Wednesday, 23 March 2011

E-Textbook study

The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus Blog reports that California State University is running one of the nation’s largest pilot studies of e-textbooks, involving thousands of students, and it seems that whether or not students like digital textbooks depends on the terms  publishers set on how the ebooks can be used.  Usage terms such as whether a student can print the whole book or only a portion of it, or whether the text can be downloaded to a computer or only accessed online, have a strong effect on how students view the ebooks.
The university system has prepared a preliminary report that was first reported last week by Converge Magazine.
The study involved 3,870 students in 30 courses where an e-textbook was assigned. Thousands more students were in a control group of similar courses using traditional textbooks. Of the 662 students who answered a survey after the fall semester about one-third said they were satisfied with the experience, one-third said they were neutral, and one-third said they were dissatisfied.
Students who were assigned e-textbooks were more likely to buy the book than those in courses that required traditional texts, which university officials took as a positive result. In the survey, 73 percent of students in e-textbook courses bought the course material, while only 46 percent of students in traditional courses bought the book. University officials believe that the lower cost of the electronic texts led to the increase.

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