This study explores student use and perception of an alternative Human Nutrition textbook that they refer to as flexbook, which was developed in Google docs and used instead of traditional textbooks and e-textbooks at Kansas State University. Online and on-campus students were surveyed during the same semester. Not all surveyed students we flexbook users, so the survey used branching logic to ask follow-up questions about flexbook use and satisfaction.
The researchers found that online students used the flexbook more frequently and valued it for the high quality and flexibility they perceived. Campus students tended to use the flexbook once in a while, as a reference to study for exams. The results ultimately support the notion that students are willing to move beyond traditional print textbooks, but it is also important to understand what students want from this type of OER before instituting.
A longer survey period would benefit the validity of their findings. Also, surveying use and perception before and after the adoption of an alternative text would produce other valuable insight.