Virginia State University receives US$50,000 digital textbook grant from energy producer Dominion Resources to expand digital textbook pilot project

PETERSBURG, Virginia , August 22, 2011 (press release) – Dominion Resources has awarded Virginia State University $50,000 to expand a digital textbook pilot project aimed at reducing costs and increasing student retention. The grant is part of more than $200,000 in grants by Dominion to colleges and community colleges in Central Virginia to support programs in business, skilled craft, engineering, environmental and technical studies, and for student-led conservation programs.

The VSU grant will equip students in the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business with real-time learning assessments, access to educational networking and allow for increased interaction. The contribution will sustain the School of Business’s Digital Instruction Project by purchasing seat licenses for Flat World open source textbooks.

The school piloted the use of these textbooks in during the 2010-11 school year, saving students more than $200,000 and increasing student success. The project last year was conducted in nine core School of Business classes and, with Dominion’s grant, will be expanded this year to 16 classes.

Open source digital texts cost about $20 per text, as compared to more than $250 for some accounting and finance texts. Moreover, instructors can tailor the texts to their specific classes and update them continuously with topical case studies.

Dr. Mirta Martin, Dean of the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business, said she is delighted to be able to sustain and expand the use of open source digital texts. “Before using adopting digital texts, more than 40 percent of our students tried to get by without class texts because of the expense,” she said. With Dominion’s generous investment, our students will have access to class texts and a wide range of study tools.”

“Dominion is privileged to support college-level learning,” said Virginia M. Board, president of The Dominion Foundation. “We are especially interested in funding action-oriented projects that produce results in energy conservation and the preservation of the environment.” The grants were made through The Dominion Foundation, the company’s charitable arm.

Dominion, its charitable foundation and its employees last year donated $24 million and more than 150,000 volunteer hours in programs that helped improve the quality of life for people in the states in which Dominion operates. The Dominion Foundation’s focus areas include preservation of natural resources, work force development and education, diversity initiatives, neighborhood and community development, and basic needs for food and shelter.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,200 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.

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