Digital Course Materials

With the proliferation of mobile devices and Internet access, course materials that are digital in nature are increasing in popularity. Digital course materials are defined as any materials that can be accessed on a digital device such as a laptop or tablet. Some are online (such as a website), while others can be downloaded to a device and accessed offline. One of the greatest benefits of offering digital content is that students can store many materials on a single device, which heightens access to course content.

This resource describes the most common types of digital course materials and provides direction about further exploration of these materials at UCF.

Course Materials Ordering Policy at UCF

Any print or digital materials (print or eTextbooks, access codes, clickers, DVDs, course packs, etc.) that are required or recommended for a course must be communicated with the UCF Bookstore per the national Textbook Affordability Act. Per this act, the UCF Bookstore must post this information 45 days before the start of class.

When submitting a list of materials to the UCF Bookstore, please specify whether the material is “required” (for instance, a textbook that is essential to student success) or “recommended” (a resource that assists or enhances learning but is not absolutely essential, such as a solutions manual in a math course). If there are no required or recommended materials for the course, please specify “no text required.” Communicating this with the UCF Bookstore ensures that this information is posted for students when they visit the bookstore or shop online ( in search of materials.

Please check with your department to see how orders are typically collected and sent to the UCF Bookstore. The most preferred method of submitting your list of required and/or recommended materials to the UCF Bookstore is through Faculty Enlight. Faculty Enlight is the Barnes and Noble web portal that allows instructors to explore the print and digital options, pricing, and see what other colleges are adopting. If you do not see the book listed in a digital version, contact your publisher rep and inquire about alternative options. You are also welcome to visit the UCF Bookstore to discuss options and receive assistance in setting up a Faculty Enlight account. When orders are submitted through Faculty Enlight, instructors receive a confirmation of the order. Note that other ordering methods such as email or visiting the UCF Bookstore are also accepted. To submit your order by email, please contact


An eTextbook is simply the digital version of a traditional print textbook. There is a wide variation in eTextbooks, however. Some may be simply an electronic version of the print book, while others may offer basic features such as highlighting and making annotations. Other eTextbooks are developed to take advantage of the digital features, offering more interactive and social features. In addition, some are only available on a computer, while others can be accessed via tablet or smartphone as well.

There are potential learning benefits associated with eTextbooks, depending on the particular features it offers. For example, searching for keywords helps students quickly locate a relevant part of the book, while interactive quizzes guide students to check for understanding as they read. In a recent UCF survey, 75% of students indicated that having reading (search for keywords, glossary) and studying (highlighting, taking notes) features would influence them to adopt an eTextbook.

eTextbooks differ from print textbooks in these ways:

  • Often, eTextbooks are offered at a lower price, but it is advised to check, as cost tends to fluctuate depending on provider.
  • eTextbooks are sold or rented with no opportunity for the student to sell it back.
  • It is important to find out which devices support the particular eTextbook.
  • It is suggested to select an eTextbook that is offered on multiple devices and can be accessed offline, as well as offered in print as an alternative.

Barnes and Noble: Yuzu

Yuzu is the eTextbook application by Barnes and Noble. When a student purchases or rents an eTextbook directly from the UCF Bookstore, they will receive an access code and download the eTextbook to their Yuzu web app account. The eTextbook can then be accessed on a computer and/or iPad (up to two devices) through the Yuzu website.

Digital Course Packs: XanEdu/AcademicPub

XanEdu and AcademicPub have merged to offer the creation of custom print and digital course packs.

  • Academic Pub is an online do-it-yourself platform that allows instructors to create custom course materials (text, media, websites, images) by accessing copyright-cleared content from hundreds of publishers. You can also upload your own materials such as PDFs, webpages, PowerPoints, images, and Word files, along with any third-party content. The AcademicPub platform keeps track of royalty costs and page count along the way, making the instructor 100% in control of the content and cost of his or her course materials. Custom course materials are offered in print, digital, or a combination of print and digital. Students purchase the custom course materials through the UCF Bookstore. To register for an account and begin exploring options, visit the UCF Academic Pub website.
  • The XanEdu branch is intended for instructors who would like more in-depth services. An instructor provides materials such as a syllabus and reading list, and an editor will do content research to find appropriate materials and clear copyrights. Before finalizing the resource, please consult with your subject librarian to see if any of the materials are offered free through the library. To learn more about XanEdu, please fill out their information form.

John C. Hitt Library Digital Options

Springer is a major publisher of academic and professional books, and their eBooks can be assigned as textbooks. The UCF Library has perpetual rights and online access to Springer books published in English between 2005 and 2014, comprising of over 16,000 volumes. In addition, UCF users have access from 1997 to 2014 to all of Springer’s major book series, including the well-known Lecture Notes Series.

Springer eBooks are available to all UCF students, faculty and staff anywhere, anytime. There is no limit on the number of people who can open Springer eBooks at one time, and any fair use of the content for educational purposes is allowed, including embedding the content in Webcourses@UCF. Because Springer eBooks are in PDF format, students can print, e-mail, and download entire chapters and books to read off-line on a smartphone, tablet, eBook reader (such as Kindle), laptop, or any computer.

Students that prefer print may order a rapid-print copy of any of the Springer titles which will be bound and shipped to their address for $25.

Please see the research guide on all eBook collections at the UCF Library, and feel free to contact your subject librarian for further assistance.

Additional Digital Options

If you are interested in offering supplemental or optional digital materials, there are additional options for selecting digital course materials, such as alternative eTextbook providers and open resources.

Alternative eTextbook Providers

There are several online providers that offer eTextbooks at a typically reduced price.

  • Inklingbuy a single chapter or the entire book. The eTextbook is available through the Inkling app on iOS and Android, and on the Web. Users can highlight, take notes, and share the notes with others.
  • Boundless offers low-cost alternatives to existing textbooks. Educators can request a free evaluation copy, while most eTextbooks are $19.99 for students. The materials can be customized from a variety of different books. Supplementary teaching materials are also available, including quizzes and readings.
  • Open Stax offers science, economics, and history peer-reviewed eTextbooks, along with accompanying resources such as test questions and presentation slides. The books can be downloaded for free as a PDF version, as an interactive iBook for $5 (iTunes U), or sent as a print book for $30 (although some books are only availably digitally).
  • CourseSmart provides access to the world's largest selection of eTextbooks and digital materials. Free for instructors, and up to 60% off for students. Free apps for iPad and Android devices.

Open Resources

Open resources are resources that can be freely accessed online.

  • MERLOT offers 3,300 open eTextbooks in areas such as arts, business, education, humanities, math, science, and social sciences.
  • Flat World Knowledge offers over 100 open textbooks in business, social sciences, humanities, sciences, and mathematics, and can be customized.
  • MIT Open Courseware offers free engineering, science, and mathematics eTextbooks.
  • Noba offers open psychology materials, organized by topics and chapters, which can be organized into an eTextbook.
  • OER Commons is a host of open educational resources, including a search for over 750 open textbooks in areas such as education, arts, humanities, social sciences, science, and mathematics.


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