Scoping the Possibilities: Student Preferences towards Open Textbooks Adoption for E-Learning


Many universities have begun implementing e-Learning systems due to their low cost. However, publishers of expensive textbooks stand in the way of e-Learning’s ability to provide a cost-effective educational delivery model. While many universities aim to overcome this opposition and replace traditional publishers’ textbooks with free open textbooks, such plans cannot be executed successfully unless students are open to their use. As such, a study into students’ preferences towards open textbook adoption is vital to provide clear indication as to their opinions regarding open textbook use. Thus, this study conducted a study of University of the South Pacific (USP) students’ preferences towards open textbook adoption for e-Learning using a survey administered during Semester 2, 2013 which generated 1077 responses. Areas examined include: Impacts of textbook costs on students’ academic careers; preferences towards open textbook adoption; perceived barriers to and motivations for adoption of open textbooks; and preferred digital features and reading devices. Results show that textbook prices adversely impact students. Furthermore, a high level of acceptance towards the adoption of open textbooks was found. The study revealed that the preference for reading printed material was the highest rated barrier to open textbook adoption, while the free availability of open textbooks was rated the greatest motivator. Study findings are being used to inform efforts to develop open textbooks at the USP and may assist other universities seeking to start similar projects.

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Prasad, D. and Usagawa, T. (2014) Scoping the Possibilities: Student Preferences towards Open Textbooks Adoption for E-Learning. Creative Education, 5, 2027-2040. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.524227.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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