The age of the electronic book is well underway and use of the e-book at the United States Sports Academy continues to grow.
At this time, there are 38 courses that now use e-books and the reviews on them by students would be mixed to say the least. Just a year ago, we had 18 courses that utilized e-books.
One of the most common complaints heard from our students, as well as those at all university campuses, is about the use of e-books. Primarily, many students do not like the fact that you have to read them on a computer or other device.
For some, they have one computer for their household and to read the e-book or reference it while writing an essay can be difficult. Students complain that they have to go back and forth, while doing their homework.
Many students who have been told an e-book is the only option for a course, instead will go to Amazon or other vendors and try to find a hard copy of the text. This brings forth two dilemmas. First, some e-book content is enhanced above and beyond what is in the hard copy book. Second, the e-book may be the only book available in that edition and older editions do not have the same content.
As the education system goes further into the world of e-business and e-based education, no solution will come without its challenges. Some students will buy a tablet or iPad to read books on, while working on their traditional computer and others will improvise.
At the Academy, we try to find innovative ways to grow with this new and exciting phase in learning.
As the fall of 2013 approaches, a new Learning Management System will be selected for the Academy. The advent of new and better cloud-based platforms will allow for delivery of content over all sorts of devices. This may include smart phones, iPads and tablets, the traditional desktop computer and, perhaps, even television or gaming platforms.
This should bring new and exciting opportunities to develop course content and improve student-teacher interactions. Within the e-book, for example, one can place links to various content on YouTube, the Internet, and all sorts of servers where the items will appear instantly with the touch of an underlined blue link.
Every new innovation requires an adjustment period. All of us at the Academy are experiencing that now. Meanwhile, new courses will continue to be supported only by electrons in cyberspace spinning around in a form we cleverly call the e-book. Publishers do not give us the option to stay with a printed textbook anymore.
Since they are here to stay, we must keep up with the quickly evolving technology and get used to using it, even if we still prefer paper.