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Print is NOT dead

13 March 2016

From The Fullerton College Hornet:

Most students dread the day a new semester begins because that means that they’ll have to spend hundreds of dollars on another set of textbooks.

Some sites like Amazon offer a free look into textbooks before buying it and the trials usually last a week before expiring in order for students to buy the books as soon as possible. And students, like myself, utilize these trials when we don’t have enough money to get all the books that we need.

Scott Malloy, one of the statistics professor here in Fullerton College, does not allow e-books in class. During the first day of class, he made it clear that we were not allowed to use any electronics during class whatsoever.

“Nothing replaces a hard copy,” said Malloy.

He thinks that it’s not easy to read and refer to material when the class swipes through the e-book to address and answer questions from the homework.

To him, it’s especially problematic when it comes to doing the chapter reviews at the end of each chapter. Students our found to be constantly swiping the screen to get to the page they need to get to to be too much work which causes them to perform poorly on exams.

. . . .

According to Debate.org, 68 percent of users say that e-books will never replace hard copy books.

Some of the Debate.org users believe e-books would eventually replace paper books, but some think that a physical book has soul and spirit that eBooks cannot duplicate.

Yesenia Diaz, an anthropology major, thinks that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds.

She is an avid reader that prefers both e-books and tangible books, but when it comes to textbooks, she leans towards e-books.

“It’s convenient to have textbooks in the form of e-books because I don’t have to carry 2 to 3 book at a time, I can just carry my tablet that can hold a ton of books,” Diaz said.

. . . .

At the beginning of the semester during an English class, the professor was asking everyone whether or not they had bought textbooks yet, and while she was talking about it, the book was downloading to my tablet.

. . . .

Having a hardcopy of a textbook also helps when it comes to professors having open book and open note tests because most don’t allow having electronics during tests since students can access the answers from the test on the Internet.

Link to the rest at The Hornet


20 Comments to “Print is NOT dead”

  1. They must have been using ereaders and not an actual computer where keyword searching are a bit easier. Or scrolling …

    Anyone else here seen the movie ‘Real Genius’? The kid walks into a large classroom several times. Each time there are more recording devices replacing the students, and in the last one even the teacher’s been replaced by a reel-to-reel. Me wonders if Mr Malloy say it too …

    Buggy whips are not dead! (Though I understand they aren’t used on horses all that much anymore …)

    • One thing I didn’t think on the first time through …

      Statistics professor bans ALL electronics …

      I wonder if he’s more afraid they’ll cheat. I remember some classes banning those programmable calculators to reduce cheating (or so the school/teachers thought …)

      • IMO, any university-level exam that can be passed by looking up the answers in the book is a very poor exam.

        Also: that word “problematic”? I sure wish someone would kill that word with fire. 🙂

        • Heh … it reminds me of an automat that dispenses problems! 🙂

        • Tony, Maybe this illustrates your point: My Computer Architecture final was a 4-question take-home exam; pick it up Friday, turn it in Monday. Open book, open notes, open everything. Collaboration encouraged. Access to the university mainframe thrown in. Took me 16 hours to finish it.

          It was tough, but not as tough as Differential Equations: 2 problems, 3 hours to solve them. I finished with 3 minutes remaining. I was the first one done.

  2. Reality Observer

    Throwing this out for other thoughts on it…

    This article is about “traditional books are not dead” – for education.

    Is this because:

    a) The premises the writer of the piece cites are correct?


    b) Education has not caught up with modernity yet?

    I happen to think (b) – most education is still mired in the days when you could not carry a reference library in your shirt pocket (or purse, for the ladies). Much less browse through multiple libraries around the world with a few keystrokes.

    • Or (c) that the instructor/authors of many college textbooks would not make as much on reasonably priced e-texts as they make on print?

      I would think they’d be happy to have the students learn the material and not fret much about whether they use print or e-.

      • Plus, the colleges make money on reselling used physical books. They don’t get their cut with an ebook. I’m sure students would just swap ebooks. I used to swap physical books with friends because we were all poor and couldn’t afford to drop $75-$150 per book.

        Perhaps this is what Amazon is thinking about addressing with “selling” “used” ebooks. (There was a thread on kboards about buttons / text appearing on some author pages with regards to selling a USED Ebook.)

        It makes sense for college e-textbooks. You buy and then sell it back as you would a physical textbook and get partial credit. As a student, I’d be all for it. As a professor/college/publisher, I could see why they would be against it.

  3. Open textbook exams? WHAT?

    I recall open notes exam in high school. Don’t recall any such thing in college.

    If the books were FORMATTED correctly, then there wouldn’t be an issue of finding the text/page in a timely manner.

  4. That professor is an idiot.

  5. I love reading fiction on my Kindle. But nonfiction that I want to annotate and bookmark? No thank you. I find nonfiction ebooks to be much more of a hassle than print. Obviously, that isn’t true for everyone. Textbooks should be available in both formats, and students should be allowed the choice of which one to use.

    • “I love reading fiction on my Kindle. But nonfiction that I want to annotate and bookmark? No thank you. I find nonfiction ebooks to be much more of a hassle than print.”

      Ditto. However, maybe I’m old enough that I just haven’t mastered non-fiction eBooks…yet.


  6. Well at least it’s properly classified as “opinion.”

  7. What exactly is Professor Malloy going to do about the up and coming generation of students? We live in a rural school district, but my high school son only has one textbook (not including the cheap MMPBs he uses in English). Most reading and classroom work is done on laptops. Same for one of my nieces in a neighboring school district, except each student is assigned a tablet.

    He reminds me of my Calculus II prof who threw a fit when I brought a tape recorder to class after I broke my arm a couple of days before spring semester started. *smh*

    • Most reading and classroom work is done on laptops. Same for one of my nieces in a neighboring school district, except each student is assigned a tablet.

      ^This. Both my kids were issued tablets in 6th grade, and their schoolwork has moved ever more persistently online. They type most of their essays on google docs and turn them in with the click of a button. Or they make Prezi presentations. Or PowerPoint presentations.

      (Your Calculus II prof sounds like an idiot.)

    • I teach at a school where you would expect everything to be tech-oriented (aside from the MMPBs for English class). Nope. Because we have students who do not have ‘Net access at home and who cannot afford the Netbooks or tablets necessary for digital textbooks. Neither can the school afford the cost of electronic textbook subscriptions. I cannot put anything that is required for a grade on-line, because of student access problems.

      We’re not a college, but there are some people for whom print is the only option. (And having watched students “taking notes” at shoe shopping and electronic poker sites when I taught in college, I am very wary of electronic gizmos in the classroom. YMMV.)

      • So what you’re saying is that, if students distract themselves by daydreaming, that’s totally different from distracting themselves by wandering the Internet?

        If people want to pay attention, they will.

        If people want to ignore the teacher, they will.

        And frankly, if it’s college, they’re adults and they’ve paid for the privilege of mentally skipping class. What they do with the hours they’ve paid for? That’s their problem.

  8. Did Debate.org define “replace”?

    I would answer differently for different readings of “replace”.

  9. One area where ebooks have problems are computer books and other books with scanned content. There are huge numbers of complaints about source code having typos or images being so muddy they are intelligable. If math notation is scanned in a ebook then problems will go up.

    It’s right up there with programming documentation where content can be case sensitive and word processor auto-correction butchers it making it unusable.

  10. Print is NOT dead

    No… I really mean it… Seriously!
    If they want this stuff to work, they need less strident titles.

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