Let’s get digital, physical textbooks!

Digital literacy is on the forefront of college campuses everywhere. College students and their use of technology influence academic institutions to change with the times.


 In 2017, a laptop was essential for student studying habits with 86 percent of college students saying they used one, according to a study conducted by McGraw-Hill.


In addition to laptops, students use other technological advancements to aid them in their studies.


Dr. Helen Schneider, assistant professor of computer science and the co-chair of the computer science department at the University of Findlay, says students have different expectations when coming to class compared to when she first started in 1988.


“Students have a lot more digital needs in terms of specialized software and things that they’re using,” Schneider said.


Students, she said, expect things to be more mobile-friendly so they can do assignments on the go.


“We’ll have students in a class that will try to take their quizzes online from their phone,” she said.


Contrastingly, smartphones are the fifth most important tool when students are studying, with only 33 percent usage from students, according to McGraw-Hill. Print materials in the same study have a 39 percent jump at 77 percent.


Students on campus say that they use e-books if the print copy is more expensive.


Amber King, senior Social Work major, says she prefers print books over online copies, which only reinforces the 2017 study conducted by McGraw Hill.


“It’s easier to read something that’s in my hands and if I need to go back, I can just flip a page. Looking at a screen for too long can be too much for my head,” King said.


King says she studies about four to six hours a week.


“I do the majority of my studying here in the AMU, or sometimes in Egner, because I’m a theater kid, and that’s where all the theater kids go,” she said.


McCayla Pitt, junior in Middle Childhood Education, says she also prefers print books over online copies.


“I like actually having a book in my hand,” she said, “But if it was cheaper, I’d choose the online copy.”


Dr. Mary Jo Geise, coach and professor in the computer science department at the University of Findlay, says that she sees students leaning towards digital resources rather than physical books.


“The problem is, is that the cost of them has gotten so expensive that students don’t feel as if they can afford to keep them,” said Geise.


Geise also believes in positives to digital resources.


“There are certainly some pros to digital resources, certainly you can search for things more quickly in a digital document than maybe you can in a paper document,” she said.


“They are cheaper for the most part, but that could change too,” said Geise about digital books.


Drew Balduff, the Electronic Resources Librarian and the Interim Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Librarian at the Shafer Library, says that students should use whatever they’re comfortable with when studying.


“Depending on how they study, I would encourage them to just follow that gut instinct. If you prefer print, go with print,” he said.


“If you’re cool with that or you’re privy to print, and not electronic, I would encourage them to definitely use OhioLINK,” Balduff said.


Digital literacy comes in all different forms on college campuses. From the library, to assignments, to even taking entire courses online- the world moves at a fast pace, on-the-go for students and faculty alike.

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