Methods Of Use Of An Online Economics Textbook / American Journal of Business Education / 3 (11): 39-43 / 2010 / Jon R. Miller, Lori Baker-Eveleth
The rising cost of college textbooks over the last decade provides an opportunity for alternatives. Electronic or online textbooks are an effective substitute to the traditional paper-based textbooks, although students have been slow to transition to the new method. A custom, professor-written online textbook not only addresses the reduction in cost, but also creates a better connection to the material in the course and allows for frequent updates and error corrections. Issues related to reading an online textbook are explored and evidence of methods of student use of the text is provided.
Conclusion And Future Research
We are now in the fifth year of use of a custom, professor- written online text in an introductory economics course. The online textbook has reduced textbook cost, both monetary and non-monetary, performed well (in the opinion of students) as a learning tool; but it has not been read by the majority of students only in an electronic form. Our results confirm, on a very limited scale, the reluctance to read texts electronically mentioned in the emerging literature. Continued research will help to determine whether the trend in electronic reading is upward, in our specific context, and why electronic textbook reading is not growing more rapidly, in general, in an era where print newspapers are contracting daily. We currently are engaged in a university-wide study of the determinants of adoption and use of electronic text methods on our campus and await other studies on other campuses and in other online learning environments.