Reports that students still prefer print textbooks when studying are old news. San Jose State University and Hewlett-Packard are trying to find out why and if there is a middle ground between print and digital.
The SJSU School of Library and Information Science and HP launched a pilot this summer to compare electronic and print textbooks using a personalized hybrid tool offered in two of the school’s online master’s degree programs.
Instructors use METIS (Meaningful Education and Training Information System) to compile reading materials by combing PDFs and URLs of chapters they want students to read and create specific assignments from that content. The platform allows them to follow students’ work and find content that best fits the needs and interests of individual students.
Students can access course material as an e-book or print it out using the platform. Digital content includes embedded links and multimedia, while print versions use QR codes that lead to the same material. METIS also allows students to organize color-coded notes that connect to relevant content in the course materials.
“We are trying to learn what students prefer when it comes to working with print material and digital versions of the material,” said Debbie Faires, director of online learning at the SJSU information school. “Faculty members can use what we learn about the best formats to support student learning when they select the types of reading materials and formats they will use in their classes.”