Providing Student Choice: Adopting an eTextbook in your Online Course

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An important element of the national conversation about higher education has been the increasing price of textbooks. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the average price of a textbook has risen 82% between 2002-2012.

Faculty can help lower the cost of a textbook by adopting an eTextbook or a printed book that is available in an electronic format. An eTextbook may cost up to 50% less than the printed version depending on the publisher and vendor.

Adopting a textbook offered in a printed or eTextbook format allows students to make the choice how they want to consume their textbook. A survey conducted at the University of Central Florida (2018) indicates the top two factors for purchasing an eTextbook is cost (78%) and ability to access the textbook anywhere (66%). Students are looking for ways to save money while increasing the functionality and availability of their course materials.


  • Instructor: Mr. John Raible, Adjunct Professor, Educational and Human Sciences, University of Central Florida
  • Course Title: EME2040: Technology for Educators

Mr. Raible has adopted a textbook available in an eTextbook format. He communicates before the semester begins multiple ways to purchase the course materials including 3rd party vendors and the UCF Bookstore. In his course, an average of 10% of students use the eTextbook as their primary textbook. The students using eTextbook stated the reduced cost as the primary reason for purchasing an eTextbook.

Link to example artifact(s)

From UCF’s Mr. John Raible (undergraduate course in educational technology)

Link to scholarly reference(s)

United States Government Accountability Office. (2013). College Textbooks Students have Greater Access to Textbook Information (GAO-13-368). Washington, DC.

2018 UCF Mobile & eTextbook Survey Report.


Raible, J. (2015). Providing student choice: adopting an etextbook in your online course. In B. Chen & K. Thompson (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning.

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