1. Missildine, Kathy PhD, RN
  2. Fountain, Rebecca MSN, RN
  3. Summers, Lynn MSN, RN, CNOR

Article Content

Nursing students are provided a plethora of educational materials with every course-both printed and electronic-including textbooks, study guides, course Web sites, publisher Web sites, clinical resources, personal digital assistant resources, NCLEX review questions, learning games, and so forth. These resources are provided by faculty and publishers based on the assumption that the millennial generation expects technology-rich resources.1,2 However, these companion learning resources come at an increased cost, and objective evidence of improvement in student learning from their use is not yet evident.



To examine the use, effectiveness, and cost of textbook companion electronic study materials, nursing faculty at the University of Texas at Tyler administered an informal survey to students at the end of the semester in 2 adult health nursing courses. Two hundred fifty-six anonymous surveys were completed across 3 campuses. The 12-item survey, with a 6-point Likert-type design, was divided into 2 parts to evaluate the textbook companion compact disc (CD) and the publisher-provided Web site. Students estimated the number of times that the companion pieces were used over 1 semester and rated how helpful they found these resources (from 0 [not helpful] to 5 [very helpful]).



The number of students who used the resources on the companion CD and the publisher-provided Web site and the perceived helpfulness of each resource are presented in Table 1. The students were more likely to use the companion CD than the publisher-provided Web materials. The NCLEX review questions on the companion CD were most often used, with 151 (59%) students accessing the questions at least once. Of those using this resource, 60% rated it as helpful or very helpful (scores of 4-5). Physical examination video clips on the publisher-provided Web site were used by 31% of students at least once and were rated average to helpful (mean score of 3.7). Less than 25% of students accessed the remaining resources. Of these, the comprehensive glossary and interactive case studies (companion CD) and key points and Web links (publisher Web site) were rated highest in helpfulness (mean scores of 2.5-3.2). Stress busting (companion CD) and electronic calculator (publisher-provided Web site) were infrequently used, possibly because students had other resources in these areas.

Table 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowTable 1. Frequency of Access and Perceived Helpfulness of Companion CD and Publisher-Provided Web site


Electronic resources were not well used by our 256 students, with the exception of NCLEX review questions, so it is difficult to evaluate their effectiveness. To remedy this, faculty can encourage students to use these resources by (1) including an introduction to all available learning resources at the beginning of each course, possibly in conjunction with a representative of the publisher; (2) designing course learning activities that incorporate companion learning resources; (3) collecting and conveying faculty and student feedback to publishers; (4) collaborating with publishers regarding improvement of current resources and the development of new resources, including games; and (5) conducting cost-benefit analysis of educational materials, providing objective evidence of their worth in education.




1. Hawranik P, Thorpe KM. Helping faculty enhance scholarship. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2008;39(4):155-163. [Context Link]


2. Stanford P, Reeves S. Access, consider, teach: ACT in your classroom. Clearinghouse. 2007;80(3):133-136. [Context Link]