Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Voting on books

We're watching the election returns, in part to see if Wolf Blitzer actually goes up in flames as a result of excessive excitement, but I held a little poll today about ebooks and textbooks.

One of the classes has an inexpensive coursepack of public domain texts and a number of separate books (no big textbook), but some of the readings I left online rather than including them in the coursepack.  It's a good-sized class for a humanities discipline.

Today I asked them this: "We're told that people under 25 would rather read things online than in paper form. What do you think? Would you rather read X online, or would you have preferred to have it in the course pack?"  Result: 80% voted for coursepack over reading online.  Reasons:
  • Too hard to mark up stuff on a computer.  You have to click, open a text box, maybe click some more to highlight something, etc.  Working with paper is just easier.
  • Hard to find specific spots. 
  • We skip too much when we read on a screen because that's what we're used to from Facebook. 
  • "I just like paper."
The 20% mostly had systems in place for marking things up in downloaded texts, but they didn't have as much to say as the majority.  

And now I have to watch John King wave his arms and work his magic with the fancy maps. 


Funny about Money said...

That's interesting.

We should have a meme: everyone who's teaching undergraduates should administer the same survey and blog the results.

What Now? said...

I'm not surprised at the outcome, but it's helpful to have survey results to support it, especially in the face of so much pressure to do so much online.

undine said...

Funny about Money--I wish everyone would do this--great idea!

What Now--I was genuinely curious, since we keep getting fed the Kool-aid about everyone wanting digital texts. But students don't care what they're supposed to like; they know what they do want, at least in terms of the forms of texts.