Students unsure about eBook technology

Technology is forever on the rise and Americans are always finding new ways to make life easier for everyone. While in college, students have access to new technology, such as eTextbooks, an online version of textbooks used in classes.

eTextbooks are made for a lot of reasons — so students don’t have to lug textbooks to and from class every day and they can access their books from virtually anywhere.
Students at Northern Kentucky University are still new to the idea of eTextbooks, but those who do use them find both pros and cons.

“On my Nook study, eTextbooks are a little complicated to work,” Nathan Garbig, a freshman at NKU, said. “Sometimes I’ll hit one button and it’ll flip ten pages. I always feel like I’m going to miss something.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education conducted a study with several colleges/universities and came to a conclusion that eTextbooks are clumsy and hard for students to use. The study showed that students didn’t think that they helped them interact better in the class or with the professor, which is part of what they are aiming to do.
“I like the feel of having a physical textbook,” Brent Lamping, freshman at NKU, said. “It’s just a hassle because if I was on the computer, I feel like I would get extremely side tracked and start doing other things.”

Sophomore Matthew Wallin agrees, “I think it would bother me to not be able to flip a page,” he said. “But if you’re really into media, I think it would be really cool because it’s all right there on your laptop.”

While some students see the downsides to eTextbooks, they have found they enjoy the new technology.
“I don’t have to worry about the heavy weight, I could read a few chapters anywhere,” student Motaz Alsaman said. “It’s a new and different way, I couldn’t get use to it at first and it requires internet access.”

Although a lot of general education classes have the books available online, it is hard to find more specific books once you get deeper into major classes.
“The textbook in our class, Human Nutrition, is not available as an eTextbook,” Cynthia Blocksom, human nutrition professor, said. “I wish it was an option for an eTextbook, because for some students it is a more desirable format.”

“Most of my engineering courses, if not all of them, don’t have an eBook available. I wish we were able to get them as eBooks,” Alsaman said.

Another advantage of eTextbooks is they cost less than regular textbooks. The on-campus bookstore advertises that students can save money by buying eBooks.

“One of my eTextbooks was $20 less than it would have been if I had bought the hard copy,” Garbig said. “It can really add up and end up saving you a lot of money.”