Fill out the form here- LINK- if you are interested in pursuing an E-text adoption in your course.

If you are considering adopting an E-textbook for your course, we can help you decide whether using an E-textbook is right for you and your students. In ITS, we have conducted extensive research about instructor and student adoption of E-texts, and we translate that research into practical recommendations.

It is important to consider these aspects of using E-textbooks:                                           1. Students’ attitudes toward E-texts                                                                             2. Need for student training                                                                                             3. Ease of use                                                                                                                       4. Types of reading assignments                                                                                   5. Using etext in major exams                                                                                 6. Learning tools                                                                                                                 7. Price                                                                                                                                     8. Access in the Future                                                                                                              9. An E-text as an optional choice for students

Students’ attitudes toward E-texts

     Our assessment research at UI has shown that students who have more interest in using E-textbooks also tend to have a better experience with using the E-textbook for their course. Frustrated students do not always ask for help. Thus, one simple question to consider is how open to using E-textbooks your students are. A simple survey in class can perhaps identify students who are more resistant to E-textbooks, and we can provide resources and directions about helping students use E-textbooks more effectively.

Need for student training

     In our assessment, we found that students may use certain tools more if their use is worked into the course design. For example, some E-texts are interactive, and students can share ideas if they know how to use the feature. It is important to help students understand how to use these tools so that they can use them effectively for their learning. This way, the E-textbook can be more of a learning tool and not just a substitute for a paper book. The Center for Teaching can help you understand the potential of an E-textbook for such activities.

Ease of use

     Students are more likely to have positive experiences with E-textbooks when they are easy to use. Thus, you might consider

·      Is the content of a good visual quality? Does the text render well on a laptop browser?

·      Are the mark-up tools easy to use?

·      Does the E-text or content system have a good search function? Searching is one tool that students tend to like in an E-textbook system. 

Types of reading assignments

     Students seem to appreciate the ability to search for concepts and other information in e-textbooks that are easy to use. However, students often struggle with long readings. If your course will use long readings, you may want to consult with TLT about strategies for helping students avoid eyestrain. 

Using E-text in major exams

     You may want to consider the kinds of assessments you use. Do you allow your students to participate in open book tests? This can cause some difficulties when using an electronic version of the book because libraries do not usually keep enough copies of a paper version for students to use in an exam. 

Learning tools

     Would you like the E-text to be interactive? There are many different platforms out there, ranging from a simple PDF of the hardcover book, to platforms with many extra features. Some of the features of these platforms can include quizzing functionalities, grade books, student content uploading abilities, student-to-student and student-to-instructor communication tools, and more.


     In many cases, E-texts can save students money, but depending on the platform, E-texts may cost almost the same amount of money as the paper version- or even more. E-texts with more extensive features may be more costly, potentially negating any monetary savings for the students.

Access in the Future

     Will it be useful for the students to be able to keep this book in their possession throughout their college years or even after? Most often, E-texts are simply rented copies of the content, not downloadable for an extended period of time. Will there be useful resources on the Internet that can take the place of the book after the rent time expires?

An E-text as an optional choice for students

     It is not necessary to make the E-text mandatory. You can always communicate with the bookstore and have either the paper text or the E-text as an option for students. 


Fill out the form here- LINK- if you are interested in pursuing an E-text adoption in your course. 

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Last updated: 
May 19, 2016