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