Thursday, May 15, 2008

Books and eBooks

I was invited to present at an ‘e-Book and Content’ event the other day, which unlike so many of the venues I had been invited to before, was attended predominantly by non-academic staff. In the main the audience was made up from by library / information professionals, administrators and publishers. Much of the theme for the event naturally centred on the subject of e-Books, which many appeared to agree, was the next natural stage in publication and distribution for learning materials. The reason for my inclusion of this event in a blog on Moodle, is that if like myself you have come to feel that to become a vle, certainly in my own understanding of the term, requires more than just the copious posting of course notes onto the system, but the development of materials more consistent with an eLearning delivery platform than a class handout. Certainly there does seem to be a case for the production of content that departs from our more traditional model of chapters and indexes following a comment from a delegate who reported the difficulties that one cohort of students had identified, that certain sections of books ’do not seem to read very well’; the section in question turned out to be the index!
A general consensus expressed on behalf of library professionals seemed to center on the burden of cost exacted on them by publisher bundles, which it seems often contain publications with a very low reader frequency. I wonder if we could learn something here from the music industries experience with i-Tunes. In this age of digitised music, the needs of the market seem to being served by the granulation of the traditional album into tracks from which personalised albums can be constructed, can we not think about doing the same with chapters! If you have any views or experiences then please feel free to reply to this posting.


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