Textbooks and all that

The ipad has kickstarted conversations about electronic books in Universities – and for pretty good reason. Whilst early Sony and Kindle trials made clear the limitations of black and white e-ink, there’s definitely potential in those ipad screens. A piece in Inside Higher Ed today looks at some US examples:

In for-profit higher education, more than any other sector, the traditional book is becoming obsolete. [The University of] Phoenix actually mandates that instructors assign digital materials “whenever feasible” — a strategic turn the company started to take back in 2003, but which has come to fruition more recently, with so many more materials now available in digital format. At this point, roughly 90 percent of Phoenix’s course content is delivered via e-books or other electronic means — the only exceptions coming in courses such as art history, where copyright issues surrounding digital renderings of images such as paintings remains a hurdle for e-book publishers, says David Bickford, the vice president of academic affairs at Phoenix.

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