A new page was added to our eTextbook Essentials course, highlighting the experience of Dr. Brueckner with eTextbooks. He was approached by a publisher, and wrote his own digital book.
- Course: PSC1121, Physical Science, offered face-to-face
- Enrollment: 579
- Textbook: Thomas wrote his own eTextbook called Interactions: Introduction to Physical Science, which is published by Kendall Hunt. When students go to buy the book, they receive a flyer in the bookstore, register and download the eReader called Bookshelf to their device, and then enter the access code for the book. It is available through the UCF bookstore for $115, and directly from the publisher for $85.00. Currently, Thomas is writing a new chapter and plans to distribute to his students for free.
- Devices: The eTextbook is available on computers and mobile devices through the BookShelf app. It can be viewed offline.
- Communication: Thomas let the students know about the book options on the course home page.
- Digital Features: Bookshelf lets students subscribe to others’ notes, including those of the instructor. Thomas includes notes next to certain parts of the text to help guide student reading and prepare for upcoming assessments. He thinks that this is a distinct feature of the eTextbook which cannot be experienced in print, as the eTextbook becomes a communication tool.
- Lessons Learned: Thomas stresses to carefully review the publisher agreement and be clear of the support that will be given during the writing process. It is important to make sure that the publisher can provide adequate support to help. For instance, his book could have benefitted from an editor trained in science, as well as more graphic support. Also, the agreement stated that the royalties would be paid when all of the copies are sold, which is likely two years from now. It is important to negotiate if royalties are desired earlier. It is also important to note that the conflict of interest policies at UCF require that if an instructor requires a self-authored book, then the royalties cannot be kept; they must be donated.