Tag Archives: Textbooks

E-Textbook Use in CIS 9000

As a larger-scale follow up to the e-textbook project with the PSY 1000 class in January 2011, we arranged for the use of an e-textbook in four sections of  CIS 9000 (Information Systems for Managers) in spring 2011 (n = 182).  We followed the same procedures as the PSY 1000 project: students were offered the option of downloading any and all formats of the textbook from the publisher’s site at no cost.   Students were asked to complete the same survey instrument that we used for PSY 1000.  Below are some preliminary data and a complete report will follow.  In the discussion of e-books at the last Tech Sharecase, I heard comments that students are not ready to use e-textbooks at Baruch.  The data from last January and this spring would seem to contradict a generalization on this issue.  There are incentives (e.g., financial) that will persuade students to use an e-textbook.  Once they use one, the great majority report that the format was at least a welcome supplement to print use and in a large number of cases it was an acceptable sole format for use.

Which of the following formats of your course textbook did you use? (Multiple responses allowed)

1. An e-book that I loaded onto my iPad, SonyReader, Entourage Edge, or Kno. = 16 (9%)

2. A PDF file that I read on my computer or laptop. = 103 (57%)

3.  An e-book that I loaded onto my Kindle. = 14 (8%)

4.  A group of Web pages that I accessed from my computer or laptop. = 47 (26%)

5.  None of the above. I only used a paper copy of the book that I bought from the publisher/bookstore or printed out by myself. = 19 (10%)

Did you print all or part of the textbook from the PDF version or from the web site?

Yes = 34%

No = 66%

Based on your experience with the e-textbook in this course, how interested are you in using an e-textbook in your other courses?

1.  I am now more interested in using an e-textbook in my courses. = 64%

2.  I am now less interested in using an e-textbook in my courses. = 8%

3.  My level of interest has not changed since I took this course. = 28%

The students’ written comments on the survey are especially helpful in understanding their perception of the role for e-textbooks at this time and how the library may facilitate the adoption of e-textbooks. More to follow.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on E-Textbook Use in CIS 9000

Tech Sharecase, 4 March 2011

Janey Chao, Lisa Ellis, Stephen Francoeur, Harold Gee, Joseph Hartnett, Jin Ma, Rita Ormsby, Michael Waldman, Kevin Wolff

We had a wide-ranging discussion of ebooks and ebook readers:

  • HarperCollins limiting ebook checkouts on titles in OverDrive to 26 times
  • Video by public librarians identifying HarperCollins print titles that have circulated
    HarperCollins 26+ checkouts

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Je90XRRrruM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

  • criteria we have in mind when we are considering adding an ebook to the library collection:
    • # of simultaneous users
    • is it a license  or a purchase (with hosting fees)
  • the kinds of titles where an ebook might make sense:
    • reference books
    • heavily circulated titles (such as Malcolm X’s autobiography)
    • frequently stolen or lost titles
    • technical books
    • manuals and handbooks
    • test prep books
    • books on hot button topics
    • poetry and short story collections
    • literature anthologies
  • Sarah Glassmeyer’s blog post (“HCOD, eBook User Bill of Rights and Math“) about whether a boycott of Harper would have any noticeable affect
  • ebrary is working on a service that would let users download titles
  • Arthur’s blog post about e textbooks
  • Flatworld Knowledge
  • another CIS class will use the Kindles this spring
  • putting public domain works used in the Great Works class on a reader
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Student Demand for E-Textbook Formats

An instructor for a Winter session course has adopted a textbook that is also available from the publisher in several e-formats. I want to work with students in the course who are interested in using e-readers to learn from their experience so that we can design services to support wider adoption. I asked the 75 students who have already registered for the course the question below. So far, 54 students have responded:

I want my textbook to be (check all that apply):

1. An e-book loaded onto my iPad, SonyReader, Entourage Edge, or Kno. = 11 (20% of the respondents chose this format)

2. A PDF file that I would read on my computer or laptop. = 34 (63%)

3. An e-book loaded onto my Kindle. = 10 (19%)

4. A group of Web pages that I can access from my computer or laptop. = 27 (50%)

5. ONLY a printed, paper book. (Do not check this if you checked any of the above.) = 15 (28%)

I am disappointed that more than one-quarter of the respondents want no e-book option at all. The large number of responses in favor of PDF could indicate an interest in simply printing out out the book using the student printing allocation. I am pleased by the variety of formats that at least some students were willing to use. There is probably enough interest for us to work with the class. If that occurs I will share more information about the course and how the e-book will be used.

Update: Based on the responses to the survey the BCTC will run a test with this class to determine what technical support from us is needed for students to work with textbooks in these digital formats. We will also document their experience working with them. Today the students will receive a message from me indicating that on the first day of class they will get a code to access all the digital formats at no charge, including the ancillaries to the textbook. They will also be able to purchase a print copy of the textbook from the Baruch College bookstore or directly from the publisher at the list price.

Update: At the end of the Winter session we administered a survey to the 84 students who completed the course.  Here are the key findings:

  • One-third of the students opted to use only digital formats and reported not printing any pages from the textbook.
  • 55% of the students required no assistance with downloading and using the digital content.  The students who did require assistance rated the support from BCTC and publisher very highly.
  • Three-quarters of the students reported that this experience increased their interest in using an e-textbook in their other courses.   18% said that it  had no effect.  Several students reported that their interest decreased, but their answers to other questions indicates that they did not use the digital formats.
  • The average  number of formats used by students was 1.86 out of a possible 5 formats, including print. The highest number reported was 4.  Students used the formats for different purposes and different situations.  For example, PDF or Kindle when on a subway and or when Web access was not available.
  • Students liked: accessibility, convenience, ancillaries (flashcards, quizzes), not having to carry and risk losing a textbook, using chapters at a time, and helping the environment.
  • Students disliked: not being able to annotate, the absence of an active table of contents in one format, download time for PDF files, not being able to load onto a smartphone, and eye strain.
  • The free access to the digital files in this project contributed greatly to the positive experience.

