Dynamic Online Textbooks, Aligning Course Tools to Support Student Engagement

Concurrent Session 10
Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

Students are increasingly accessing their online courses via mobile devices.  While much of the course content is available virtually through the course shell, often textbooks remain a separate resource.  The following presentation will offer an overview of how utilize and align an online textbook to enrich distance student engagement.

Presenters

Dr. Yarbrough joined the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University in 2016. She received a B.S. in Education from Texas Christian University, an M.S. in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University, a Ph.D. in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University, and an M.B.A. with a concentration in management from Texas A&M University. Dr. Yarbrough has over 20 years of experience with higher education and distance learning. Specifically, she seeks to create engaging and enriching technology based learning experiences for her undergraduate and graduate students.

Extended Abstract

Students are increasingly accessing their online courses via mobile devices.  In fact, data shows that over half of online students are using their mobile devices to complete as least some course work (Friedman, 2016).  Course content like lectures, articles, discussion and syllabi are easily viewed on a mobile device.  However, for many classes, a valuable course resource, the course textbook, remains a separate and tangible item in an otherwise virtual learning experience. 

There are numerous potential positive outcomes that can realized by using e-books in tandem with the online learning experience.   First, overall faculty are energized by the idea of electronic resources.  The Babson Survey Research Group surveyed 4,564 faculty members and found 65 percent said they were excited about e-textbooks and e-resources replacing traditional print textbooks (Kolowich, 2012).  Second, e-books can reduce expenses for students; in generally e-books cost less than print books (Waller, 2013).  Finally, student can experience usability advantages with e-books in the form of immediate access, word search for ease of study and rapid textbook updates from the publisher.

While the use of e-books has many benefits to faculty and students, the ultimate goals is to identify educational resources that support the highest quality learning experience for the student.  The e-book is a valuable option, but faculty must be skilled in using the e-resource to maximize student learning.  The following conversation will focus on offering skills to faculty that want to incorporate e-books into their online learning classroom.  Tips and strategies will be offered based on research and prior experience in utilizing e-books at the undergraduate and graduate level.  The following skills will be offered:

  • How to create a customized e-book.
  • How to take full advantage of an existing e-book to best supplement your course.
  • How to incorporate learning exercises that allow for maximum benefit from an e-book.
  • How to align an online textbook to enrich distance student engagement.

With strategic planning and training, e-books can be added to an online course to create a valuable comprehensive virtual learning experience. 

 

References

Friedman, J. (2016). Study: Many online students use mobile devices for coursework.  U.S. News.

                Retrieved on September 20, 2018 from: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-

                education/articles/2016-07-21/study-many-online-students-use-mobile-devices-for-coursework

Kolowich, S. (2012). Enthusiasm, hesitation and stress: The faculty and technology. Inside Higher Ed.

                Retrieved on September 20, 2018 from: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/digital-

                faculty-professors-and-technology-2012

Waller, D. (2013). Current advantages and disadvantages of using e-Textbooks in Texas Higher

                Education.  Focus on Colleges, Universities and Schools, 7(1).