Sunday, January 2, 2011

IT > Focus On Publishing: Another Academic Year

Focus On Publishing: Another Academic Year / Information Today / 27(8): 13-14 / 2010 / Robin Peek


It's not that I am nostalgic for the old print age, although the textbooks then were not the student-political crisis of today. Students are keenly aware of how much their textbooks cost, and if they don't think they are getting their money's worth, it becomes the professor's fault. Indeed, when I ask students how they are doing in one of their particular courses, they often mention the textbook first, usually in the negative. And I understand how they feel. From my side of the equation, we seem to have moved into the realm of merely "making do" with a limited number of options.

So Do Without

Many folks have endured a rough couple of years. But when it comes to education, it's a challenge to ask college students to do without. Circumstances today are putting professors in the role of being "the great apologizer." As libraries slashed their collections, both digital and print, contracts for licensed services were often due in the middle of a semester. [snip].

Doing without is one issue, but drowning in apps is another problem these days. We're facing the problem of too many riches, too many extensions, too many apps, and even too many browsers. I never know which technology platform each individual student has been exposed to until I walk into a classroom for the first time. [snip].


Perhaps the answer is to go digital, and there are definite merits to be considered for this option. However, there are technical and cultural hurdles to overcome as well. If the challenge of offering PC-and Mac-compatible software on a college campus was problematic enough in its early days, it is even worse now. [snip].

Weighing Our Options

These days, the solution keeps cycling back to digital textbooks, which are more in vogue with students who have been raised in an era of "green." Or we could ditch the entire cover-to-cover print textbook idea and collect a unique set of resources for students to use instead. [snip].




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