Sophomore Suggestions: Getting tech savvy with textbooks

In the age of technology, it is not uncommon to see someone flicking a finger to turn a page on a screen rather than having a book in hand. While many will always be faithful to the printed word, it is indisputable that the print industry has had great successes in digital publishing. It is time for Rider to join the trend and offer a digital alternative to textbooks.

College students are constantly running from class to class. When courses are scheduled closely together, there is no time for switching books, which forces students to lug unnecessarily hefty bags across campus. Though a student is never carrying that load for long, that short period of heavy lifting can do plenty of damage to one’s back and shoulders day after day.

A tablet weighs roughly two pounds, oftentimes even less. That two-pound device can carry a student’s notes, novels and textbooks with memory space to spare. One could argue that college students are young and should be able to handle carrying a few books. This is true: college students are perfectly capable of carrying a few heavy books. But why not go easy on yourself while you’re still young? Injuries acquired now because of a heavy load could cause more serious issues down the road.

Problems could arise from offering e-books when it comes to the policies of specific professors. While some welcome the use of laptops and tablets in their classrooms, others see no need for the use of technology, stating that the temptation to browse the Internet or play games in class is too great.

It is a valid argument. In everyday life, many find themselves distracted from completing important tasks because of the lure of checking Facebook or catching up on emails. It is not a stretch to expect students to give in to surfing the Internet instead of taking notes. That said, college students should have enough maturity to decide whether or not they can handle the temptations that come with bringing technology into the classroom. One would hope that the misuse of technology by a few would not stop the school from choosing an alternative to traditional textbooks that could benefit many.

Of course, not all students are able to purchase the laptops or tablets necessary to use e-books. Having used e-books, I have found that they sometimes come with perks that printed books do not, such as bookmarked and highlighted passages with a tap of the finger, rather than flipping through page after page. During an open book test, could leave students with traditional books at a disadvantage. In switching over to digital books, however, change would need to be implemented by professors to ensure that those with and without e-books are on an even playing field with quizzes and tests.

E-books have many advantages. Carrying all textbooks in one small device is much easier on the body than dragging around textbooks that are heavy as bricks. Students and professors would need to work together in order for the school-wide allowance of purchasing e-books to become a reality. It is worth pursuing as our backs will be thankful in the long run.

-Casey Gale

Sophomore journalism and 

American studies major 

Printed in the 2/22/13 edition.

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