ERIC Number: EJ847216
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-12
Reference Count: N/A
6 Lessons One Campus Learned about E-Textbooks
Young, Jeffrey R.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n39 pA18 Jun 2009
Northwest Missouri State University nearly became the first public university to deliver all of its textbooks electronically. Last year the institution's president, Dean L. Hubbard, bought a Kindle, Amazon's e-book reading device, and liked it so much that he wanted to give every incoming student one. The university already runs an unusual textbook-rental program that buys thousands of printed books for students who pay a flat, per-credit fee. Mr. Hubbard saw in the Kindle a way to significantly cut the rental program's annual $800,000 price tag, since e-books generally cost half the price of printed textbooks. Then the university ran a pilot study with the Sony Reader, a device much like the Kindle. University officials learned some sobering lessons about electronic books. Students who got the machines quickly asked for their printed books back because it was so awkward to navigate inside the e-books. Mr. Hubbard still dreams of lighter bookbags and lower costs, but the university is now moving more slowly--and running tests involving several different types of e-books. Based on the author's talks with professors, students, and administrators at Northwest Missouri, lessons for any university considering assigning digital textbooks include: (1) Judge e-books by the device and software used to display them; (2) There will be a learning curve; (3) Professors are eager students; (4) Battery life is a major consideration; (5) Subjects are not equally e-friendly; and (6) Environmental impact matters.
Descriptors: Textbooks, Electronic Learning, Electronic Publishing, Electronic Equipment, Formative Evaluation, State Colleges, College Administration, Policy Analysis, Program Implementation, Use Studies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Missouri