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Electronic textbooks quickly becoming alternative option

Many students are tired of paying too much money for textbooks and getting little buy-back value at the end of the semester.

Electronic textbooks are a less expensive option to do homework and check assignments online.

“It’s a whole new world,” TJC provost Butch Hayes said. “It’s the same thing you would buy in a hardcopy, except it’s an electronic version. Everything that’s in a hardcopy will be there and even more.”

Students must own a computer to download their electronic textbooks. While students don’t need the text for a long period of time, they do need it while they’re in class.

“The main thing we have to consider is how many of our students have their own P.C. You are basically buying a license to use an electronic text for a semester or two,” Hayes said. “You don’t get to keep it forever.”

The textbooks also allow students who prefer hard copies to print pages.

“During the amount of time students are licensed to use the electronic textbook they can print materials, but can only print a limited amount,” Hayes said. “The textbook company has a way of monitoring how much you print. The University of Texas at Austin uses electronic textbooks in engineering, accounting and some of their sciences.”

The electronic textbooks have a few other positive aspects for studying.

“A good thing about the E-textbooks is that you can enhance the size of the font if you have poor eyesight, so that way it is easier to see. Another advantage is that you can highlight the text and write notes along as you read it,” Hayes said.

TJC’s math department thinks that E- textbooks are a great tool that helps students as well as teachers.

“Students purchase a code that gives them access to an online textbook and online homework problems, ” Math Department Chair Steve Green said.

“The access code is used in college algebra, pre-calculus, and we recently started using this in contemporary mathematics one and two,” Green said.

Students must purchase the code and go to the listed Web site to register.

“Once the account is set up, students are able to open a site that shows a listing of their textbook. Two other things are shown; one is a problem set where they can do their homework. The second thing is the review section where you can print certain material,” Green said.

The idea for electronic textbooks is being considered because TJC wanted to adopt an online homework system.

“The advantage is that we can give lots of homework problems with immediate feedback, and it gives the students a chance to re-work problems. With paper, students they only get one chance to work the problem and have to wait several days to know if their answers are right or wrong,” Green said.

Students can decide to purchase a textbook with the access code or not.

“Most students decided not to buy the book,” Green said.

Other courses have yet to decide if they too want to switch to E-textbooks.

“I love the online homework. It gives you the freedom to do your work at home, plus you can search for things that you need. I think all classes should use E-textbooks,” freshman Emeka Pollard said.

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