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Thousands of students benefit from the Library’s eTextbook Programme

25 Jan 2019

Since September 2018, over 8,600 University students have benefited from seamless online access to their core reading via the Library’s new eTextbook Programme

eTextbook programme

The Library’s offer provides students on 125 modules with a personal downloadable copy of their core texts in eTextbook format, including large first year undergraduate courses and distance learning cohorts. The Programme supports the University’s strategic goal to deliver an outstanding learning and student experience and its digital learning agenda.

Olivia Walsby, the Library's Reading List Services Manager, said: “We’re delighted with the eTextbook Programme’s success since the beginning of this academic year. Analytics show that uptake has been high, with 95% of all students with an eTextbook actively engaging with their copy. The positive response from students and academics so far shows that eTextbooks have the potential to transform how students access and engage with their core reading, and we aim to expand provision to more modules in the future.”

To establish a service that delivers an excellent experience tailored to users’ needs, the Library led extensive research and pilot schemes to understand students’ attitudes to their reading. Students responded that they are more likely to complete their assigned reading when provided as an eTextbook, and prefer the format thanks to increased availability, convenience and low cost. 

Students can download their core text to multiple devices via the VLE for free, meaning they can access crucial course material anywhere at no cost. The Library’s eTextbooks have been accessed from 96 countries since September 2018. Christine Greenhalgh, Lecturer in Public Health, School of Health Sciences, said: “Teaching on an online course unit can be challenging when we have students from all over the world taking part. Having the facility to provide students with an eTextbook available offline has proved invaluable and a real asset to the course unit.” 

Caroline Miles, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, School of Law, said: "[Our eTextbook] has completely diminished comments from students about difficulties in accessing the core reading for my course and feels like we are providing something really valuable (financially as well as academically) to the students, rather than asking them to spend further money they do not have on an expensive textbook.”

To encourage students to engage deeply with their reading, eTextbooks provided by the Library include integrated learning tools such as note sharing, highlighting and annotations. Tutors can monitor usage and engagement via an analytics dashboard. Veronique Pin-Fat, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, School of Social Sciences, said: “The availability of our core text as an eTextbook for all our students has been extremely positively received. Interestingly, students commonly use the search function (key words, events, concepts). In terms of accessibility and our commitments to widening participation, I think we have benefitted enormously. For those registered with DSO [Disability Support Office], the notes function and search of the eTextbook can enhance the way in which they can engage with the text.”

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