Even though I’ve never heard of anyone who could actually use Blackboard (the program designed to make homework assignments easier to give/receive, but only induces mass headaches), I still believe there is a future for integrating electronic technology into the classroom. With all the books I have to carry around everyday — books as big as ya mama and as worthless as nine pennies — I really want to believe the answer will come in the form of e-textbooks.
Temple University isn’t the most technological school (Drexel remains our better-groomed cousin in that department), but if we can produce Tuttleman, surely there is room to revamp study materials.
Computer labs have grown in recent years, but there needs to be more emphasis on computer use. More Internet-oriented courses should be required of all freshman and first-year transfer students, if anything to prove that they are not “the devil.”
Computers will never be as valuable as interpersonal learning, but integrating e-textbooks into the classroom will both lighten the burden (literally) on the student and offer interactivity that traditional texts cannot.
Options for book buyers remain scarce. Though Temple’s bookstore has offered perks like free Student Advantage Cards, your receipt proves they are the most evil part of this institution.
Zavelle’s and those online bookstores that popped up offer better deals, but it’s pure luck if you can find what you need.
Temple will not likely jump into the e-textbook realm until other universities prove it a reasonable system. University of Phoenix’s “bookless college” slogan is already raising eyebrows, and McGraw Hill has announced that it is preparing texts in electronic formats, such as .pdf files.
If e-textbooks are sold at a reasonable price (half of the hard copy sounds about right) and both professors and students prefer their ease and versatility, publishers will have no choice but to follow suit. Hopefully Temple will embrace the possibilities.