Students Embrace E-Books

But they still see room for improvement in how professors use digital materials.
Students are embracing digital learning and most are happy with the electronic resources their schools make available, according to a survey of 866 students from 131 higher education institutions in the U.K. Some highlights:

100% of students own at least one portable digital device, most commonly a smartphone.

89% take their devices to class.

90% use their devices for last-minute reading or to verify something in class, immediately before a test, or before handing in an assignment.

93% have used virtual learning environments, such as Blackboard or Moodle, to access lecture notes or other resources.

72% have used electronic journal articles or databases.

61% have used digital textbooks during their university studies. The majority (65 percent) borrowed one from the library; 55 percent received one through their institution; 35 percent purchased a copy for themselves.

88% would recommend an e-textbook to a friend. Among those who used e-textbooks most often, 98 percent would recommend them to friends.

78% were satisfied with the ease of access offered by their digital textbooks. The two top-ranked benefits were “less stressful—I can access my book any time I need it” and “more convenient—I could download it to my device.”

There is still room for improvement, however, as more than 40 percent of students were dissatisfied with the amount of multimedia content available in e-textbooks. Forty-eight percent were dissatisfied with the way lecturers use textbooks, suggesting that professors still need to work on smoothly integrating digital resources into their classes.

The survey was conducted by VitalSource Technologies Inc., which creates and delivers digital content. It was designed to assess student engagement with electronic textbooks and identify institutional practices that lead to student satisfaction.