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Old 05-09-2009, 01:26 PM   #16
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A lot of professors, in the mathematics department are usually interested in writing their own material than to rely on text books, I can see math books being cheaper in the long run, hopefully Dover publications will get in on this, they sell math text books for roughly 20 dollars a book.
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:18 PM   #17
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A lot of professors, in the mathematics department are usually interested in writing their own material than to rely on text books, I can see math books being cheaper in the long run, hopefully Dover publications will get in on this, they sell math text books for roughly 20 dollars a book.
Math guy here also, and interestingly enough only one prof of ever used his own book and in that case he gave it to us and told us to NOT even bother buying the required book as it was only there because he was required to assign some book. He was one of my fav profs though. Still he handed out copies of his hand written book in chunks over the year. It would have been really nice to get it in a PDF.

I do see math texts as a great subject for an ereader. Once I reached the upper division courses and then grad courses, I never used more than 2-3 books at once and even then it was usually a primary text then some support pages from the other texts.

I WISH some of my profs had used Dover...I still remember the chill I had from opening my Abstract Algebra text in the bookstore and reading the price. And the thing was a whole, 147 pages or something in that ballpark. But you know what they say in math "....beware the thin book..." because that means they left out everything you actually are there to learn...hahaha...

I got my last degree over 12 yrs ago and even then prices were off the charts. I shudder to consider where they are today.

Like many here I started my college studies in the 70s and continued on and off with other degrees until the mid-90s. During that span I saw a steady decline in the ability to resell my books. I kept most of them because the 10-25% we would get back was hardly worth the effort compared to the reference the ones I kept provided. I chose to give the books I did not need to keep to fellow students who were working their way through school like I was. The move to ebooks will pretty much kill that as well as used books. Still they will always have to sell dead tree copies as there will always be those who cannot read on the device due to limitations of the display.

The single tool I would have walked through broken glass for when beginning college was a word processor. I was an awful typist and spent more time typing than I did researching and writing a paper. When getting my math degree, MathCad & Mathematica for Windows came out and I was in HEAVEN, I could transcribe my notes right after the lectures that day!! Prior to that I used a WP called AmiPro (now WordPro from IBM) that had a great equation editor. I think an ebook reading device would be the same today in terms of freeing up time and effort to focus on studying.
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Old 05-11-2009, 04:07 PM   #18
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Let me provide some real life examples from the university classroom.

At my university, we can put our course readers (i.e., articles, books chapters, etc.) online for our students and also have our university print shop create a physical version of the reader. The electronic version is always free. The printed version is not.

Whenever I ask students what they want, the results are not always clearly towards the digital versions. The results are mixed. My students have said the following:

1. It's very hard to read a digital version. I always end up printing it out because it's easier to read and mark up.
2. The printed versions are bulky. I only want to print out ones that I find necessary. [Note that these students still print out the digital versions, but only selective articles/pages.]
3. The printed versions are too expensive.
4. I prefer the digital version because I don't have to carry the course reader with me everywhere I go
5. The digital versions are cumbersome. I have too many pieces of paper flying everywhere.
6. I like the digital versions because it's free.
7. Even if you give us the digital version, we end up printing out everything which is more expensive than what the university printer charges for the reader.

I personally like to offer both digital and printed versions but I find that very difficult to justify because the university bookstore (which is actually an independent entity separate from the university) loses out if fewer people end up buying the printed versions than what I ordered. These course readers are not re-sellable. So, I only offer digital or printed, usually not both.

If everything were offered only digitally (read the qualifications carefully so one doesn't wildly project what I'm talking about) with the spirit of using digital readers for them, I find that problematic from the standpoint of a student. A student takes various courses at the same time and each course uses several books at the same time. A digital reader only displays one screen which usually means one page at a time. I can't imagine being an effective student and only having one page open at a time. Cumbersome, ineffective, impediment to learning.

