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*** Spoiler Alert > Possible Duplicate Posting(s) ***

This Week In DT >>>

> Cost of Digital Textbook Access From A Student's Perspective

> College Students Boost Digital Adoption, According to CourseSmart Survey

> Board of Regents and Flat World Knowledge Announce Textbook Program Extension

> Making the Move to Digital Textbooks

> Oxford Internet Institute Produces Its First Interactive iBook of Research

> Obstacles to Faculty Adoption of OER and Open Textbooks

> Reference Tree > Our Take On Inspection Copies

> CT > The Price Is Right?

> 10 Reasons Why Students Aren’t Using eTextbooks

> iPad Only No More: Inkling Debuts HTML5-Powered E-Book App For The Web

> Gale Announces CLiC > Classroom in Context

Enjoy !

>>> BTW: Links to Any / All News Items Relating To Digital Textbooks Are Always Welcome <<<


Gerry McKiernan
Associate Professor
Science and Technology Librarian
Iowa State University 
152 Parks Library 
Ames IA 50011

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Message from

About students losing their place in ebooks. This is strictly from visual observation; I did not question them about it though you will notice several mention it as a downside of ebooks (or upside of paper books). One of the regular lab activities was to follow and perform a step-by-step tutorials in an ebook. Using an iPad or web browser window, students would zoom into the text of the ebook page to be able to read it. They frequently got lost, skipped a step or action and their product began to vary from the example in the ebook. When this happens in a paper book (and it does happen) students are able to go back page-by-page and recognize the process, the big picture. Perhaps because ebook users are so zoomed into the text they lose the sense of "pages," the big picture, and process that paper book users have. Paperbook users can drag a finger down a page while still able to mouse in their computer window. Ebook users have to walk back paragraph by paragraph, zoomed in, to figure out where they went wrong--using with the mouse in the web browser or both hands on the tablet. This is when they start to get lost. It isn't just eyes being off the ebook. Part of the problem here is the way the ebooks are written and design--which I think is really the point. The efficient model of ebook production is to take the print book layout (InDesign file) and convert it to a PDF or whatever the format is for the distribution. In my opinion, an ebook is not a paper book and should be designed very differently. In the old days, before iPads swiping and zooming, we had Rocketbooks and Softbooks that you simply used exactly like the paper book. The model of a PDF of the paper book layout worked fine. With today's devices, in my opinion, ebook design needs to change to fit the way a user needs it to maintain readability, make logical sense to a user to go backward and forward. In an educational lab, using these types of ebooks, it is different. From an instructional technology point of view, perhaps this type of content needs to be designed in screen-sized chunks with a visual device to help the user feel a sense of where they are. The paragraph and inset picture formats of current texts is fine for paper viewing as the chunk is a "page" of a paper book. Maybe as each sentence or paragraph or chuck is completed, there could be a way to shadow it out so users could see exactly where they are and offer them a way to step back easily in the whole page view. If chucks had a visual look to them students could more easily remember if they completed them and recognize when a chuck does not look familiar-- as they may have skipped it. When someone got into the situation describe above, I would see their frustration and sit with them. I have to admit, it was difficult to trouble shoot using ebooks made from paper books designs. I have used the same books for years and know the processes, often recognizing where the students went wrong without having to step back. But for them (and when I didn't recognize their error) it was tough. ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at