Electronic books (ebooks) provide the opportunity to go beyond the limitations of a physical page. These opportunities are particularly important for computing education, where dynamic information is a key characteristic of our domain. An electronic book can provide opportunities to program or conduct analyses that are impossible on the physical page, integrating instructional information with creative exploration. However, just because ebooks provide these opportunities does not mean that we know how students will actually use ebooks in the context of a class. Miller and Ranum have produced an electronic book for teaching introductory computing in Python. We explored how students used the dynamic and novel features of the book, and correlated that use with performance on learning measures. We found that students made extensive use of the traditional programming environment in the book, but that the lesser-used visualization tool was better correlated with student performance. In addition, we found that although students reported high levels of satisfaction with the book, they appeared to use it much like a traditional textbook, making less use of many of the interactive features of the book than we expected.
Alvarado, Christine; Morrison, Briana B.; Ericson, Barbara; Guzdial, Mark; Miller, Brad; and Ranum, David L., "Performance and Use Evaluation of an Electronic Book for Introductory Python Programming" (2012). Computer Science Faculty Publications. 62.