Anticipated vs. Actual Use of Formats

Prior to the start of classes we measured interest among the students by polling them about their anticipated use of each format (see above, n=54).  We repeated that question in the exit survey (n=84) and the students’ reported use of formats is compared with their anticipated use below.

1. An e-book loaded onto my iPad, SonyReader, Entourage Edge, or Kno. = (20% anticipated vs. 5% actual)

2. A PDF file that I would read on my computer or laptop. = (63% anticipated vs. 66% actual)

3. An e-book loaded onto my Kindle. = (19% anticipated vs. 6% actual)

4. A group of Web pages that I can access from my computer or laptop. = (50% anticipated vs. 30% actual)

5. ONLY a printed, paper book. (Do not check this if you checked any of the above.) = (28% anticipated vs. 11% actual)

The publisher reported 32 downloads of the textbook in ePub format (38%) and 22 downloads of .mobi files (26%).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Tech Sharecase, 8 October 2010

Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Ellen Kaufman, Mike Waldman, Kevin Wolff

Barcode Scan Apps for Phones

We talked about a blog post from Boing Boing detailing how one used book dealer uses barcode scanning app on his phone to identify profitable items in thrift shops.

Copyright and Course Reserves
There was some discussion about recent decisions in the course reserves case at Georgia State in which three publishers alleged that the library had infringed copyright. We looked at the blog posts on the LibraryLaw Blog and the ARL Policy Notes blog about the case.

We went over the business model that Flat World Knowledge offers in its e-textbook service. Relatedly, in future meetings of the Tech Sharecase, we hope to have more discussion of online learning objects that might supplement or replace altogether textbooks in certain classes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tech Sharecase, 8 October 2010

Tech Sharecase, 9 April 2010

Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Moon-Seok Kang, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Jin Ma, Ryan Phillips, Mike Waldman

Net Neutrality and the FCC
We discussed the recent court decision that ruled the FCC lacked the authority to regulate the internet, a move which presently curtails the FCC’s ability to issue policies relating to net neutrality (covered in this New York Times article from 6 April 2010). We noted, though, that because of this setback to the FCC, there may soon be legislation that will expressly give the FCC regulatory powers over the internet.

Launch of the iPad
Moon-Seok Kang, a BCTC lab assistant, showed us his brand new iPad and talked about its features and usability. We took a look at a blog post from NCSU Libraries about their new iPad loan program. We also discussed the news that Apple was developing a way to deliver ads in the apps that you can install on your iPhones and iPads (see this New York Times article from 9 April 2010). It was also suggested that we might benefit from having a regular gadget petting zoo, where library staff and faculty could get their hands on the latest technological gadgets to see what they look like and how they work.

Semantic Web
Jin Ma shared some notes of hers from what was Corey Harper’s presentation at the recent LACUNY/METRO event on the semantic web. We looked at the following:

Flat World Knowledge
Arthur Downing gave an update on a recent meeting that he and a group of others from Baruch had with an executive from Flat World Knowledge to hear the company’s pitch to provide textbooks for selected courses here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tech Sharecase, 9 April 2010

Tech Sharecase, 5 March 2010

Arthur Downing, Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur, Ryan Phillips

Mobile Phones
We looked at a report from Gartner that predicted sales of mobile phones with touchscreens are expected to rise 97 percent in 2010. We also wondered if we were able to track how many visitors to the library’s website came there on mobile devices. There is some data to that effect in our library’s website statistics if you look at what browsers and operating systems were used by site visitors, but the data isn’t as complete as we’d hoped it might be. We also talked about how much we know about the extent to which Baruch students have adopted the latest cell phone technology.

Ebooks and Ebook Readers
After looking at a graphic from the New York Times comparing the “economics of producing a book” in print vs. electronic, we had a discussion of our school’s Kindle experiment and what we might do with the Kindles after the semester is over. One idea that was floated was what it might mean were we to load public domain editions of books that are required reading in undergraduate courses (especially ones that are part of the general education curriculum).

We watched a video from Flat World Knowledge about their “open textbooks” that can be freely read online as well as purchased as a file download or a print-on-demand book.

Video Collections
We looked at the way that the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University has created a “Toolkit” site where screencasts are collected. Each video offers an embed code, making it easy for instructors and librarians to deploy the videos on course websites, course blogs, etc. The embed codes are for the hosted webservice where the video file actually resides (YouTube, etc.). It doesn’t appear that the videos are locally hosted on the Toolkit site.

We also browsed the collection of screencasts that have been uploaded to our library’s YouTube account.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ticker Article on Our New Textbook Initiative

An article in this week’s Ticker covered our expanded textbook program.

Bukauskas, Dovilas. “Simple Spin on Reserve Texts.” The Ticker, 14 Setptember 2009. Web.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ticker Article on Our New Textbook Initiative

Elsevier Tries to Rig Recommendation System in Amazon

This week, it was reported that someone at Elsevier had concocted a plan whereby professors who had adopted a clinical psychology textbook would be encouraged to write positive reviews of the book on Amazon; in return, those professors would receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Read Scott Jaschik’s piece on this in Inside Higher Ed for more details.

Jaschik, Scott. “Elsevier Won’t Pay for Praise.” Inside Higher Ed. 23 June 2009. Web. 24 June 2009.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Elsevier Tries to Rig Recommendation System in Amazon