Are You Too Old For E-Textbooks?

I feel sorry for Millennials – the world has branded them the first high-tech generation yet they already seem too old to master digital learning. If you’ve ever screamed at your computer screen because your online test abruptly closed before you finished, you know what I’m talking about.

As young as Millennials are, their elementary school teacher was still a person, not an avatar and their textbooks were hard covered and at least 20 years old. Remember when teachers passed out a textbook and you couldn’t wait to see who had it before you? And who didn’t love the ridiculous names scrawled inside the cover – James Bond, Homeroom 007. Give it up, people. There’s nothing like a 12 year-old with a sense of humor.

Fast forward to college where tests, readings, assignments and course announcements are all online. And your teacher? A mere thumbnail picture on your screen. We all thought Millennials would love it, yet it seems to be backfiring.

Last semester, we tested an online component to a traditional lecture course where teachers could track student progress through a series of online exercises and tests. It bombed. Students were frustrated, grades dropped and my student reviews took a beating. For the record, it wasn’t my idea.

So what’s up Millennials? You tell me – how do you like to learn?

  • Anne Ayala

    As a student that did look forward to text books and trying to adapt to virtual learning has been a little difficult. I like to learn hands on, a professor in front of me, a book to touch and physically read and turn pages. It may be a little easier and better to have everything online, you don’t lose things quite often and you don’t have to worry about texts breaking, but its not the same being in a classroom giving your full attention to your teacher than being home on your laptop or at work and having all these different factors in the way possibly distracting you from your work. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to change everything with time, that some things may stay the same.

  • Tiannis Coffie

    I’m a bit old fashioned, and personally I enjoy physically writing notes and find it hard to take and study notes electronically. Since our generation is familiar with learning in-person it is naturally easier for us. When I took my first online class I noticed it was slightly difficult because I didn’t have someone to remind me of current assignments. It had to be up to me to know what was going on in class, I believe we enjoy in-person learning because we prefer having a constant reminder on our assignments. Also in-person classrooms allow us to meet and interact with our classmates. Online sites such as Blackboard offer classroom messaging but since students aren’t familiar with each other it is rarely used.

  • Sean Carroll

    Not only were the Millennials the high-tech generation, they were the spoiled generation as well. Remember the trophy you got in little league baseball for not winning the series? But you did participate! So good on you. The Millennials were babied and walked through every step and in turn that entailed individuals to not know how to think for themselves. Those online test could be the easiest questions, but restrict the test-taker from notes a person, even the internet and I guarantee most will second guess themselves and end up with a below average grade.

  • Carrie Miller

    I’m very old fashioned in the sense that I love physically holding a textbook–or any book for that matter. It makes reading much more enjoyable for me as opposed to staring at a computer or tablet screen for hours on end. I can see why professors would suggest using e-textbooks, but it shouldn’t be required. Not only do you get an access code to access the online textbook, but there are also tools to help further your understanding of the material. There are chapter quizzes, videos, and if you’re using an access code for a math class, they have interactive step-by-step instructions. I love having the option to utilize these tools, but sometimes it’s unnecessary. I prefer to sit down with a textbook and write down all of my notes because I’m able to retain the information much easier.

  • Taylor Rizzo

    I think that there are both positives and negatives to online learning. I’m currently taking 3 online courses for the first time, and I do like the fact that I can work at my own pace and go ahead if I want to, since I tend to be a fast worker. However, I don’t really like to read E-books. I like to be able to physically turn the pages in a textbook, highlight, and easily flip back and forth between pages. I also don’t like the fact that you can’t sell back an E-book like you would be able to with a print textbook. While there are many upsides to online classes and E-books, I think that I prefer sitting in a classroom with an actual professor who explains the material. It’s a lot harder to learn and remember the material just from reading the textbook. Not having a professor physically teaching you also pretty much eliminates the need to take notes, so when it comes time for the final it might be harder to study since we have the entire E-book to look back at, and not just a notebook.

