by Elizabeth Dobler
On October 30, 2015, I attended Emporia State University’s first e-Textbook Summit. The event grew out of faculty’s interest in learning more about how to navigate the complex landscape of e-textbooks. A panel of speakers opened the event, including Nicole Guerrieri of Barnes & Noble College, Mike Matousek of Luvo (a peer-to-peer tutoring website), David Maltby of XanEdu (a customized course packet creation company), Andrea Eveland, a research consultant from PadillaCRT, and Jason Boyer, Brandi Siebenaler, and me from ESU. The panel shared their thoughts about the learning expectations and preferences of current and future students, contrasted with the changing nature of e-textbooks and course materials.
While I can’t recreate this dynamic discussion in a blog post, I would like to share some questions that were considered; in some cases I’ve added my thoughts on the topic. Hopefully these questions will spark discussions on your campus too:
What are the learning preferences of students today?
Students now, and in the future, are no longer satisfied with the sit-and-get method of college education. They want active, hands-on learning, and we must meet them where they are.
What are the challenges faculty face today, related to selecting and utilizing course content, such as textbooks and course packets in both print and digital formats? What are the challenges students face with these same materials?
What are some ways faculty can help students save money on course materials?
Some colleges are putting a cap on the amount of money students are required to spend for textbooks for each course ($75-100).
The number of faculty using Open Education Resources, available for free and usually found online, is increasing rapidly.
How is the shift to digital and evolving education technology changing the game for students and faculty today?
e-Textbooks have the potential to customize learning through the use of multimedia, web links, and the collection of learning analytics to show how much a student is understanding and guide the presentation of additional information to aid understanding.
How do faculty and students feel about this shift?
Though attendees likely asked more questions than they answered, the e-Textbook Summit accomplished what it set out to do—to prompt discussion among faculty, students, and staff about the impact e-textbooks have on teaching and learning.
I encourage you and your colleagues to consider these and other questions about the scope of e-textbooks. Only through our collective knowledge will we be able to shape technology to meet our students’ learning needs.