Saturday, December 11, 2010

EQ > A Campus-Wide E-Textbook Initiative

Jon T. Rickman / Roger Von Holzen / Paul G. Klute / Teri Tobin

EQ / Volume 32 (2009) / Volume 32 / Number 2 / 2009

Key Takeways

  • A typical college student spends up to $1,000 per year on textbooks, and many students don’t buy textbooks at all because they’re too expensive.
  • E-textbooks can cost up to 50 percent less than standard textbooks while providing the foundation for integration of multiple learning resources into a single delivery system.
  • E-textbooks and their enhanced interactive learning resources also have the potential to accelerate student learning.
The cost of student textbooks is a growing concern among higher education’s constituency of students, parents, and state legislatures. [snip] At most universities a student typically goes to a bookstore to purchase the textbook recommended by the professor for a course. The student may choose to purchase a new or used textbook, or, as occurs more frequently now, an e-textbook (see "Electronic Books"). [snip]

Generally, e-textbooks are the digital media equivalent of printed textbooks, read on personal computers, e-readers, or smart phones. Any textbook can be a more powerful learning resource if augmented with review quizzes, recommended and targeted review readings, interactive learning activities, or video segments to reinforce important instructional concepts. These enhanced learning resources, which are much easier to integrate and deliver in the e-textbook format, have the potential to accelerate student learning. In the long haul, the success of e-textbooks will probably depend on their contributions to interactive learning and the convenience of integrating multiple learning resources into a single delivery system.

This article focuses on the process that Northwest Missouri State University followed in studying the feasibility of transitioning from the rental of traditional textbooks to the rental of e-textbooks, along with the extensive integration of e-textbooks across the university’s academic environment. (See "
Northwest Textbook Rental Program and Electronic Campus" for further details.) The process consisted of three phases, with changes made along the way to reflect feedback and insights gained from students, faculty, and administrators involved in the program.



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