The use of electronics in university and college coursework is proliferating, according to a number of reports released this week. College students can save as much as $60 per title by using e-textbooks, reports digital course materials provider CourseSmart.com; and market researcher Simba Information forecasts e-texts will grow at a CAGR of 48.5 percent by 2013.
Yesterday, an article in The Wall Street Journal reported iPads were being used at some universities as a substitute for textbooks. Widespread use of mobile devices and improved functionality is one for the reasons electronics are catching on quickly at colleges and universities.
It turns out that textbook publishers are making their material easily available in digital format. (I had a question about that in yesterday's blog: The Pros & Cons: Tablets vs. Textbooks.) Individual publisher Websites and e-textbooks providers such as CourseSmart.com offer more than 90 percent of the most popular higher education course materials in use today.
In addition to lower cost, portability, and anytime/anywhere access from any computer or Web-enabled mobile device, e-textbooks offer advanced search functionality, note-taking capabilities, digital highlighting, and the ability to email passages to peers. Students can also purchase their books one chapter at a time on some publishers' Websites, buying just what they need, just when they need it.
According to research by the National Center for Academic Transformation, the latest course technologies, coupled with course redesign, can decrease dropout rates by as much as 34 percent while lowering the colleges and universities' cost per pupil for instruction by 37 percent.
In addition to CourseSmart's e-textbooks, students have the option to purchase a broad range of course materials on publishers' Websites. The Websites of publishers like Bedford Freeman and Worth, Cengage Learning, CQ Press, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Wiley, WW Norton and Chegg.com offer students their books in numerous lower-cost formats.
CourseSmart.com developed several free Apps that can be downloaded via iTunes and enable students to access their e-textbooks on an iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod Touch.
The research information from Course.Smart.com and Simba Information was compiled by the Association of American Publishers.