Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Effects of e-textbook instructor annotations on learner performance

  • Alan R. Dennis
  • Serdar Abaci
  • Anastasia S. Morrone
  • Joshua Plaskoff
  • Kelly O. McNamara


With additional features and increasing cost advantages, e-textbooks are becoming a viable alternative to paper textbooks. One important feature offered by enhanced e-textbooks (e-textbooks with interactive functionality) is the ability for instructors to annotate passages with additional insights. This paper describes a pilot study that examines the effects of instructor e-textbook annotations on student learning as measured by multiple-choice and open-ended test items. Fifty-two college students in a business course were randomly assigned either a paper or an electronic version of a textbook chapter. Results show that the e-textbook group outperformed the paper textbook group on the open-ended test item, while both groups performed equally on the multiple-choice subject test. These results suggest that the instructional affordances that an interactive e-textbook provides may lead to higher-level learning.


e-textbook Print textbook Learning Reading comprehension Instructor annotations Experimental study 



A previous version of this paper was presented at the 48th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2015. We would like to thank David A. Goodrum and Sarah Engel for reviewing and providing their valuable comments in preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kelly School of BusinessIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.University Information Technology ServicesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.HighPoint Global, LLCIndianapolisUSA

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