Could your class go from this to this?
In a recent poll of CAS students, it was found by overwhelming results that students would like to have an eBook or eTextbook option for their classes. Of the 446 students over the age of 19 who responded to the survey over 85% found access to their textbook in an eBook or eText format as well as traditional textbook format to be some level of useful ranging from somewhat useful to very useful. This brings about some important questions for educators as they prepare this summer for the fall semester – What is the deal with eTextbooks? Is the book associated with the class available in an electronic format? How does an eTextbook work?
Texts books that are available in an electronic version or format are called eTextbooks. These books can be read on tablets, smartphones, computers, and many other devices. They allow students to have unlimited access to their books. Often these electronic versions of textbooks also supply an additional element of engagement and interaction, bringing the text into the digital age. These eTextbooks are available for students at more and more places as the trend increases, including Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barns and Noble, and the iTunes Store. One interesting fact about eTextbooks is that they are very often sold at a reduced price from the traditional textbook format. As eTextbooks first came on the scene, publishers and the public where in a battle over high traditional textbook prices. As a means of compromise they settled to sell digital textbooks for a 40-50% discount. “They did this at a time when there was growing pressure from state legislatures over textbook prices and bundling, and at a time where there was no discernible revenue actually being derived from the sale of these products” (Reynolds, 2011). However, the rise in demand for eTextbooks has never been higher, internationally. And this is a trend that is only projected to continue to grow.
Publishers are now working with different Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard to include eTexbook plugins that make the access to these books seamless by integrating them directly into the course shells. Publishers are also working to make these electronic textbook options more interactive and engaging by including things such as flashcards, study sheets, and adaptive learning study devices. Educators can also select parts of different electronic textbooks to build their own highly personalized text that fits their individual courses.
As educators begin to revamp and update courses for the fall, it might be a great time to think about including an eTextbook option for students. Talk to your book publisher and see if there is an eTextbook version available or if there is a book with an eTextbook version that would fit your course. There are many possibilities out there – educators just need to start the conversation.
To see learn more about the research done by i2T2 concerning communicating with digital natives please click the following link: Communicating with Digital Native Research
Reynolds, R. (July 27th, 2011). Wither E-textbooks in Higher Education — Price and Availability. Retrieved from http://blog.xplana.com/2011/07/wither-e-textbooks-in-higher-education-price-and-availability/