Here at CompuScholar, we have years of experience with publishing both printed textbooks and online courses. Based on customer demands and educational trends we've observed throughout the United States, we have recently stopped publishing new printed textbooks to focus exclusively on digital content.
In today's society, technical information changes quickly. How many of you would rely on a 6-year old textbook to accurately describe what you are currently seeing on your computer screen? Odds are, your operating system, software applications, and the websites you visit have changed. Now, some subjects like math or history may not experience significant updates that often. But even those topics can benefit from an online presentation.
Some "online" courses are nothing more than e-books - think of a simple PDF or single document that you might download and read on your Kindle or e-reader. However, online delivery has far more potential that can be tapped. Our own online courses are wrapped in a full Learning Management System (LMS) that provides integrated multi-media content, automatically graded quizzes and tests, and more. These features can't be supported by a simple book (e-book or printed text).
CompuScholar works extensively with both public schools and the homeschool community. In both cases, the overwhelming trend has been towards digital content. In the last few years, all state-wide adoption cycles we've seen have required submissions of course material in digital or online formats - with printed textbooks just an option. Our own students heavily favored the online courses once they became available.
Certainly, there are some advantages to a printed textbook. If you own it (instead of a school), and don't want to re-sell it, then your student can write in the margins or highlight passages. Printed material may also simply be a more comfortable learning style, or you might not have the computer and Internet connection necessary to access online material. Most online systems (including ours) will let you self-print parts of the lesson text that you want to see on paper.
We're certainly thrilled with our own online system, and expect to roll out new features and options on a regular basis. The educational trends we've seen at a state and local level suggest online learning is here to stay. We value your comments on what works for you and what can be made to work better, so don't hesitate to reach out with your feedback!