Wednesday, December 8, 2010

6 Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks


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3. Professors are eager students. Faculty members are known to be reluctant to change their teaching approaches. So the original goal was to rope five or six professors into volunteering for the spring experiment. But 54 professors said they wanted in. "Some of them were so passionate about it that they actually sent me petitions," said Mr. Hubbard, ... . [snip]

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4. Long live batteries. The technical difficulty that came up the most in my interviews with students was battery life. [snip]

5. Subjects are not equally e-friendly. Kevin Green, a junior, loved the e-book required in his business-marketing class this spring. "But if it was an accounting course," he said, "I would kind of want a printed textbook because it's got all the numbers" and equations that would be harder to manage electronically. [snip]

6. Environmental impact matters. Ms. Brobst said she would now choose e-books over printed ones, not because she thought they were better but because they save trees. [snip] A few comments in the university's surveys echoed that sentiment, and administrators said they were surprised at the degree to which such consciousness affected students's opinions.

Mr. Hubbard is convinced that in five years e-textbooks will become common on college campuses. And an ambitious e-textbook project at the university could turn out to be the capstone to Mr. Hubbard's legacy.

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