The University of Adelaide planned to make the textbooks and courseware for its science degrees available to students for free through Apple's iPad tablet and other laptops.
A university spokesman told iTnews that it would "phase out requirements for printed textbooks and to become completely open source, meaning students will eventually not need to pay for textbooks - either hard copy or electronic".
Students would access "lecture notes, audio, background documents and textbooks through tailored web-based apps" either on their own hardware devices or on a subsidised iPad.
From next year, hundreds of first-year science students at the university would receive a free iPad under a plan to "revolutionise the way science is taught at the university", according to the institution.
It was unclear who was paying for the devices or under what arrangement they were supplied.
"The details of discussions between Apple and the Faculty [of Sciences] - ie, commercial considerations - should remain between them," a university spokesman said.
Faculty executive dean Bob Hill described the project as a "long-term initative" in a statement issued on Saturday.
"It will take a couple of years to phase out all the printed textbooks and review and transfer all of the content to the iPad," Hill said.
"By 2012 onwards, we expect to roll out fully online versions of our first-year science courses.
"Students enrolling in a science course in 2011 will be the very first to see the significant benefits of the iPad-enhanced curriculum."
The university said it wanted to transfer "all learning content to an electronic version... including many currently printed textbooks for first-year students sometime in 2012".
They could view the materials "via a standard computer/laptop or in a printed copy; however the iPad will enhance their learning experience significantly," the university claimed.
And it said it was possible the iPad program would expand "to other academic areas... following evaluation of this first roll out".