Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Results from the Kindle DX pilot at Princeton University

Princeton University recently released the results from its Kindle DX pilot. Both The Daily Princetonian and Princeton’s website feature articles and the final report can be found on the Office of Information Technology website.

The Princeton pilot differed from the pilots occurring at six other colleges and universities because it was part of a sustainability initiative that focused on reducing the amount of electronic reserve course materials that were printed by students. According to the report, the pilot was a success because participants reduced the amount of paper used by almost 50 percent. However, despite the environmental benefits, students said that the technology is still limited and must be improved for educational use. If the device had better input tools, color highlighting, and the ability to easily flip through readings, it could be a great tool for students. Below is a listing of some of the pros, cons, and suggestions for improvement that were expressed by the students.


  • Environmental benefits
  • Portability
  • Ability to consolidate all texts in one place
  • Battery life
  • Wireless connection
  • Ability to search for content
  • Ability to read the screen in full sunlight


  • Difficult to highlight text and annotate files. PDF documents can not be annotated or highlighted at all
  • Lack of folders to organize readings
  • Inability to quickly navigate between documents
  • Inability to open multiple texts at the same time
  • Kindle texts do not have page numbers to correspond to paper texts
  • Can not easily skim texts

Suggestions for Improvement

  • Improve ability to highlight and annotate PDF files
  • Improve the annotation tools and make it easier to navigate among annotated pages
  • Provide a folder structure to organize readings
  • Improve the highlighting function
  • Improve the navigation within and between documents (add ability to open more than one document at the same time)
  • Addition of touch screen and stylus

The three professors involved in the pilot also noted that the current technology is limited but said that they would be willing to teach more courses with the device if improvements are made.

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