What is going on? Over 30 instructors teaching 42 credit courses at eight North Carolina Community College's have been trying out using eTexts in their courses for the past year, as part of an eText pilot. Courses ranged from Psychology to Nuclear Medicine, from Statistics to Anatomy and Physiology, and from Art Appreciation to Security Concepts.
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What is an eText according to faculty? At minimum, at the eText Symposium held March 22, 2013, faculty said they wanted an interactive, digital version of the paper text, plus they wanted the ability for both faculty and students to add bookmarks, highlighting, and notes to their e-Texts.
What is an eText according to students and publishers? According to faculty, often students and publishers thought an eText was a pdf copy of the paper text. In addition, some publishers did not make the eText (pdf or if available, an interactive eText) available "off-line" or available to download or print, without incurring additional fees.
Why was the pilot performed? Bottom-line: Faculty and staff wanted to find ways to lower student costs, while providing quality materials that help students learn and complete their credit programs (from Pilot Overview)
IMHO: What was the big take-away?*
- The majority of students preferred a printed textbook, unless they could save over 40-50% in costs versus a printed textbook.
What were other issues discovered?
- Many classrooms do not contain computers to view an eText during class; some students do not have Internet access at home to view their eText.
- Usually, there was not any Instructor eText materials available. In addition, most of the eText Readers do not meet accessibility guidelines.
- Presently, there is not a way to inform students that their courses use eTexts versus printed texts, resulting in various problems with the Bookstore, Financial Aid, Registration, the Business Office, and of course, with taking courses.
- Some eTexts work well with eReaders, tablets, and/or smart devices, some don't.
*IMHO: In my humble opinion-this is what I surmised from many different statistics and quotes provided by faculty, staff and administrators at the eText Symposium, the NCCCS eText Pilot web page, and the eText Symposium handouts. More data and reports are suppose to be available June, 2013.