digital course materials

Report: Use of digital course material increases

Students spend less on course materials than a decade ago, as number of materials purchased remains steady

Ease of access and lower costs are two major drivers for the increase in digital course materials among college students, according to a twice-yearly national survey.

The preference for digital course materials by college students is gradually increasing, although not as quickly as some predicted, according to the National Association of College Stores’ (NACS) survey of college students in the U.S. and Canada.

The study, Student Watch: Attitudes and Behaviors toward Course Materials: 2015-2016 Report, notes that 40 percent of students still prefer a printed textbook format. However, 26 percent now prefer a print/digital bundle – a print textbook with a digital component such as online access and support – up from 24 percent a year ago. Convenience (56 percent) and lower cost (45 percent) remain the top reasons for purchasing digital.

Roughly 60 percent of surveyed students used at least one digital course component, such as an e-textbook or an online access code, during the fall 2015 semester. Seventy-five percent of surveyed students said they have used a digital learning component at least once in their college careers, while 17 percent said they have not.

(Next page: Student spending on course materials has steadily declined)

Laura Ascione