According to the Chronicle 240 students at Northwest Missouri State University recently swapped their printed textbooks for Sonys e-book readers, which came loaded with assigned texts. But the students quickly discovered that the gadgets have limitations.
Students were initially fascinated with their readers, said Dean L. Hubbard, the university’s president, but they soon became frustrated with the devices’ limited interactivity capabilities — which made it impossible to highlight passages, cut and paste text, or participate in interactive quizzes.
This semester the university will continue to experiment with electronic textbooks, but it will deliver them primarily through laptops, rather than dedicated e-book devices. (The institutions requires students to have laptops.) About 500 students will try out electronic textbooks, and an additional 3,000 students will have access to them. Laptops provide more interactivity than the Sony Readers, Mr. Hubbard said, because they let students participate in interactive quizzes and allow professors to add material to textbooks as needed.
Interesting experiment this – whilst it does seem that e-book readers aren’t quite there yet, surely it can’t be too long before they do offer greater interactivity though.