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Ease of use and usefulness as measures of student experience in a multi-platform e-textbook pilot

David James Johnston (Leddy Library, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)
Selinda Adelle Berg (Leddy Library, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)
Karen Pillon (Leddy Library, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)
Mita Williams (Leddy Library, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of how students accept and use e-textbooks in higher education by assessing their experiences with e-textbooks from Flat World Knowledge (FWK) and Nelson Education during a two year campus pilot.

Design/methodology/approach

Students enrolled in one of 11 classes involved in the library’s e-textbook pilot were recruited to complete an online survey including questions related to the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of electronic textbooks, as well as their general habits with the textbook. This study uses the Technology Acceptance Model as a framework for analysis.

Findings

Students experienced a drop in enthusiasm for e-textbooks from the beginning to the end of the pilot. While research suggests that students prefer for print over electronic in some contexts, students rarely acted on that preference by seeking out available alternative print options. Student experience with the open/affordable textbook (FWK) was very comparable to that of the high cost commercial text (Nelson).

Originality/value

While previous research suggests that students have a general preference for textbooks in print rather than electronic, the study suggests that preference may not dictate the likelihood that students will use print options. Students appear to be willing and able to easily make use of the content and functions in their e-textbooks. Despite overall positive reviews for the e-textbooks, students experienced a drop in enthusiasm for e-textbooks from the beginning to the end of the pilot.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is made possible by the University of Windsor’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

Citation

Johnston, D.J., Berg, S.A., Pillon, K. and Williams, M. (2015), "Ease of use and usefulness as measures of student experience in a multi-platform e-textbook pilot", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 65-82. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-11-2014-0107

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited