Online and physical textbooks are the two different types of books used by students at colleges, and students and teachers have different reasons for using them.
The UND Bookstore has many different options for purchasing textbooks. Assistant Textbook Manager Joe Iverson said renting books is the most common way for students because it is the least expensive option compared to purchasing new textbooks, and with renting textbooks, students will be able to return them back to the bookstore after the end of each semester.
Iverson said aviation textbooks are most often purchased and aren’t sold back after each semester because the bookstore gets new editions of the material each year, and students can’t purchase outdated books.
The different type of textbooks are physical books students can write inside them and take notes, and online textbooks where students use for their classes are portable and are more interactive than physical books. Some of the ways online books are more interactive is they include links to different terms, and some include links to videos of concepts.
Ceri Danes communication instructor uses physical textbooks for her lectures. She likes the fact that students can write and highlight inside the books.
“I think it’s still easy for a lot of students. Easier or its more effective learning for them to have a physical book,” Danes said. “What it comes down for me is the cost for the students, and the students use which version which works for them.”
Geography professor Paul Todhunter said he has always used the physical books for teaching. “Some of it’s just familiarity, for students, and I’ve used it all my life,” he said. “The online has not really become available until about the last decade.”
Todhunter said online textbooks have certain features that physical textbooks don’t have links to term definitions, many images, as well as a lot of descriptive diagrams.
Iverson said some advantages with the online textbook are they are more convenient for students, include pre-made flashcards made for students, in-depth small note sections and online quizzes at the end of each chapter.
UND student Parker Walder said “I think it’s easier to find things in a paperback textbook.” He said using an online textbook involves looking at a screen for a long period of time when trying to read.
UND student Michael Okada prefers physical textbooks over online ones as well. “It’s a tangible object. I can flip through it,” he said. “It keeps me detached from my cell phone.” A disadvantage Okada mentioned is there is a tendency for paperback books to get lost and damaged by some students.
Freshmen Connor Meyer said he prefers using the online textbook over a hard copy textbook. Meyer said online books are more accessible because students can easily access it off the computer and they don’t have to carry a book around everywhere.
“Everything is pretty much self-explanatory and it’s easy to navigate,” Meyer said. “All you have to do is type in a page number and it will go right to it.”
Some teachers who usually use paperback textbooks for classes allow students to purchase an online textbook if it works better for student learning. It’s a personal preference for students and teachers with which type of textbook to use. Overall, no matter what textbook type a student or teacher decides to use, online and paperback textbook information stays the same.