eBooks for Universities

An odd little idea I have had that seems remarkably sensible in almost any way is for all university students to be advised to buy ebook readers by their university at the start of their first term.

The point of this is simple. All universities, even if the legalities of this are uncertain, give out an incredible amount of photocopied handouts from books to allow all their students to read the important readings on a course. The solution to this time wasting, tree destroying and ultimately annoying situation would be a single eBook reader that was able to access the documents remotely and allow the student to carry the work in one handy module.

So yeah, this seems to me to be a good idea. I picture it like this. The student will by an reader. They will go to their first lecture and be informed that a reading is on the course's virtual workspace and that by using a secure password etc. the student could easily pick up the work and carry it around with them.

The ease of this method cannot though be without some disadvantages. The chief of which I see is the difficulties to which publishers have with the digitalisation of work. Thus I can only assume that DRM has to be involved somewhere, it would be desired not to be the case, reliant on the fact that the institutions only gave out parts of people's work. Another solution to this problem would be that a subscription service paid for by the universities to the publishers could be made so as to allow for this activity to happen. Even so there is always some way around the difficulties to which will be faced with the possibility of people simply taking the files and making them publicly available after the event.

There is more to the above point than is expressed. And there are more difficulties to be faced. Even so I believe that this would be a remarkable change to universities across the world. Benefiting everyone involved. The Students will have less to carry and will be able to access work often more comfortably. The use of paper will be severely reduced within out institutions. The Institutions will not only be likely to save money, but also will be able to save staff time by making this the only way in which students could obtain any readings, lecture notes or other important articles.

Meh, its an idea. Not very well looked into at the moment, as I am tired. But still I think it holds some merit.



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