Varied student perception of e-text use among student populations in biology courses

The faculty in a biology department at a four-year public comprehensive university adopted e-texts for all 100 and 200 level biology courses with the primary motivation of reducing textbook costs to students. This study examines the students’ perceptions of the e-texts adopted for these 100 and 200 level biology courses. An online questionnaire was developed and administered in multiple sections of six 100 and 200 level biology courses during the spring and fall semesters of 2014 to measure student perceptions of the e-texts used in these courses. Results suggest a bimodal distribution among our sample (N = 2,152) of student participants. However, there are statistically significant and noteworthy exceptions to this general pattern. Black students reported a significantly higher satisfaction with e-texts compared to white students, and students repeating one of these courses reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction with the e-text compared to students taking the for the first time. Additionally, students with lower grade point averages (GPAs) preferred the e-text significantly more compared to those with higher GPAs. Further analyses reveal that the majority of student participants perceived the use of value-added technologies, such as e-homework, favorably.