Sunday, May 6, 2012

Digital Textbooks Elicit Mixed Reactions by Students, Faculty

07 February 2012

We see it every day. We use it every day. Technology is everywhere, from the machines we use to complete homework assignments to the gadgets in our hands that allow us to communicate within an instant.

Two of these recent innovations to the technology world are the iPad and Kindle, both of which have expanded their digital bookstores to include interactive textbooks. Apple announced iBooks 2, which features digital and interactive textbooks, in January.

That brought forth the question: are physical textbooks dying?

“It’s a situation in our society that people commonly refer to as the ‘Death of Book Culture,’” ... .


That has faculty thinking about what classes would be like without the use of hard textbooks in a totally digital world. With the way students possess devices of this new technology age, you would think most students would embrace such a possibility.

Michelle Goff, sophomore English major, said that she wouldn’t embrace the decision because she is against digital books. Goff went on to say that she has become accustomed to using them anyway and that a recent classroom discussion on the topic led to arguments against digital books, with students saying they actually preferred hard textbooks.


The administration at Cabrini is also taking into consideration that there are many conditions to look at before making any move toward a digital transition. [snip].

“In our academic plan, the faculty and I are working on the role of technology,” Dr. Anne Skleder, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said. “We’re all on a trajectory to figure out what we should be doing in the future.”


“Cabrini College is profoundly aware of both the challenges and opportunities that advances in technology pose for the teaching and learning process and we are addressing this in a forthright yet thoughtful manner,” Dr. Marie Angelella George, President of Cabrini College, said in a statement via email. [snip].


“We believe as a department that this would ultimately result in a significant financial savings for our students,” Frechie said. “That’s clearly something we’ve got to explore.”

While there is no active development in going digital, in a way, Cabrini has already started a transition of sorts. Skleder said that an online e-portfolio is in development, and with tools like Blackboard Vista and CabriniOne available to students currently, a paperless transition has indeed started to take shape.

“We really have to think about the big picture of how we can use technology to do that [eliminate paper],” Skleder said. “I think it’s an exciting time in higher education and technology.”


“Technology is changing so quickly,” Frechie said. “There’s a part of me that fears that we would commit to a program like this and in the long run not be able to sustain it on the basis of the technology becoming outdated.”

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