This is not to condemn digital books. Rather, it's to say that the technology we currently have to interact with digital books is still rather ineffective and probably best not to adopt school-wide/university-wide until we seriously, SERIOUSLY, think about how students learn and how teachers teach instead of the other way around which is usually just goo-goo-ga-ga over a technology. So, instead of going from technology dictating how learning and teaching should occur (which is so often the case when technophiles and technologists think about how to apply technology to education) we should go from thinking how technology can BEST SERVE teaching and learning

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Old 05-11-2009, 04:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by simplyparticular View Post
Not necessarily. Lots of schools charge mandatory Technology Fees that include "free" printing at libraries on campus. So as long as my wifi connection to the library intranet was decent, I could print huge journal articles from online catalogs that my fees paid for, as long as I was willing to wait at the printer. That was a heck of a lot easier than digging in the stacks for the same journals, and then photo-copying, which I did in undergrad. And this was all legal as per the universities licensing.

It would probably be just as easy to do with cracked textbooks.

Bree
Interesting. The university I teach at doesn't do that. Each time students print to a university printer (essentially those at the computer labs), they are charged 10 cents which appears on their university bill. It's all automatically charged. I think this is a better idea if students are going to be charged a fee at all.
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:21 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by thibaulthalpern View Post
Interesting. The university I teach at doesn't do that. Each time students print to a university printer (essentially those at the computer labs), they are charged 10 cents which appears on their university bill. It's all automatically charged. I think this is a better idea if students are going to be charged a fee at all.
Although 10c/page is hardly "cost". Wonder why they need to make a profit on that too.

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Originally Posted by thibaulthalpern View Post
If everything were offered only digitally (read the qualifications carefully so one doesn't wildly project what I'm talking about) with the spirit of using digital readers for them, I find that problematic from the standpoint of a student. A student takes various courses at the same time and each course uses several books at the same time. A digital reader only displays one screen which usually means one page at a time. I can't imagine being an effective student and only having one page open at a time. Cumbersome, ineffective, impediment to learning.
Students don't have to pay for copyright fees where these readers are concerned then? I find that makes up most of the cost of the readers here.
I'm not sure what you're getting at otherwise though. Most courses (undergrad) only use one book, or perhaps sections from 2, but hardly ever two at the same time, as critical reading only seems to start at the upper end of the degree. Anyway, printing doesn't have to cost anywhere near 10c/page. That figure seems more of a deterrent than a realistic amount.
Quote:
This is not to condemn digital books. Rather, it's to say that the technology we currently have to interact with digital books is still rather ineffective and probably best not to adopt school-wide/university-wide until we seriously, SERIOUSLY, think about how students learn and how teachers teach instead of the other way around which is usually just goo-goo-ga-ga over a technology. So, instead of going from technology dictating how learning and teaching should occur (which is so often the case when technophiles and technologists think about how to apply technology to education) we should go from thinking how technology can BEST SERVE teaching and learning
Agreed. Current readers are way too slow to be usable for anything approaching research/comparison of texts/sections. If opening times could be reduced to 1-2s per file (like they are on my desktop), and you could have multiple files open simultaneously (say, having 2 (B5-sized) files open side by side on the DR1000S or something with a similarly-sized screen), this would be workable, though. You might need 2 devices, but that's about it.

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Old 05-11-2009, 05:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerospinboson View Post
Although 10c/page is hardly "cost". Wonder why they need to make a profit on that too.


Students don't have to pay for copyright fees where these readers are concerned then? I find that makes up most of the cost of the readers here.
I'm not sure what you're getting at otherwise though. Most courses (undergrad) only use one book, or perhaps sections from 2, but hardly ever two at the same time, as critical reading only seems to start at the upper end of the degree.
We had two books for a lot of the EE courses at Oklahoma state back in the 80s.
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:33 PM   #22
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A lot of these comments make it clear that a laptop would function better as a reader, and an app that could open multiple windows (like Acrobat) a better choice than a Kindle.

Just sayin'.
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:40 PM   #23
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A lot of these comments make it clear that a laptop would function better as a reader, and an app that could open multiple windows (like Acrobat) a better choice than a Kindle.

