Sunday, September 14, 2008

The electronic textbook

Just received an email from the editors of Innovate, a journal of online education, in which the editors are seeking contributions about the future of textbooks and how they might or might not change in the electronic near future. Very interesting. I have been toying with the idea of abandoning a regular textbook in my HIS 135, contemporary history course, but I haven't yet been able to get up to do that, thinking that I need a bunch more resources online for the course before I could make any change.
It is worrisome, the thought of abandoning the text, not from the point of view of the material in there, but considering that students read so little now, and they have such poorly defined reading skills, especially when it comes to interpreting the information--not to mention actually being able to read a couple of hundred pages a week. I am not sure where that leaves us if we abandon a large part of the reading demands on them, because you can't just replace a text with an equivalent amount of online text. More thoughts on this later.

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