Category Archives: Technology Topics

Ebooks: The Campus Store Weighs In

201girlwithtabletEarlier this year, Dr. Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology gave us her opinion of ebooks and the future of printed material. We asked Carmen Casanova, Manager of the Campus Store, and Rich Knapp, Assistant Manager to share their perspective and tell us about the Campus Store’s electronic offerings.

The Campus Store first offered ebooks to students in the fall of 2010. It was a small test run, with a limited number of titles that included a math text. Four years later, the Campus Store offers a wide selection of texts, mainly from large publishers.

“The publishers give us different options that we pass onto students,” said Knapp, who also serves as the Textbook coordinator for the Campus Store. “E-books are available for 360 and 180 day blocks of time,” he said, “and hopefully, we’ll be able to offer 90 day rentals in the near future.”

Knapp believes that it’s in the best interest of publishers to make the move to ebooks. With electronic resources, there are fewer third parties, and the publisher has much more control over content and revenue. While there are a few courses at Wilmington University that use electronic resources exclusively, Knapp believes there will always be print offerings available.

What excites Knapp about the electronic revolution in the textbook market is the opportunity for student feedback and adaptable content. Ebooks with interactive learning components such as quizzes or problems that can adapt to the students’ needs are becoming the norm. “They’re creating content that can help an A student or a C student succeed,” he said.

Carmen Casanova, Campus Store manager, points out that ebooks have a tremendous advantage for students with visual impairments. “Students can increase the font size or even have the text read to them.”

Ebook sales have recently leveled off nationally (Yahoo Finance article), and the Wilmington University Campus Store has also noticed a leveling off of demand for electronic media.

Tech Support and Online Students

techsupport cut outAt Wilmington University, ensuring that online students have the technical resources they need to be successful is a priority. We’ve instituted a number of support programs targeted toward technical support of our students, including:

  1. An online orientation course, DIS 095, with links and tools to technical support in the course.
  2. Blackboard How-to Videos
  3. Access to the University Information Center, which offers a toll free phone number for tech support.

And all matriculating students, online or on campus, with less than 15 credits must take FYE – First Year Experience, a seminar designed to introduce students to college level expectations and experiences. Kelly Clayton, Online Student Navigator at Wilmington University, says, “Part of FYE’s goal is to give the student an overview of the technology tools they need for success in Wilmington University’s online programs.”

Clayton says most tech questions that she fields are simple issues regarding web browsers and problems within specific courses, such as assignment submissions.

Students who need help with Microsoft software applications can visit Wilmington University’s Student Success Center – online. If you need to brush up on your Excel, PowerPoint or Word skills, you can view a video tutorial or check their calendar for online workshops: http://www.wilmu.edu/ssc/workandsems.aspx


Students needing technical support for Blackboard, WebCampus, email, or other technology systems, please contact The University Information Center (UIC):


 

 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Online Students on the Front Lines

Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) is an industry and educational buzz phrase that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Businesses and educational institutions have modified their rigid technological requirements in favor of a more relaxed acceptance of employees and students using their own technology in the workplace and classroom.

For online students, using your own technology is nothing new. And students that choose to attend classes completely online must rely completely on their own ability to manage technology.

an array of different technology: tablets, laptops, phones
What device do you bring to the table?

Faced with a dizzying array of technology tools, laptops to desktops, tablets and smartphones, how do online students decide which tools will work best for them?

Sometimes students don’t make any new choices, but simply use their home computing system without investing or changing technology when they enroll in an online course. And that’s fine.

Wilmington University’s recommendations for students interested in online education are very basic:

  • convenient internet access
  • email
  • online research capability
  • computing skills that include proficiency with Microsoft products, including Word and PowerPoint

Wilmington University also recommends the use of certain internet browsers.

For the student interested in buying new devices or software, your status as a Wilmington University student entitles you to educational discounts at Dell, Apple, and JourneyEd. Com. You can find student purchasing information on this page.

Is BYOD liberating or nerve wracking? When you are buying technology, do you consider your needs as an online student?

The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

study-notepadVstypingHow do you take notes these days? Can you type faster than you can write with pen and paper? If you’re using your laptop to type notes during lectures or meetings, you may want to rethink that practice. The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/taking-notes-by-hand-benefits-recall-researchers-find/51411) recently reported on a new study of note taking practices. This study shows that students have a much higher rate of knowledge retention and comprehension when handwriting notes rather than typing.

“When I type notes, I find that I’m not really listening and comprehending the information. It seems it goes in one ear and out the other while transcribing what the speaker is saying,” said Adam Voyton, Instructional Technology Project Specialist at Wilmington University’s Educational Technology Department.

There’s a scientific basis for Voyton’s impression. An experiment conducted by Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm) demonstrated that the brain uses different areas when writing longhand as opposed to typing. Writing by hand engages the sensorimotor memory part of our brain that helps us recognize letters.

The report in the Chronicle of Higher Education states that even though note taking on a computer results in more detailed transcribed notes, long hand note takers have more conceptual understanding of the material, and in some cases, even more factual recall.

But fans of technology shouldn’t despair. Instead of a pencil, why not break out a stylus pen and take notes on a tablet? You’ll have the best of both worlds – the advantage of notes taken electronically combined with the higher brain retentive action of long hand writing.

E-textbooks and Learning

Sallie’s Spin

drsreissmanA series of  conversations with Dr. Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology at Wilmington University, a leader in the field of online learning. Since 2000, she has guided Wilmington University as the institution first implemented online course work, leading to fully online courses in 2007 and then the fully online degree programs that Wilmington University offers today.                                               _______________________________________________________________________
Do you think electronic textbooks will eventually replace textbooks?

tabletvsbook

Dr. Reissman says, “Yes! There will probably always be printed fiction books, but textbooks will surely go completely digital sometime soon – just like newspapers and magazines. Textbooks have learning concepts that change often, particularly in scientific fields.”
Traditional textbooks are similar to old ‘static’ online courses, lacking in interactivity and student feedback.E-textbooks take learning further with interactive elements. Don’t know a word? You can instantly define it within an e-textbook. Plus, students can instantly test their comprehension of the material within some e-textbooks. Built in videos add to the experience and deepen learning.“Plus, e-books are green,” said Reissman, “so there’s no cost for printing. It’s faster to deliver the content to students, and easy to update the edition.”“However, the e-publishing industry is still evolving,” she said, “I would advise e-textbook publishers to include high quality learning objects and plug-ins to their textbooks.”Have you taken a class that used an e-textbook? What was your experience?