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Pembroke, NC 28372

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E-Text Reader Faculty Pilot Study Summary

Printable version (MS Word)

Project Coordinator: Cindy Saylor, Assistant CIO, DoIT

A pilot study of two industry-leading e-text readers was conducted by DoIT in response to Chancellor Meadors’ proactive approach to seeking alternative means for accomplishing teaching and learning, as well as overcoming increasing cost of textbooks. The pilot study was conducted April through May 2009 with four full-time UNCP faculty and four e-text readers to determine if faculty thought both they and UNCP students would benefit from using this technology instead of print textbooks.

The faculty members were Dr. Mark Canada (English and Theatre), Dr. Timothy Hayes (Sociology and Criminal Justice), Ms. Rachel McBroom (Biology), and Dr. Rose Stremlau (History). The e-text readers were two Amazon Kindles and two Sony Readers. Selection of participants was based on the project coordinator’s intent to distribute readers across the curriculum and personal experiences of who may be interested in participating. The assignment of readers was random.

The readers were distributed to participants in early April and the faculty members were given until early June to use the technology and complete their evaluations. Although each was offered a $50 download allowance, the budget situation resulted in a withdrawal of that offer. The participants were asked to provide an evaluation of their own design, although some questions were offered as a guide for what kind of information was being sought (see Questionnaire). Below are links to the participants’ evaluations:

Overall, the participants agreed that e-text readers have some good features, lack some necessary features or have features that need upgrading. Of particular note is the lack of features for persons with low or no vision. Participants generally believe the e-readers have great potential but are not ready for use for textbooks because of the lack of e-textbook availability, the lack of quality in presentation of graphs and charts, and lack of lumination quality. All seem to agree that both units serve well for recreational reading. A few themes are as follows:

  • Set-up was fairly easy; easier with the Kindle and a PC; instructions were available and easy to use.
  • Public domain texts were easier to access; textbooks much more difficult.
  • Some nice features, but lacks some that would assist in use.
  • Battery power fluctuated; backlighting drained the battery.
  • Not recommended for individuals with low or no vision.
  • It appears that laptops and e-books would better serve our student and faculty populations with the current e-text reader technologies and online offerings.

For suggestions or questions, please contact Cindy Saylor, assistant chief information officer for educational technologies and client services, at 521.6260.



Updated: Tuesday, August 18, 2009


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