Online textbook producers for classrooms have created online books that have more than just the printed words from a book on a computer screen. Online textbooks that are used in the classroom come complete with color, pictures, interactive tutorials, and supplemental links. It is possible to integrate these resources within your D2L courses, providing a single sign-in for students and access to extended interactive resources.
Another advantage of an online textbook is that additional features can be added. The list below describes some unique features that can be incorporated into online textbooks. As you browse the Web, you will notice most of these features on Web pages.
- Color. Yes, color. Of course the traditional textbook also is in color, but color is very expensive to add to textbooks. You may notice that your basic textbooks use only a few colors. Online textbooks can use many colors and photographs without any additional cost.
- Audio files. Students may actually be able to hear William Faulkner read his writing instead of listening to a classmate mumbling Faulkner’s words.
- Video Files. You can have your students read about a historical event, but online textbooks may actually be able to show these events through video files.
- Interactive tutorials. Virtual labs and interactive tutorials provide students with immediate feedback.
- Search engines. If a student needs clarification and is using a traditional textbook, she has to rely on the book’s index or her teacher. However, if a student is using an online textbook, she can simply use a search engine to locate supplemental material.
- Chat rooms and discussion groups. Online textbooks may allow students to communicate with students in other schools in the same country and even schools in other countries. This function definitely expands a class discussion.
- Animated graphics. Textbook publishers try their best to make the textbooks interesting, but it’s hard to beat an animated graphic. These graphics can dance and sing.
Using Online Textbooks in D2L
Some textbooks come with Web-based companions. Web-based companions are similar to interactive CDs that come with traditional textbooks except these Web-based companions can be accessed online. Some of the Web-based companions come free with the purchase of a traditional textbook and are password protected; however, some Web-based companions can be accessed online without a password. These Web-based companions generally provide enrichment activities for the students, extended examples, and online quizzes.
To view some examples of Web-based companions, access this URL:
The URL listed above will take you to Prentice Hall’s Companion Web site. In this company’s Web site you will be able to view a Web-based companion without a password.