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.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blogger Weighs in on E-Book 'Rush'

The CITE featured a blog from University of Virginia professor Daniel Willingham who wondered what the rush is to adopt digital course materials (scroll down to May 8). His point was that course materials are more difficult to read than books for pleasure. Besides, digital he added textbooks aren’t much cheaper than print editions in the first place.

That post brought a reply that led to a different and perhaps more cynical conclusion on the reasons behind the push for digital. This blogger questions why both the federal and state governments are pushing digital materials so hard and finds the answer in big business. He says he wants to believe that all the legislation is about making things better for students, but is concerned it’s just about money for publishers.

“The thing is, if my conclusion about how digital textbooks got so hot so fast (is right), then it raises serious doubts as to whether they really have so many virtues,” writes Nate Hoffelder. “What if all the supposed advantages of digital textbooks are really the invention of a sophisticated marketing department and not the observations of enthusiastic adopters?”

Clearly, these are very different points of view. So what’s your thoughts?

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