So much of what students read at the college-level is now in the form of electronic text. Formats include electronic textbooks, course management systems, PDF files of articles, webpages, blogs, and scanned images. Students are more likely to locate a full-text scholarly article through the library database than grab a journal off the library shelf. Perhaps they will choose to print it, but many will email it to themselves or save it to their flash drive and read it on their computer.

Even though many of our students are comfortable in virtual environments, they may find this digital reading more challenging than reading on paper, or they might not take it as seriously. Reading electronic texts can present challenges such as comprehending graphics and multimedia features. Teachers need to be aware of the cognitive challenges posed by online environments to improve students' reading comprehension of electronic, or digital texts.