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Old 02-02-2011, 08:16 AM   #1
jbcohen
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Any students using electronic readers for classes?

I can quite clearly recall my undergraduate days of luging around four one hundred pound textbooks ten to fifteen miles to classes. I think it would have been great if electronic readers were around back then. Just think one reader holds all of the text, no breaking my back with the four hundred pounds of text books, no lugging those heavy things in snow storms instead one reader that can fit into my pocket.

I can recall the campus book store selling out of the text that I need, happened all of the time. With the electronic reader thats not possible.

Grad school wasn't much better, imagine running out the door of the townhouse late to class with four hundred pounds of text in tow, not fun.

Are there any students on these forums whose electronic readers have saved them from the agony that I went through as a student? Have electronic reader helped you a lot?
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:24 AM   #2
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Not college, but my son can have an ebook copy of what ever book they are doing for his English class in High School. He 'reads' it on a laptop in class. He takes the laptop to school anyway, so it is one less thing to carry, and lose.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:36 AM   #3
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If the schools switched to e-textbooks, it would be easier to get different versions for different regions, instead of the Texas school board dictating what god wants the rest of the country's children to have in their textbooks. But is this good or bad? It would free those nutcases to go completely off the deep end, but at least the rest of us wouldn't have to go along with it.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:28 PM   #4
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I've used a few ebooks for classes. For the most part, I find that etextbooks are in screwy formats that severely restrict you. For instance, my accounting class's textbook is online only for the "ebook" version. Several other ebook versions of my texts are in propietary formats that are not supported by any ebook reader. I refuse to pay money for a ebook that limits where I can use it, and for how long I can use it. Some of the ebooks cost as much as the paper texts, and are only available to be used for upto 6 months. Which sucks, because some of my classes will use the same book across multiple semesters.
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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Of course, this is one of the reasons I bought the Pocketbook 902.
I'm taking evening courses and it's a great help to have all the scripts stored on the reader. Most of my fellow students print everything out and carry big files full of paper with them.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:26 PM   #6
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I don't use mine for textbooks (I'm taking mostly science classes right now and teeny diagrams really don't translate well to a K2 screen), but I use it to cart around the lecture notes and practice exercises that the teacher puts online and most of the students just print out.

If I were taking literature courses again, I'd probably carry the ebook versions of the reading texts around, and use the note-taking function to mark the corresponding page numbers from the official print edition for in-class discussion purposes.

But mainly I use my Kindle to carry around my usual set of non-curriculum books to read during breaks and occasionally on the walk to/from campus if weather and traffic allow.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:33 PM   #7
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Ebook readers aren't great for academic uses. They're okay for reading novels or linear nonfiction, but there's limited ability for bouncing around between sections of textbooks, and the annotation abilities of most ebook readers fall a bit short of what many students need.

Ebook readers are terrific for "read these four books for this class;" much less useful for "compare chapter 4 of book X to chapters 9 and 10 of book Y." (Especially since many commercial ebooks don't have tables of contents/bookmarked chapters.) We're a ways off yet, from ebook readers taking the place of heavy physical books.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:35 PM   #8
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Eeek. I hope textbooks don't go the way of eBooks. I am such a visual learner. I mark up my textbooks like crazy. I know you can do notes on eReaders, but it is SO not the same.

Plus, I'm a nursing student. My textbooks are enormous but I can't see anatomy and physiology type figures translating easily to an eReader.
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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Well, for classes for which I had to read novels, I did use my reader. It was less convenient because it took longer to get to parts that I had bookmarked (press button...wait.... press another button...wait...instead of just opening the book to where I'd stuck a post-it note) but since I had to read four or five novels simultaneously, I found the reduced bulk in my bag worth it.

I had an econ class where the textbook was an ebook, but I accessed it on my computer instead, because a giant econ book filled with graphs and pictures isn't going to display nicely on my little 6" screen. I liked it a lot better than a paper textbook - cheaper, less bulky, and I can search for terms I want instantly instead of having to look things up in the index.