  • Gabrielle Lacchini

    I was born in 1995 so I am 21 now and through elementary school I was always using a textbook and having to bring the book home to put “contact paper” on them or book socks. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what I’m used too. Even in high school some of the textbooks were online and I did not like not having the book in my hands to look through or highlight it I would have to scroll virtually. Even in this Internet marketing class I am currently in for the summer class I saw there was an Ebook but I chose to get the paper copy just because of how I grew up learning. I do agree that online classes allow for more convenience. Not having to attend a class at a certain time helps one to fill there day with work and class finding time for both. I think that teachers should give the option of online and paperback because some people like me learn better with the book in front of them others like an online copy. Online classes also come with the less personal aspect due to not meeting with your teacher and your teacher not being able to get to know who you are. They know you based on what you write and what you hand in. It all depends on the person to figure out what is the best technique. There are both positives and negatives to this ever-changing world with new technology being added

  • Patrick McCarthy

    We Millennials are the so-called “technology-generation”, but personally, I find that e-Textbooks do not work as
    well as traditional textbooks do. I am probably more biased against them than some people. Almost every textbook that I have used since I started college was not an eBook, but instead was a regular physical textbook. I always used to read paper books and that probably influenced how I feel. New technology almost
    always brings with it ups and downs. One of the positive aspects of this new tech is portability, because you can carry all your books on one tablet or a computer these days. However, (and maybe this fact is purely psychological) I still learn best with regular physical textbooks. As an example, I recently took a Spanish course and tried unsuccessfully to use the eBook that came on the website. I wound up failing the first couple of assignments.

  • Karina Gomez

    I’ve never taken an online class until this summer. Taking an online class never even popped into my head ever until i realized i just needed to take 7 classes to graduate by December. Of course I had the option to take classes on campus however I still have a part time job and still needed to make money and take on more hours to save up some money during the summer. I had ordered e-textbooks which I have never done before because I’m more traditional and like to actually have the book. The past spring semester I noticed how quickly I would get distracted reading a text book. I would always anticipate how many pages I still needed to read and how boring in general it was to sit down with the book and read one or two chapters at a time. Especially when I take 5 classes per semester and my mind is all over the place with deadlines. However I recently noticed that having an e-textbook made me read the entire chapter without even complaining or anticipating the number of pages. I am so used to just scrolling up and always reading on my social media accounts that I was doing the same thing but this time it was beneficial. I wouldn’t say taking an online class beats a class taught in person because I find that I learn more when I’m engaging with other students and listening and talking to them. I am a more visual learner so I like going to class and being in an environment where everyone is active I feel that is how I learn best. But I would say that e-textbooks have helped me focus more and learn material more without getting distracted.

  • Chris Guida

    Like all new things, transitions can be scary. For me the shift in recent years to online learning and virtual tech materials was no exception. It scared the hell out of me. Ever since I remember I have been a part of the old style of classroom lectures. The hands bobbing up and down through the air, the questions thrown around the room, and of course, hardcover text. For me, the ability for a teacher to see the confusion in my eyes was the way I loved to learn. In many ways it was the only way I had learned. But here we are in 2016 where the world stares at itself through a monitor. It became time for me to have a go at experiencing this new style of learning. Truth be told, the transition was easier than I had expected. Everything I needed was at a finger’s reach. I wouldn’t say I prefer this new age take on education but I do think that it pays to learn however you can in order to ensure success.

  • Aidan Ekelund

    I think that people of my generation were born right at the beginning of all these new emerging technologies. While I do feel nostalgic thinking back on the inside cover of the text books at the beginning of the year, I believe that soon, e-reading and e-textbooks will be the only way to learn. I personally like to hold a textbook and be able to physically flip through, highlight and dog-ear my pages. With e-textbooks, technological problems could come into play. This past week my hard drive on my Macbook crashed and my computer was completely useless. Having an actual textbook ensures that you will be able to access it. I do enjoy online classes because it is a mix of both newer technologies and classic learning techniques. Hybrid classes are also good because you have a more personable relationship with your professor.