Learning more for less

Digital textbook serves as a stress reliever and interactive tool for student

Affordability is a factor many people consider when making purchases, big and small. Elena White, who got her degree in biology recently, thought about this everyday as she worked toward her undergraduate degree and planned to attend medical school.

During her college career at Kansas State University, White took Human Body I and Human Body II with Dr. Ashley Rhodes, teaching associate professor in the division of biology. White said with previous classes she often stressed about renting textbooks, getting the books before class and wondering if she really needed to spend the money on the recommended/required books.

But for Rhodes’ classes, White did not have to think about any of those factors because Rhodes developed a digital textbook through the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, also known as Textbooks 2.0. The grant program provides funding for K-State faculty and instructors to develop an affordable alternative to traditional print textbooks.

For White, the digital textbook saved her around $500.

I think you can have a large impact on a student’s life by helping them save money on textbooks. Being able to have an affordable textbook let me buy better prep materials for medical school tests and feel better about the application fees,” White said.

In addition to relieving stress, White found the electronic textbook to be an interactive tool to write in, draw on and further explore topics using links attached within the text, helping her connect learning across different platforms. 

“I feel like a lot of normal, traditional textbooks act more as a reference, but with the e-text, you can draw in it and interact with the study questions. The experience promoted learning so much better than most traditional textbooks,” White said.

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