Funny enough, my courses now don't have textbooks at all. All of our material is taught from articles in scholarly journals, which have been scanned and posted online. It means no books to buy and I just have to bring my laptop. I would be in favor of moving away from a paper-book-based education model.
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:49 PM   #10
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Eeek. I hope textbooks don't go the way of eBooks. I am such a visual learner. I mark up my textbooks like crazy. I know you can do notes on eReaders, but it is SO not the same.

Plus, I'm a nursing student. My textbooks are enormous but I can't see anatomy and physiology type figures translating easily to an eReader.
You're right when you're talking about an e-ink reader. Although, I wish the iPad/Nook Color had been around in my nursing school days..they'd be good for drug guides and medical dictionaries. There are apps on the iPad that test you in anatomy etc.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:08 PM   #11
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Oh, I really do wish I had an ereader when I was at university. It wouldn't have been so good for my IT classes, but having various texts for my history and sociology classes all on the one device would have made me very very happy.

As it is, I did use my Kobo to read popular non-fiction relevant to my final year studies last year. Since the Kobo can't handle hyperlinks, following endnotes was impossible and thus became frustrating sometimes, but as my mind also leaks like a sieve, I would read such books linearly and casually on the Kobo the first time around, then use the laptop for when I needed to make annotations and read in-depth to make things stick.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:18 PM   #12
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Wait wait wait.

It's 2011 and students are still lugging around back-breaking tonnages of dead-tree textbooks?

The technology in the Kindle DX is sophisticated enough to start taking a bite out of charts, graphs, diagrams and illustrations. It wouldn't take rocket science to push the technology envelope a little bit and get usable e-readers with color and even moving pictures into the hands of students.

Oh, wait, that's called the iPad.

You'd think Jobs might take a stand on the issue and release 10,000 iPads at cost to some accredited institution to test drive. This is, after all, the future of American education we're talking about, and didn't Obama say something about wanting more graduates by 2020. . . .?

If you want someone to lay blame at the feet of, try the massive textbook industry that continually scams poor (literally) students. Change two paragraphs and you've got a "new edition" which is of course required for your class. The professors can't help but collude because of copyright laws.

It's pretty sickening.

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Old 02-02-2011, 10:44 PM   #13
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Ebook readers aren't great for academic uses. They're okay for reading novels or linear nonfiction, but there's limited ability for bouncing around between sections of textbooks, and the annotation abilities of most ebook readers fall a bit short of what many students need.

Ebook readers are terrific for "read these four books for this class;" much less useful for "compare chapter 4 of book X to chapters 9 and 10 of book Y." (Especially since many commercial ebooks don't have tables of contents/bookmarked chapters.) We're a ways off yet, from ebook readers taking the place of heavy physical books.
Yeah. I read a couple of history books for class - a hunk of Livy's History of Rome for a book review...a few other normal history related books.

But straight, 100-level style textbooks? I can't see that happening. You need to flip back and forth.

As it is, it was hard to follow in class when the teacher was flipping between pages. I was pretty much the only one in my class during the summer that had any of the books on the e-reader. Part of the problem is also the not-quite-the-same-page as the physical book - makes it hard to find the right place in class if you're skipping around.

I think something like the Nook color is a little better for this kind of use. You need something that can move fast and flip between pages. I think I could keep up with it better than my old Nook.
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:42 AM   #14
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I have a science etext book for this semester coming. It's great on the laptop and fine on the NookColor (except for figures and "boxes" which it doesn't like at all.) Even though the NC isn't perfect, it'll be fine for reading/re-reading on the train, on breaks etc. I'm still tossing up whether or not to get the other two books I need as ebooks. If I do, absolute worst case means I'll take my laptop to uni - it's a 15" which is a little big to drag around, but still weighs a lot less than three massive books.

If I had the $$ I'd try to get a Kno ereader - they look perfect for study *sigh*
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:26 PM   #15
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I do, there are a few books in pdf and some in doc format and almost all the slides shared via the faculty's ftp server. It's way easier to read them on the reader than to print them out.
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