The Net Generation and E-Textbooks

The Net Generation and E-Textbooks

Arlene J. Nicholas, John K. Lewis
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/ijcee.2011070107
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The traditional college student of today is part of the Net Generation who has been raised in an era of instant access. Their communication and learning is complemented by the Internet, a major influence on this cohort. The regular method of contact is text messaging, instant messaging and cell phones. Learning methods for the Net Generation include Internet tools such as Web-CT, Blackboard, online courses, online journals and i-pod downloads. Are they ready to also change from print textbooks to Internet based textbooks? This paper describes the attitudes of some Net Generation students towards the usage of electronic textbooks. Three case studies were conducted: one class used an online textbook and two other classes used e-chapter supplements. Students were questioned on their perceptions of using and learning with e-textbooks. Their views describe some changing thoughts towards network connected media that is the mantra of this generation.
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Electronic monographs have been exchanged between scholars since the early years of the Internet, before Windows software and the mouse became the norm. They evolved through UNIX, gopher, FTP (file transfer), and, finally, hypertext transfer (HTTP) protocols (Snowhill, 2001). Despite some negative reviews, e-books have several important advantages over their print counterparts. Most important is the off-campus, 24 X 7 availability of e-books. This is the single most distinct advantage e-books have over print titles. E-books can also be helpful for those with disabilities: “digital text can be enlarged, read via specialized devices, or easily converted into audio format” (Dillon, 2001, p. 123). Another advantage over print is the searching capabilities provided by e-books. The ability to keyword search through the full-text of a manuscript is a big advantage over a table of contents or even the best index.

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