In this final part of the series, teachers explore e-textbooks.

To begin at Part I of this series, click here.

Many campuses across the country have taken a part of the new e-textbook craze. The University of Louisiana teachers seem to be pretty open to the idea of using these online textbooks, but still have questions concerning how they will help the student’s learning abilities.

Dr. John Meriwether teaches in the physics department at UL. He claims that he is aware of the e-textbooks.

“Yes, I do use e-textbooks in my classrooms,” said Meriwether. He also mentioned that they tend to help students with learning the material for his classes. Meriwether noted that the e-textbooks are an extra benefit that the students are working well with, so he plans to keep using them. Some teachers have not used these books and don’t know how students will react to them.

Spanish professor Rosalinda Silva-Alemañy has also heard about online digital textbooks. The Spanish department uses the same text for all classes which includes an online component, but not the actual text featured in the printed books.

“I haven’t offered this digital textbook option to my classes,” noted Alemañy. Even though, Alemañy stated that if she did further research, she would consider using the e-textbooks. She said that the department would have to research and come together to decide upon a book that every level class could use.

“It’s easy access for everyone,” Alemañy said. She thought another great benefit to the e-textbooks is that it is able to explain a lesson as many times as the student would need. Spanish is not easy for everyone to learn and extra help from the online textbooks such as audio tracks and video clips would help a student comprehend the material and encourage them to continually practice outside of class. With positive reaction to the e-textbooks, also comes doubt.

“Limited time is my biggest problem,” Meriwether mentioned. He stated that he has only a certain time in which he can address certain material on a screen. Alemañy also had some doubts when using the e-textbooks.

“Online problems are my biggest concern,” said Alemañy. Computers are always having technical difficulties that could hold a student back from learning. These defaults could cause student’s work to be late or worse erased completely. The books are designed to help the leaning process, not slow it down.

With several opinions of teachers, many across the nation are actually participating co-authoring online textbooks. CNN reporter Marsha Walton covered a story on astronomy and physics professor at the University of North Carolina at Asheville named Michael Ruiz, who uses e-texts in which he created to instruct his classes. Walton reported that Ruiz created forums and has uploaded videos to help his students with around-the-clock access.

“I’m more effective with a class of 90 today than I was 20 years ago with 30 people and some equipment up front. Lets face it, your best time might be at 2 o’clock in the morning so if you’re in here half falling asleep, you can see that demonstration or experiment again at home, and absorb it,” Ruiz told his students. In the report, Walton found that Ruiz’s students were positive and liked that he uses these digital textbooks with his classes. Even a UL professor has become involved with this digital textbook craze. Tyrone Adams, Ph.D., a UL media communications professor is involved with several other teachers in creating an online textbook that will be available to students for free. It is titled “Public Speaking Guide.” Adams mentioned to the Vermilion that the book is simple, direct, and revolutionary.

“This textbook was tough to assemble in which it took two very rough years,” Adams noted. The book was constructed with hard work that was mostly done through back and forth e-mails between professors. Adams plans to finish the books which will debut in December at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock Ark.

E-textbooks are a revolutionary idea designed to help teachers instruct their classes. With all sorts of features offered many instructors are realizing the benefits to these books. Still, several choose to stick to old-school methods and not advance in different ways to educate their classrooms.

This is the same here at UL. Teachers here are aware of the digital textbooks and are becoming educated on what they include and offer both them and the students. The choice whether to use them or not is strictly a personal opinion that each teacher bases the decision upon the class and what they feel is best for the students.


This article was submitted by UL students Andrea Babin, Daniel Suarez, Garrett Johnson, Hall Davis, and Ben Melancon.

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