Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

N.C. State offers free physics e-textbook

The library and physics department at N.C. State have joined together to offer a free e-textbook to students taking a physics course. According to an article from News Observer, the early reviews from the experiment have been mixed but it may be due to the actual textbook and not the use of online texts. A few students commented that the text needs more practice questions to help with their understanding. The students are also required to pay a fee for a lab manual and online interactive homework so there is still a cost associated with the class.

Michael Paesler, chairman of the physics department, says the department will review student evaluations at the end of the semester but already plans to introduce another low-cost e-textbook this fall for an optics class. Paesler commented, “I do think it's inevitable that this is the way of the future. It's obvious that the students are comfortable with electronic information, and to ignore that a lot of learning takes place electronically now would be just sticking your head in the sand.”

The N.C. State library has also created a helpful page on their website which includes information about open textbooks, links to more information, and a list of frequently asked questions.

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