Category Archives: #mdia3005

Access your Textbooks – Digital VS Physical

COME ON, GUYS! Vote for your ‘LIKE’ and ‘IDEAL’!!!

No matter you are an old fashioned physical book reader or a tablet-savvy book reader, the way we choose to interact with the book content is crucial and somehow related to the effectiveness and satisfaction level of our reading experience.

For university students, the preference of formats or types of textbooks predominantly depends on the price that can be afforded rather than the preferred reading habit. According to my empirical research, there are still a great number of students who are able to achieve better learning outcomes through taking notes,tagging,highlighting in a physical textbook. For others, they enjoy the efficiency of E-textbook or electronic learning materials that virtual tools enable faster and effective study.  A research on “Reading behaviour in the digital environment” done by Ziming Liu (2005) from San Jose State University, California,USA, presents a trend of reading habit that shifts from paper-based to screen-based reading with an increasing amount of time spent.

The screen-based reading behaviour is characterized by more time spent on browsing and scanning, keyword spotting, one-time reading, non-linear reading, and reading more selectively, while less time is spent on in-depth reading, and concentrated reading.

The research reveals that although the screen-based reading behaviour is emerging, the traditional pattern of reading has not yet migrated to the digital environment.

Moreover, as a university student, I can feel that no matter how advanced reading tool I applied in the process of reading, in certain period of time I definitely need some sort of physical tools or material to assist the entire learning process. Do you have the SAME feeling?

Therefore, when it comes to the Open Educational Resources (OERs), the combination of physical and virtual (electronic) learning resources is crucial. With the goal of achieving ideal learning outcomes, OERs in both physical and electronic versions in most cases are necessary to tailor university students’ various reading habits.

In the next blog, we will discuss something about “Virtual University” to increase and further the possibility and potential of OERs in modern-day universities.


Ziming Liu, (2005) “Reading behavior in the digital environment: Changes in reading behavior over the past ten years”, Journal of Documentation, Vol. 61 Iss: 6, pp.700 – 712.

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337


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Open Educational Resources (OER) in the US, What can Australian Department of Education do for Open Educational Resources for tertiary education?

We can see that Australian government did make effort to promote open educational resources. However, these open resources are mainly limited to K-12 education than university education. As a result, an increasing drop-out rate due to expensive textbooks across Australian universities is alarming for the importance of open education resource or other affordable textbook alternatives. Now, it’s time to learn from the successful model of Open Educational Resources (OER) in the US for tertiary education to help the drop-outs out of financial pressures.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) in the United States. Also, a provision relates to textbook affordability and access to pricing information went into effect in 2010. Moreover, “bills supporting the development of open textbooks have been introduced in both the House and Senate” (U.S Department of Education 2008 & Student PIRGS 2010).  The HEOA price disclosure law  helps accelerate the pace of Open Textbook. Open textbooks mean “college texts that have been published online under an open license that allows free digital access, low-cost printing and customization by instructors.”More importantly, the major difference is the application of  “Open License”,  which enables a wider range of access for affordable textbook formats, involving “free web-based versions, printable PDFs, and printed and bound hard copies for $20-40 (traditional textbooks usually cost $100-200!).” one of the most notable feature of open textbooks is customization – Instructors can remove the chapters that is less relevant to the course content, or they can add in supplementary materials, homework questions or annotations (Student PIRGS 2010).
I highly advocate applying the mechanism of Open Textbook in the US to Australian universities with changes based on specific Australian universities’ differences and needs. Let’s have a look at the main open educational resources in Australia at the moment (As I mentioned before, mainly for K-12 education):

•    Writers Talk

•    Science Talk

  • Intel skoool

•    Software-specific resources – Tools4U

•    UCreate

•    Dynamic calculus


     Current statistics for Sites2See—

  • How about including the textbook content used at universities into the already existed open educational resources?

In terms of the open resources for Australian universities –
“The University of Southern Queensland and Wollongong University are among 15 institutions which will contribute courses to the Open Education Resource University, which is being run by WikiEducator” (The Australian 2012).
University of Tasmania, Australia – Open Educational Resources (OER)

“The UNESCO declaration was presented at the World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress in Paris in June. The congress is a partnership between UNESCO and the non-profit Commonwealth of Learning” (The Australian 2012).

ROCK UP!!! Let’s come together to make Open Textbook available across Australia and the world!!!

[The benefits for students from Open Textbook]
According to the Report A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks Are The Path To Textbook Affordability, found that “using open textbooks could reduce costs 80% – that’s $184 per year, compared to the current average of $900!  But cost isn’t the only advantage. In our survey, student preferences were split 75% for print and 25% for digital, and two out of five said they’d be comfortable using both. Students listed readability, convenience and cost as their top factors in choosing a format, although there was no consensus on which format represented these qualities best. Given such variance in student preferences, open textbooks are a far more effective solution than conventional options like rentals and e-books, since students can choose from a wide variety of affordable options” (Student PIRGS 2010).

Allen, N 2010, A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks Are The Path To Textbook Affordability, The Student PIRGs, viewed 2 September 2012, <;.
‘Online and free, the real education revolution accelerates’, The Australian, 03 July 2012, viewed 5 September 2012, <;.
Student PIRGS 2010, Make Textbook Affordable, viewed 5 September 2012, <;.
U.S. Department of Education, ‘Higher Education Opportunity Act – 2008’, viewed 5 September 2012, <;.

Related articles:
1. Higher Education Opportunity Act enlists universities to halt file sharing by threatening federal funding
3.Smartcopying: The Official Guide to Copyright issues for Australian schools and TAFE

Please leave a comment about anything relevant to Affordable Textbook!!!


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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337


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Textbook Fair – Open Textbook, Open Smile

Textbook Fair is the Campaign starts from the student community at University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Textbook Fair mainly focuses on Open Educational Resources (OERs) movement, aiming at “establishing Textbook Stations” to provide Open Textbooks and affordable textbooks across universities in Australia.

Open Textbook in this campaign refers to texts published online under an open license that allows free digital access, low-cost printing and customization by instructors.

The cause arises from the over-commercialisation of textbook publishers and tertiary education institutions, leading to higher and higher financial pressure of students for textbook purchase. Ridiculous priced textbooks eventually influence the learning outcomes of the students who cannot afford the textbooks, and increase the drop-out rate at universities.

It’s possible to make a difference if WE come together and HAVE OUR SAY for the ultimate and fair tertiary education!!!

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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in #mdia3005, z3310337



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