It takes a village

Supporting the integration of digital textbooks in higher education


  • Debborah Smith



TPACK, digital textbooks


Digital textbooks now incorporate various technological enhancements, and offer many opportunities for learning and teaching in higher education. Despite some enthusiasm for this medium, lecturers tend not to integrate the extra activities into their courses preferring instead to simply have them available as optional extra activities for students. One reason for this barrier to use is the time and effort required to integrate technology into the curriculum in a meaningful way, and lecturers may feel they lack the necessary knowledge to do this effectively. Despite the existence of institutional support to assist educators with technology enhanced learning, the services don’t always align with what faculty want or need. As a result, there have been calls to improve staff training and professional development. This paper presents a theorised inquiry into educators’ reflections on the integration of digital textbooks using Mishra & Koehler’s TPACK framework as an underpinning theory. The findings suggest the need for training and support that is individualised to instructors’ specific needs, and allows for increased collaboration between various stakeholders. It is concluded that professional development that focusses on the development of TPACK, and operates within a collaborative and context-specific learning community could support the increased uptake of digital textbooks in higher education.






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