Just sayin'.
Especially because Acrobat will allow you to highlight sections. But yeah, I use it alongside my iLiad, for quickly looking up something, after which I read it on my iLiad.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:49 PM   #24
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Although 10c/page is hardly "cost". Wonder why they need to make a profit on that too.


Students don't have to pay for copyright fees where these readers are concerned then? I find that makes up most of the cost of the readers here.
I'm not sure what you're getting at otherwise though. Most courses (undergrad) only use one book, or perhaps sections from 2, but hardly ever two at the same time, as critical reading only seems to start at the upper end of the degree. Anyway, printing doesn't have to cost anywhere near 10c/page. That figure seems more of a deterrent than a realistic amount.
No, there is no copyright fee as far as I understand. The printers say the fee for the course reader is the printing and labour fee. That's all. I don't know where you're based in but in the U.S. where I'm based in, there is freedom to copy within copyright laws which means for educational purposes and also not to copy complete books. Readers produced are usually articles (which can be copy in whole) or chapters and portions from books. No copyright fee. Where copyright does become more of a hassle in my situation is when the book itself has photographs that I'm reproducing. In those cases, the printer needs extra time to contact the publisher who then contacts whoever holds the copyright to the photograph to ask for permission to reproduce the photograph.

I don't know why the university charges 10 cents per page but that's what they do if you use their university printers. Faculty don't get charged when using department printers which is not under the university system.

At your university, undergraduates use only about one book per course? Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding? For any one day, students at my university can have portions of a book plus two or more articles due for that day. And, when a book for that day is not assigned, then there is usually more than three articles assigned each time they meet.

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Old 05-11-2009, 11:55 PM   #25
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A lot of these comments make it clear that a laptop would function better as a reader, and an app that could open multiple windows (like Acrobat) a better choice than a Kindle.

Just sayin'.
Most of the students who have laptops on campus don't have digital readers which is still highly unpopular. The information I get from undergraduates about electronic versions are usually accessing them from a computer (desktop or laptop).
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:13 AM   #26
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No, there is no copyright fee as far as I understand. The printers say the fee for the course reader is the printing and labour fee. That's all. I don't know where you're based in but in the U.S. where I'm based in, there is freedom to copy within copyright laws which means for educational purposes and also not to copy complete books. Readers produced are usually articles (which can be copy in whole) or chapters and portions from books. No copyright fee. Where copyright does become more of a hassle in my situation is when the book itself has photographs that I'm reproducing. In those cases, the printer needs extra time to contact the publisher who then contacts whoever holds the copyright to the photograph to ask for permission to reproduce the photograph.
Odd. While copying is free when done by the student himself, teachers are only allowed to compile readers that adhere to specific rules about article length (10k words usually, although it varies), and are required to pay royalties (well, the students are). If articles are assigned, they're usually put on blackboard, or linked to in some online repository that the library has access to (in order to avoid said royalties). I'm not really sure how or why, but apparently copyright holders got a foot in the door, so students now have to pay when they don't do the copying themselves. (pretty inconsistent, really).
Anyway, it's not usually only one book per course, but it will be only one book at a time, so it's not necessary to have two books open at the same time (as per your example).
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:54 PM   #27
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@zerospinboson, I wonder if this is a particular rule that your printer (university printer?) has instilled. At my university there is not copyright or royalty fee for course readers if they're within the copyright laws. Now, copyright laws are not necessarily all that clear so your printers could be conservative in their interpretation and charge a royalty fee? I don't know.
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:47 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
A lot of these comments make it clear that a laptop would function better as a reader, and an app that could open multiple windows (like Acrobat) a better choice than a Kindle.

Just sayin'.
absolutely agree. If I were to use a reading device the same way I once used textbooks, the only device I would seek out is a SlatePC, even over a convertible/tablet PC. A slate is just the tablet w/o a keyboard. Though a true TabletPC is a nice compromise over a traditional PC.

Working with multiple docs and applications simultaneously is a must feature for a student and professionals. Going to the current ebook readers is like turning the clock back 15yrs or more computing wise.
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