Your textbooks at a distance

Jan 13, 2021
With refreshed lockdown measures in place, being able to access textbooks digitally is paramount. Liam Boyle outlines how the Institute’s digital book platform, Chartered Textbooks Online, works and how it can help with your studies while distance learning.

Since March 2020, we have all had to find new ways of doing things. Work. Study. Socialising. Although maybe not necessarily in that order. The academic years 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 will be remembered for the extraordinary, unprecedented events that have catapulted Chartered Accountants Ireland students (and staff) into full-on remote learning and online lectures and exams. 

Once the initial shock of lockdown had subsided, and with it the realisation that this could go on for longer than first thought, it became apparent that new ways of teaching and learning had to be found – and new ways to facilitate it. Many students chose to head for home during lockdown, inadvertently leaving their printed textbooks behind. As lockdown continued, the need to provide access to the textbooks for these students became urgent. 

As an emergency stop-gap, the publishing team at Chartered Accountants Ireland arranged for access to Ebook Central, the online platform of ProQuest, a US company that supplies ebooks to third-level libraries worldwide. This has plugged the gap, but is not a long-term solution. Fortunately, our own bespoke digital textbook platform, Chartered Textbooks Online, had already been developed and trialled. All we had to do was accelerate our plans to add every single title for each subject across all years.

Chartered Textbooks Online

Chartered Textbooks Online is, simply, a dedicated website where students can access digital versions of their textbooks. It is easily accessed from the Student Centre – the link is just underneath the Learning Hub button – and requires no additional log-in details if you are already logged onto the website. 

First rolled out in September 2018 as a pilot project, Chartered Textbooks Online marked the first step in offering digital content to students, forming the foundation for what will become a complete digital library. It is an additional resource for students, enhancing and supporting the other resources available and allowing you greater flexibility in how you study.  

The site is still in development, with titles now being added on a regular basis. Currently available are the tax textbooks (Taxation 1, Taxation 2 and Taxation 3) for both ROI and NI, the Law for Accountants manuals and toolkits, the Double-entry Bookkeeping Toolkit, An Introduction to Financial Accounting 2nd Edition and Managerial Accounting 3rd Edition.

Further titles will be added in the coming months. The target is to have all CAP1, CAP2 and FAE textbooks added to the site by May 2021. Students will be kept up-to-date and informed as new titles are added to the service. 

The digital textbooks retain the look of their physical printed versions – the familiar design, layout and structure helping students to navigate the online texts with ease. As a digital resource, Chartered Textbooks Online offers a number of features: side bars with linked table of contents and chapter contents for quick and easy navigation, hyperlinked cross-references and search functionality. 

As a dedicated website, Chartered Textbooks Online has the added attraction of making all the textbooks available in one place. Whether you are a CAP1, CAP2 or FAE student, all the textbooks you need will be there for you. Furthermore, Chartered Textbooks Online provides access to all current textbooks across all years. So, if you are a CAP2 student and you want to recap, say, the most current income tax reliefs available to an individual, you can access Taxation 1 and look it up.

Chartered Textbooks Online is a work-in-progress. We have a vision of how we can make it more useful and user friendly, but we would really like to hear what you think. Your feedback (critical as well as positive welcome!), comments, suggestions and ideas are hugely important in helping us to create and develop a truly useful and valued digital textbooks platform. Please share your thoughts with us by emailing publishing@charteredaccountants.ie.

Liam Boyle is Editorial Production Manager at Chartered Accountants Ireland.