The National Association of College Stores released the findings of its annual survey compiling college and university faculty members’ view of trends in course materials yesterday. The report provided a look at how great the shift of usage from print materials to digital was in a year dominated by Covid-19 concerns and a move to online learning.

According to the report, “Faculty Watch: Attitudes and Behaviors toward Course Materials 2020 Report,” the use of traditional print materials declined much more quickly in 2020 than it had in previous years. In 2020, 77% of faculty members responding to the survey reported “strong” print usage, down from 86% in 2019 and 88% in 2018. Among all formats, 24% of faculty still prefer to use traditional print materials, while 20% prefer a print textbook with a digital component. The report also showed 48% of students preferred some type of print course materials.

As print usage fell last year, e-books had the largest increase in use among faculty. 62% of responding faculty members used the format in 2020, up from 53% the previous year.

The report also found that most faculty members, 73%, believe greater use of technology and digital content will continue into the future. That same percentage of faculty members also reported that they had been personally exposed to new technology or courseware this year that they plan to continue using for the long run. Moreover, more than 70% of faculty believe more hybrid/HyFlex models (mixed online and in-person course structures) will continue long-term, and more than half also believe more online-only courses will stay in place.