Posted by: bluesyemre | September 7, 2012

E-Content: Opportunity and Risk by Shel Waggener

  • The debate is over: students are asking for digital now, this semester. It isn’t as if we didn’t know the change was coming. For years we have seen scholarly journals shift from paper to electronic versions. In 1997, E Ink was invented at the MIT Media Lab, promising the creation of “electronic newspapers,” but many in higher education didn’t notice. Indeed, even with the September 2006 release of Sony’s PRS (Portable Reader System), the first commercial e-book reader and a widely used electronic reading platform, we shrugged. Finally in 2007, when Amazon released the Kindle, and e-content at last went mainstream, some early-adopter campuses began to consider these technologies. Still, most campuses and academic senates evaluated, debated, and considered the implications of this latest technology change, with most institutions choosing not to adopt a formal e-content program. It may have been easy to dismiss or delay making real change given that early versions of e-readers were limited, created accessibility challenges, and required high up-front technical investments for noninteractive content (static PDFs).

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