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Online Learning

How to Adapt to Using Ebooks in Your Online Courses

You might be used to studying with textbooks you can hold in your hands, but if you're an online student your classes may come with ebooks. Here's how to adapt to studying with electronic texbooks.

Desiree Sinkevich

Des Sinkevich

As an online student, you expect some of your materials to be completely digital. But when it comes to longer reading in textbooks, you may be most comfortable with something physical. Your classes may come with ebooks, so what can you do to adapt to reading online? Here’s how to thrive with ebooks in your studies.

Ebooks are the same as the physical textbooks

One big worry most students face when they’re using an ebook version of a textbook that the information won’t be the same or it might be missing some important content. However, the ebook editions of your reading material are the same as the physical editions, just in digital format!

Remember, you don’t have to read the entire book

When you’re working through your classes, the thought of staring at a screen for hours to read your ebook seems daunting—and headache inducing! But, the good news is that you aren’t necessarily responsible for reading the entire book. In each lesson, you’ll find assigned reading that usually asks you to study a specific chapter, or number of pages, that correspond with what you’re learning. This helps you break up your reading time and focus on what information you do need to learn for that particular class.

Use a device that you’re comfortable reading from

Your ebooks can be used on any device with an internet connection, so you have options when studying. To be as comfortable as possible, using a device with a bigger screen to read can be helpful! A desktop or laptop computer can allow you to read more comfortably, and you can choose how large the text appears. Using a tablet or ereader is also a great option if you have one! They allow you to select more options, such as changing the color of your text for easier reading, and can feel closer to a physical book since you can swipe through the pages.

Understand how to make the most of your ebooks

Another reason many students like to have a physical book in front of them is that it allows them to highlight important sections and take notes in the margins. With ebooks, you might worry that you’ll miss out on that, but it’s not necessarily true. In fact, through ereaders or even on your computer, you can highlight important sections AND take notes that will be easily accessible later.

Prevent eye strain

The biggest drawback of digital reading can be eye strain. Stare at a screen too long and you may feel a headache coming on. If you find yourself battling brain fog or dry eyes while studying, try using an app or accessibility option on your device that can read the material to you. You’ll be able to listen and take notes without worrying about a headache.

Remember to give your eyes a break by looking away from your screen at something more distant for a few moments every time you feel strained.

If eye strain is something you often suffer from when looking at a screen for too long, consider blue light lense glasses that come in prescription and non. You can find some pretty inexpensive pairs online!

And remember: your online courses are self-paced so you can do your reading at the speed that works best for you. If that means you can only do ten minutes of online reading a day, that’s okay! You have the ability to decide how you’re learning, so take your time when you need to.

The biggest benefit of ebooks vs textbooks

While having a physical textbook in front of you is nice, the biggest benefit of having access to ebooks is that you don’t have to wait for the mail to move onto your next class. Ebooks are available in your Learner Center and you can access them whenever you’re ready, while textbooks need to be shipped and can delay your progress while you wait.

Learn your way at Penn Foster

No matter what program or degree you’re looking to complete, our online, self-paced courses allow you to determine how you learn. Whether you’re using ebooks or textbooks, you can choose when and where to study. To find out more about flexible learning options, reach out to an Admissions Specialist today at 1-888-427-6500!

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