E-Texts: Innovation or Status Quo?

by Harry G. Tuttle, Tech and Learning

Many textbooks now have an e-text version. Do these e-texts improve student learning?

Some advantages:

  • No heavy or bulky textbook to carry; portable
  • Font size can be adjusted so students can more easily read or see information
  • Text can be searched
  • Often has an online assessment; allows online quizzes to be graded automatically online
  • Often has an online homework management; allows homework activities to be graded automatically online

Some disadvantages:

  • Often is an exact reproduction of the textbook. An E-text probably is not linked, therefore, students cannot click on words or images to get additional information
  • The e-text is still mainly print (word) based
  • Many images may supplement the text but they do not add new information; images help explain the text instead of the image being the main source of information
  • Usually a student cannot write in the e-text such as writing comments in the margin


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