US: New e-textbooks grade students

The earliest electronic textbooks simply offered the text of the printed book on a computer, writes Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Today's newest models, though, come with an array of features, including software tools that automatically grade homework for professors or let students share their margin notes with friends online.

A new line of e-textbooks scheduled to be unveiled last week by McGraw-Hill Higher Education, for instance, comes bundled with "lecture capture" software, so professors can use the built-in microphone and camera on a laptop computer to record their lectures for students, as well as with other features that are new for textbook publishers.

At the core of the new products are still the electronic versions of the traditional textbooks, but they are designed to let students quickly jump between specific chapters, say, and the portion of a professor's recorded lecture that covers that subject matter.

The company calls its new set of electronic textbooks McGraw-Hill Connect, and the programme includes about 100 titles in 18 disciplines, company officials said last week.
Full report on The Chronicle site