Technology

eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

Today everyone uses their laptops, cell phones and tablets for everything including textbook readings for class. It may seem that the only duty our paper textbooks have, is to collect dust on the book self. This isn’t as true as you might think. There are several pros and cons for both an eTextbook and a physical textbook. I’m here to enlighten the public on which to choose, an eTextbook or a physical textbook.

According to Cynthia Boris of NBCNews.com there are various categories of comparison that can be viewed when weighing the pros and cons of an eTextbook and a physical textbook. In her opinion, ease of use, portability and cost are among the most important aspects to consider when making your book decision.

Ease of use: Although an eTextbook encourages you to explore the world of knowledge at the drop of your fingertips, does it make it harder to retain the information you are looking for? Some eTextbooks allow you to make notes and highlight for memorizing purposes but according to a study performed by Survey Monkey, nearly 40% of students preferred to use a print book to study with. An eTextbook might be easier to use sometimes while other times there is nothing better than being able to feel the pages of a physical textbook.

Portability: At times, textbooks can put a large strain on your back when walking to class. The weight of some textbooks can be several pounds each versus a few ounces for only one tablet to store thousands of e-textbooks on. When taking this into consideration, your back might thank you in a few years.

Cost: Textbooks are expensive, it’s true. Today, there are several ways to save money on buying textbooks, like renting! Not to mention some great coupon deals. When comparing costs to eTextbooks on a tablet, they are extremely cost effective. Although you have to take into consideration the cost of the actual device, as Boris says, “It could take a year of schooling before it pays for itself.”

In the end an eTextbook works for some and not for others, no worries though, there will always be physical textbooks to go around. Happy textbook shopping!

Trading Traditional for a Tablet

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With the popularity of all-in-one electronics on the rise, college students all over the country have been taking advantage of new computers for their school work. One observation I’ve made while in college is that a lot of students use tablets for their classes rather than laptops. As a man without a tablet, this is very surprising. I always thought of tablets as just tiny, slow computers, or big smart phones, but I’ve actually seen some really creative and useful ways that my classmates are using them this past year. Here’s just a small list of some of the things I’ve seen done.

Note taking: While many students prefer to write down their notes, using a tablet to take notes in class IS a handy way to save paper, and keep your notes looking clean and understandable.

Easy Organization: Many tablets come with, or can download, many organizational apps. These range anywhere from calendars, to help coordinate college students’ very hectic lifestyles, to just keeping track of all your notes and files. Tablets can act as a great way to organize all your notes and class work. Just remember to have backup memory!

Reading: This isn’t necessarily college-related, but tablets are a very quickly growing way to allow anyone to read an entire library worth of books without taking up all the space!

Online textbooks: Many schools and companies are now making their textbooks available for purchase in digital copies. I personally prefer renting a hard copy textbook, but if you don’t want to deal with damage, or if it’d just be easier to have all your information on your tablet, the digital copy seems like it’d be a major convenience.

Whatever you can think of! I had a class this semester where a student used his tablet during a presentation. He had specific sentences recorded on it, and when he’d reach certain points in the presentation, the tablet would interject with arguments that he would quickly dismiss. A tablet IS a type of computer, so if you’re able to find an app for it, or if you have the imagination for it, there are almost limitless capabilities for how to use it!

I’m not saying that you absolutely NEED a tablet in college, after all, I’ve been doing just fine without one! However, there are times that I wish I had one because it’d make my life a whole lot easier. Having to carry around a million textbooks, and not fully knowing the bus schedule because I don’t have a bus app can be quite a pain, so you be the judge as to whether you’d want one or not! What kind of tablets are you all using for your classes?

In Honor of #ThrowbackThursday

If you’ve ever been on Instagram, then you’ve probably heard of  Throwback Thursday (more commonly referred to as #TBT). For those of you that don’t know, please climb out from under your rock and allow me to give you a quick overview.

