Students, faculty want more support for eTextbooks

47 percent of undergraduates wish their teachers used more eTextbooks.

Faculty and students seem to agree that digital course materials will figure heavily in the future of higher education, but instructors are struggling to find the time and support to actually adopt eTextbooks in the classroom, according to a study released by the Educause Center for Analysis and Research.

The report examined 23 colleges and universities that collaborated with Educause, Internet2, McGraw Hill, and the eTextbook provider Courseload in a pilot program that provided eTextbooks to more than 5,000 students and faculty in nearly 300 courses.

“While IT clearly has a role to play to support, deliver and help design new methods of providing digital course materials, it must collaborate and co-lead with many other groups,” the authors of the report recommended. “Each institution has a different culture and a different set of strategic priorities that will influence its e-materials strategy, projects and services, but all we need to work across multiple platforms.”

The study found that less than half of the faculty incorporated the digital texts into their courses, and just 40 percent of students said they received in-class orientation for the eTextbooks.

The adoption of digital course materials can’t merely involve faculty, the authors said, but empower and incentivize them.

In courses where faculty adopted eTextbooks with more aplomb, students said they had more positive experiences with the digital course materials.

See Page 2 for what effect eTextbooks have on a student’s studying habits.

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