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Student and faculty experience with e-textbooks

February 17, 2011

Today's presenters shared their experiences using e-textbooks in large classes in the Departments of Geography and Political Science.  Randye Rutberg discussed her use of two etextbooks - one exclusively on the publisher's site and one with materials (practice quizzes, flash cards, and links to the eTextbook) that can be incorporated into a Blackboard course site through a course cartridge.  Randye also added her own materials such as interactive Google Earth exercises and additional test questions.  Randye believes that working with the interactive materials may have contributed to a rise in test scores and plans to explore this possibility further.

Ann Cohen, Jennifer Hopper, Charles Tien, talked about a custom etextbook with readings compiled from the holdings of a publisher. They surveyed the students at the beginning and end of the semester about their experience purchasing and using the etextbook.  Most students had little trouble purchasing and using the e-textbook; however, students indicated that they were more comfortable with hard copy books and were not more likely to do the reading with e-books.  Factors that may contribute to successful experiences with e-books include:

  • e-books must be downloadable, printable, and produce significant savings for students
  • better transfer among electronic formats
  • better adaptability to student study styles
  • enabling faculty to insert their own materials