Every Thursday instagrammers log on and post an “old” picture. This could range from anywhere 15 years ago to your diaper wearing days, or 15 days ago when snapped a picture of your veggie pizza. You can post something silly, something sappy, or something downright sloppy. There are not real guidelines for posting a throwback photo, although some users adhere to self-made do’s and don’ts.

There is no telling how or why Throwback Thursday began, but there is no denying its popularity. If you search hashtags in the Discovery panel on Instagram then you will see that there are more than 75 MILLION photos posted in honor of this unofficial, weekly holiday. TBT has grown so much that you can now find it’s influence across every social site, including Facebook and Twitter. This week we want to celebrate a little differently. Rather than sharing an old photo, we are posting an embarrassing eCampus.com video from our earlier years.

(NOTE: This video was the winning commercial from a college advertising contest and not a product of eCampus.com. To view other videos please visit our YouTube Page.)

How will you be celebrating this #TBT?

 

A Look at Twitter Followings (Infographic)

With the ever growing social network Twitter on the rise, eCampus.com decided to take a look at who holds the most influence. From music to television to sports, these followings are quite impressive. We all know that Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Lebron James are well known, but did you realize that combined they have the ability to influence over 36 million people?!

Take a look at the numbers of the biggest influencers on Twitter in music, sports, and television in the infographic below.  To see the full graphic please visit the eCampus.com Library of College Infographics.
-Lovejoy

I’m reading Understanding Art

What New Moms and College Students Have in Common

“You have zero privacy anyway,” Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy famously said in 1999.  “Get over it.”  More recently, a story came out about a father who angrily called a manager at Target, reaming him out over the phone that it was completely inappropriate for the company to send his teenage daughter coupons for diapers, formula, and breast pumps.   Two weeks later, he apologized to the manager at Target saying, “there were things going on in my house that I didn’t know about.”  Yup, his daughter was preggers.  College students, like new moms, are marketers’ favorite snack because we are forming the shopping habits we’ll have for life.

How did Target know?  According to the New York Times article that broke the story, several factors come into play.  Some you can’t change—you probably won’t, for example, switch to using only cash instead of credit cards—but there are simple steps you can take to make it harder for them to get this information.  The little bit you can do is crucial—stores like Amazon have been known to redline customers based on their recent purchases on other sites.  When you go to Amazon, a cookie is deposited onto your computer, which assigns a unique I.D. to your browser.  When you return to Amazon, that cookie reports back to Amazon.com (and their subsidiaries AND whoever they sell that information to) every site you’ve been on since and information about your activity there.  Amazon can then turn around and say, overcharge you for a luxury item because your shopping habits show that you are willing to pay full price for items.  It’s slimy, but not illegal unfortunately. “Third-party” cookies (that is, cookies that come from someone other than the web site you accessed directly) aggregate and correlate information about your visits to apparently unrelated sites.  Paranoid yet?   If you want a really good scare, turn off all the lights and play “Every Breathe You Take.”  Creepiest song ever written, am I right?

What You Can Do:

Turn off cookies in your browser.  You’ll lose a small amount of functionality (you won’t stay signed into your favorite sites) but for many that’s a small price to pay for a modicum of privacy.

Use 10minute mail.  Sometimes when you want to access a site, say a shopping website, it forces you to sign up and verify with a working email.  Cha-ching!  They can link all sorts of information to you with your email address because chances are, your login is connected with your email address for various other sites.

Install Ghostery, which detects and disables Javascript trackers.  Never heard of ‘em?  They work a lot like cookies, but instead of depositing information on your computer, it sends queries to your browser to ask where you’ve been.  They are ONLY used for analytic purposes, and serve no functionality to you whatsoever.  Ghostery is a free add-on for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

Just because you can, install AdBlock to get rid of all ads in your browser, including Gmail ads that are (creepily) tailored to the content of your emails.  It’s that easy.

-Wonderbread

I’m reading Racial and Ethnic Groups: Census Update