three people smiling
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 2:29pm

Preliminary results from an interdepartmental research project suggest that University of Iowa students prefer good, old-fashioned paper textbooks to their electronic counterparts.

A collaborative effort between the College of Education and the UI’s Information Technology Services (ITS) attempts to illuminate the connection between student learning and e-textbook use as well as students’ feelings on e-textbooks’ usability and convenience.

“Typically, when the use of electronic texts and e-readers have been examined, researchers haven’t studied what students are actually doing with these texts and how they may or may not impact their learning,” says Kathy Schuh, an associate professor of educational psychology.

Schuh is working with Samuel Van Horne (PhD ’11), assessment coordinator in ITS-Instructional Services and the Office of the Provost, and graduate student Jae-Eun Russell (MA ‘01/MA ’03), an instructional designer in ITS-Instructional Services. The team’s research is an offshoot of a larger nationwide pilot program to introduce e-textbooks to students at 50 colleges and universities.

The nationwide pilot, sponsored by higher education technology consortiums Internet2 and EDUCAUSE, gives students a chance to try out electronic textbooks for free. Approximately 900 UI students were involved in the pilot this fall.