Student Watch: Summer 2012

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Some things about college never change, but trudging up Bascom Hill with the complete works of Shakespeare weighing you down may have become a thing of the past.

In January UW–Madison launched a pilot program to provide e-textbooks to about six hundred students, hoping to save both money and shelf space. The university purchases the books in bulk directly from publishers at discounted prices, and students then pay a fee to the UW instead of buying the books themselves. The text can be printed on good old-fashioned paper or accessed on nearly any device with an Internet connection. Students and teachers can add notes or hyperlinks to the text and share them with others, making for a much more interactive study experience.

Bottom-line savings aren’t known yet, but given that a UW student spends an average of $1,140 on books and supplies each year, even a small cost difference can help when budgets are tight.

So the next time you spot students buried in their smartphones, give them the benefit of the doubt. They may be studying for exams.

Published in the Summer 2012 issue

Tags: Students, Teaching and learning, technology

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