, Purchasing and Access

Instructors of participating courses are responsible for selecting the eText (and DLT*, if they choose) for their respective courses. The selected eText (and DLT, if applicable) is automatically pre-purchased for each student upon enrolling in the course. The eText is then made available via an integration between Engage and Canvas. Each student is charged the cost of the course’s eText (and DLT, if applicable) by the Bursar’s Office via their tuition bill.

Students are only charged for each eText once and DO NOT need to buy a print version of the text. If students are financial aid recipients, the aid will be applied to the cost as appropriate. Refunds for course drops will follow standard tuition refund rules.

Students who seek accessibility accommodations should contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center. For more information about accessibility considerations in Engage, review this KnowledgeBase article.

*Note: Digital learning tools (DLT) are all other non-text digital/electronic learning materials (including publisher’s online learning and study environments, game simulations, online courses, and other interactive materials). DLT are hosted on the publisher’s websites (not in Canvas). Examples of DLT include Cengage MindTap, Pearson’s MyLab and Mastering series, and Pearson Revel.

Option to Opt Out

Students may opt out of purchasing their course’s eText (and DLT, if applicable); however, this is not recommended. By opting out, students:

  • Lose access to all features and benefits of the eText (as well as the course’s DLT, if applicable, as you cannot opt out of one or the other). Some of the specific features and benefits that would be forfeited include:
    • Significant cost-savings
    • Additional content that the instructor might add to the eText, such as links to other content; additional supplemental resources; and highlights, annotations, and study tips to guide engagement and learning in the course
    • The ability to engage, interact, and collaborate with classmates and the instructor within the eText, which in some courses is factored into grading and could significantly impact your success
    • The ability to print up to 50 pages of the text at a time, for free (for courses using only an eText)
    • The ability to purchase a printed loose leaf copy of the text at the UW Bookstore (only applicable for specific courses)
  • Become responsible for acquiring legally obtained, alternate versions of all required course materials.
  • Risk falling behind in the course if alternate versions of the same materials are not acquired prior to the first day of the class.

This list is not comprehensive as students may miss other benefits depending on the specific course and instructor.

Before opting out, students should review the conditions, considerations and potential consequences outlined in this KnowledgeBase document.

If, after careful consideration and a conversation with their instructors (recommended), students still choose to opt out, they will need to complete and submit a formal opt-out request form (located in the aforementioned KB document).


The UW-Madison Engage eText Pilot began in spring 2018 as part of the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative.

The pilot was established with the aim to reduce the costs of course materials for students, while advancing the student learning experience and exploring the potential for broader implementation of eTexts at UW-Madison.

In switching to eTexts, savings are typically between 40%-80% per textbook. Read the official ASM eText resolution press release and formal legislation around eTexts.

Why Engage?

The university primarily use the Unizin Engage platform via an integration with Canvas for eTexts. Engage is an eText reader available to UW-Madison, at no additional cost, as part of the university’s membership in the Unizin Consortium. The Unizin Engage platform provides:

  • an overall more affordable option than what UW-Madison or individual students could obtain on their own.
  • significantly lower prices for eTexts (typically 40% to 80% off list print prices).
  • instructors and university control over annotation features and usage data.
  • a consistent user experience.
  • publisher software packages at discounted prices, which typically allow students to retain access to the eText for as long as they are a student at UW-Madison. (Such access is typically longer than what individual publishers currently provide.)
  • the ability to print the eTexts.

Campus Sponsors

  • Associated Students of Madison (ASM)
  • Office of the Provost
  • DoIT Academic Technology
  • Office of the Registrar


General inquiries about the pilot can be sent to eTexts@doit.wisc.edu. For technical support, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.