E-Textbooks Saved Many Students Only $1

Nick DeSantis, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Jan 05, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Alan Levine quite rightly growls about this Chronicle article that takes the most negative possible spin on the distribution of eBooks. In addition to the slim savings had by some due to "publisher pricing decisions" the article also describes the difficulties some students had opening the materials "thanks to disparities in basic computing skills" and the dissatisfaction they registered on a survey. Levine, who actually read the study before commenting, writes, "The fact is, in looking at the report, A Study of Four Textbook Distribution Models (EDUCAUSE Quarterly), which is quite detailed, I had to do a keyword search to find this one sentence." The old saying is, "if it bleeds, it leads," and as Levine says, "few do it more bloodily than the Chronicle of Higher Education." Having read the article, I don't see it as being particularly favorable to eBooks, but agree that the Chronicle went overboard, producing coverage that doesn't resemble the original. Instead of adopting the hysterical approach, they would have been better to focus on the study's findings: "Institutions seeking to implement campus-wide e-text adoption should be prepared to address specific concerns, including faculty choice, infrastructure needs, student technological skills, cost savings, and instructional adaptation."
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