November 5, 2012, 8:00 am
April 26, 2012, 11:00 am
Over the past few years, increasing numbers of students in my classes have been using e-readers of different sorts. But this semester marks something of a turning point in that trend, as I’d estimate at least half of my students in each of my two literature courses this semester have been using e-readers. As I’m wrapping up the semester, I thought I’d share a few observations about this trend and its impact in my classroom.
The Classroom Context
First, I should make clear that I’m simply describing my own experience in two upper-level literature courses this semester. I teach nineteenth-century British literature, so all of the texts I teach are in the public domain and hence available for e-readers. These are specialized courses that do not use a survey textbook . I do order specific paperback editions of the novels and poetry for the course, and recommend them to students, but I …
March 20, 2012, 11:00 am
As devices for reading e-books proliferate, it increasingly makes sense to make publications available in an e-book. There are a number of cases in which you might do this:
Making an e-book can be easy—almost trivially…
February 15, 2012, 8:00 am
Mobile devices and tablets are at the center of new debates on interactive textbooks and educational applications–and, thanks to the growing interest, there are many options for development tools. As Jason Farman described last week, there are lots of exciting ways to integrate mobile devices and tablets in the classroom. Developing your own mobile resources, or inviting your students to try it, is possible even without coding experience and is a great way to see for yourself the possibilities and limitations in these applications.
November 3, 2011, 5:00 pm
Amazon has just announced the “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library,” whereby “thousands of books” are available to be checked out. There are two catches, however: first, you have to own a Kindle device (software running on a computer or mobile device isn’t enough); and second, you have to have a membership with Amazon Prime, which costs $79 per year. (Amazon Prime membership means that your orders are always delivered faster, and you also have access to a section of Amazon’s video on demand library included with your annual membership fee.)
For someone who already meets these two criteria, this represents an interesting opportunity. But will it persuade people who meet neither (or who meet only one) to shell out the extra money to take advantage of the lending library? I have my doubts, but we’ll see.
How about you? What features would you like to see introduced to the ebook ecosystem? …
August 19, 2011, 8:00 am
As promised earlier this week, today I’ll introduce you to Amazon’s (other) new service, the Amazon Cloud Reader. The Cloud Reader was unveiled on August 10, and unlike Kindle.Amazon.com, this service is one that actually has gotten some stage time on the Amazon homepage. But stage time is about all it has gotten. By this, I mean that while Amazon features the Cloud Reader prominently on its homepage, you actually ge surprisingly little information about it until after you’ve installed it. After writing one post on a subterranean Kindle service, I’m not sure why I was surprised, but I was surprised nevertheless. Basically, if users click on the “Read Now” link, they are taken to an installation page, rather than an information page. Call me skeptical if you will, but I want to know what I’ll be installing before I make such a decision, but such was not an option (unless…
March 18, 2011, 8:00 am
Recently, Amazon added page numbers to its Kindle books. Potentially, this move could make the platform more appealing to scholars; ebooks (at least in the view of many) pose a problem when it comes to citation.
Whether or not they’re problematic to cite, ebooks (in a variety of formats) are becoming increasingly common, and are sometimes easier to acquire than paper copies of a book, especially when one needs to acquire the book in a hurry. Even university presses are getting into the act, sometimes giving buyers the option of buying the book at full price or buying a month’s access to the book for a lesser fee (see, for example, the University of Chicago Press’s Chicago Digital Editions).
The greater availability of ebooks opens up new possibilities for using them in one’s scholarly work. I can see using them in a number of ways:
- To quickly locate passages in books…
February 18, 2011, 11:00 am
We’ve written before about e-readers here at ProfHacker, and they’ve also been covered elsewhere in the Chronicle. They aren’t perfect; citing e-books poses some challenges, and it remains to be seen how Amazon’s recent addition of page numbers for Kindle books will work out.
I don’t plan to get into any debates about the merits of e-readers in this post. Instead, I’d like to share a few ways of integrating an e-reader into one’s workflow. (My comments will focus on the Kindle because that’s what I’m most familiar with; recommendations for using other e-readers are especially welcome in the comments.)
Though I find that I do a fair amount of leisure reading on the Kindle I got last year, my primary purpose in getting an e-reader was academic. I don’t like to print articles if I can avoid it, but reading on-screen for long periods of time bothers my eyes. I’ve …
February 11, 2011, 11:00 am
In part because we’ve written several ProfHacker posts about ebooks, I noted with interest an item by Ben Wieder that appeared yesterday in our Chronicle sibling, Wired Campus. The item, titled “Publishers Struggle to Get Professors to Use Latest E-Textbook Features,” reports that when it comes to course materials published in new media format, “the biggest challenge is getting professors to use the new features of the digital texts.”
These features range from supplemental textual material to quizzes that the students can take to gauge how well they’re understanding course content. Speaking for myself, I sometimes point students to supplemental material available online from the publisher of the texts I use. Norton, for example, has an impressive “web companion” for the Anthology of English Literature. They also have a useful site for students and instructors of writing courses….
February 4, 2011, 8:00 am
In a previous ProfHacker post, Amy introduced Calibre, a free and open-source program, which allows users to manage their e-book libraries. As Amy pointed out, Calibre allows you to convert content from various internet sources such as Project Gutenberg into the appropriate format for your e-reader, whether it is a Kindle, a Nook, a Sony, or something else.
One of my favorite features of Calibre its ability to download content from various news sources and RSS feeds. Basically, this program not only allows you to convert an e-book formatted for one proprietary device to another, but it will also grab material from an incredible number of web-based news sources and download it to your e-reader free of charge. For example, you might opt to download the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, The Onion, or even the Yakima Herald-Republic. There…