Winston Salem, NC -- Four colleges across the Piedmont Triad are participating in a pilot program designed to help students learn more efficiently.
In the beginning of the fall semester of 2011, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem State University, Guilford Technical and Community College and Salem College all introduced an electronic software called BioBook to Biology 101.
Interactive multimedia content, social networking features and real-time self-assessment now replace the photographs and printed text in traditional textbooks.
"Today, it's just biology, but the goal is to be able to use this concept with many other subjects and to eventually use this concept in many other universities," said Wake Forest University Spokesperson Katie Neal.
Since the fall semester, the colleges compared results of the use of BioBooks in the classrooms.
According to Wake Forest University officials, BioBook takes the e-textbook to the next level to improve persistence and success in college-level biology for non-majors.
BioBook was created by an interdisciplinary team of science and education researchers at Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem-based technology partner Odigia.
"BioBook allows students to master topics in their own way and in any order that makes sense to them from any computer, tablet or mobile platform," explained Neal.
Overall, students weighed in positively on the new learning tool.
According to a survey conducted by the four participating colleges, 67% of users agree or strongly agree that BioBook's format makes it easier to understand basic biology concepts.
*83% agree or strongly agree that BioBook's format makes it easier to see and understand the connection between basic biology concepts.
*78% agree or strongly agree that BioBook's format makes it easier to track overall learning progress by using embedded quizzes and self-assessment tools.
*95% agree or strongly agree that BioBook's format makes it easier to see what they don't know yet or need to review.
The program has been funded by a grant from the Next Generation Learning Challenges program, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
According to Wake Forest University officials, BioBook should be available to the public just ahead of the 2012-2013 school year.
WFMY News 2