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e-Texts get used to them!

by Chuck Bagley, MA, CAGS, Granite State College Director of Faculty Development, Lecturer


A few years ago when Andee (my trusted book rep…who is also a proud owner of a GSC fleece vest – yes, I bribe her!) advised me to open a CourseSmart account in order to acquire texts electronically (i.e. eTextbooks or simply eTexts), I was horrified. The thought of teaching without a hard copy of the course text frightened me. Fast forward to now and I find eTextbooks are not that bad…and, in fact, I actually like them. Why? Here is my short list:

  • In a few seconds, I can get an exam copy of a text for review, compare to other texts and consideration for adoption.
  • I discovered I can read eText online or offline.
  • I can search for topics, highlight, print pages, and make notes…legibly.
  • eTexts can be used on a variety of devices including laptops, tablet or smartphones.
  • eTexts easily support American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant assistive technologies thbrain-etexbook-500at facilitate accessibility by users with vision, hearing, or mobility impairments.
  • One does not have to carry heavy books…though this does have a fitness benefit!

However, like another endeavor in life, there is always a down side:

  • I miss that tactile feel of holding the book I am reading.
  • If technology fails, I still have my book!
  • Many eTextbooks are not truly owned – they are basically subscriptions.

Regardless, the word from my book rep is; publishers will soon only be offering exam and desk copies to faculty via eTexts only and many already only offer this option. To get ready for this eventuality, you may want to explore eTextbook online repositories. I have had good luck using CourseSmart that features about 90% of the leading publishers. I have been surprised at the ease of accessing eTextbooks and the versatility of the features. If you are interested, you can learn more by going to: http://instructors.coursesmart.com to explore the options and opportunities.

As academe finds itself in an eText world, I encourage you to be open to this methodology. Don’t be afraid like I was when the idea first surfaced. Marie Curie reminds us, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

In spirit of change and the humorous circumstances new technologies can facilitate, please take some time to enjoy this video. Who knows, maybe it did happen!

 


Video source: Knut Nærum. 2001. “Medieval helpdesk with English subtitles.” 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ.