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Heng-Yu, Ku

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The purpose of this research was to understand the perspectives of teachers and students regarding their use of specific e-textbooks in a higher education learning environment. The e-textbooks used by the teachers and students were examined in order to determine functions and features to focus on during the inquiry. This study was particularly interested in the design of e-textbooks and how they are used by both teachers and students in the learning process. The participants in the research were also prompted to suggest improvements to e-textbooks. A case study approach was used as the methodology to examine three teachers represented three majors in three different colleges and a small sample of their students to gather information to answer the research questions. Qualitative data from multiple sources such as in depth interviews and document reviews were used to analyze and examine the overall utility of e-textbooks toward learning/teaching, and functions related to the instructional and navigational design of e-textbooks. Results of this study showed that there was overall agreement that choosing books needs to be based on the quality of the material contained within the book, regardless of the format, print or electronic. E-textbooks facilitate teachers’ and students’ interactions and access to the materials and resources. However, both teachers and students viewed their e-textbooks as supplementary materials, even thought these e-textbooks allowed them to interact with the text using different tools. One recurring finding was how flexible e-textbooks are in individualizing student learning. Recommendations by students/teachers included the improvement of page layout, the interface, increasing window size, providing more complex tasks, keeping up with technology, and insuring the quality of information within the e-textbook. Implications for future research include further investigation into the use of e-textbooks as supplementary materials, and whether printed texts are also being considered as supplementary. Finally, there are indications that advanced technology may be changing how students learn and if e-textbooks reflect this change. Further research into this possible change in ways that students learn would shed additional light on this question.


Activity Theory, Educational Technology, E-textbooks, Higher Education, Instructional and Navigational Design, Qualitative Case Study


318 pages

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