Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Developing a Digital Textbook Strategy

The Florida Distance Learning Consortium recently hosted a symposium titled Developing a Digital Textbook Strategy for Your Campus.  The videos from the symposium can be found at YouTube.  You can also access the videos as well as presentations and other symposium documents here at the Open Access Textbooks Project website.  We encourage you to check out the videos to learn about what is happening on other campuses and also to hear from industry people who are working with digital materials.

Here is one particular video of a faculty member from Dayton College speaking to his experience working with e-books in the classroom.  The professor has three main messages he wanted to convey.  First, he says faculty should take ownership of the e-books and provide technical instruction to the students instead to sending them off to the helpdesk.  Second, decision to adopt digital course materials should be driven by student learning outcomes.  He thinks that if you get more success using digital than you should use it but if you are not seeing improvements than maybe you should rethink digital adoption.  Third, students need something more than saving money when it comes to e-books.  The students want clear demonstrative academic benefits and some form intellectual payoff that they would not get if digital was not being used.

The take away from this video is that schools should not make any hasty decisions about mandating e-textbooks across campus.  Rather the schools should focus on assessing whether e-textbooks provide improved learning outcomes before launching a campus-wide digital textbook policy.

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