Comments on: I think I’m a little bit in love http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 05:33:21 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1916273 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 04:52:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1916273 There’s an interesting essay by an academic librarian in the NYT “Sunday Review” section today about the practice of marginal annotation and the like in library-owned books, and the conflicting interests of students, faculty, and other I’m struggling not to say “stakeholders.” To me it was refreshing to hear him not saying, “books, shmooks, who needs ‘em, an old practice-of-literacy technology, it’s really about informatics, plus of course cool group study spaces.” When somebody whips out a yellow marker and begins annotating that annoying kid at the end of the table who keeps reciting from _Catcher in the Rye_, that’s when it will hit the fan.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1916232 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 01:32:08 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1916232 Joel–welcome, and I think your experiences are terrific illustrations of the issues Broussard raises with e-books. We’d all–or most of us–love it if they had the same functionality, but they just don’t, especially for difficult intellectual work and learning.

I find your discussion of the tactile effects of codex v. e-book entirely persuasive–I think you’ve articulated something I’ve sensed myself, but haven’t been able to explain. As Susan says above–e-books are great when you’re writing or revising a lecture on the fly and want to make sure it’s up-to-date, but when it comes to really assimilating an argument and factual information, they’re not so great.

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By: Joel http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1916084 Sun, 02 Feb 2014 17:21:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1916084 This is fascinating. But it’s also something I probably wouldn’t have agreed with until I started grad school, and it’s really your point that e-readers are inadequate for critical reading that strikes home. My first semester as a grad student was filled with constant reading-system experiments: notes by hand on notebook paper, notes in margins of the book, notes directly to the word processor, and so on, trying to figure out what worked the best.

One of my worst decisions was when I decided to read an assigned monograph on my Kindle one week (to save money of course). Besides being completely unable to follow along in discussion the most frightening aspect of e-reading was that I couldn’t visualize (which Broussard alludes to) the physical dimensions of the book–I never realized how necessary, at least for me, and I’m sure others, it is to the understanding of complex arguments to do so in terms of physical space. It was those mental markers–the fatness of the book in my right hand as I read the introduction versus the thinness in my left–which slowly changed as I waded through the text that allowed me to process the material. I think it’s that tangible aesthetic that helps cognitive functioning that I’m not sure if e-reading will be able to overcome in the near future.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915575 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 15:16:53 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915575 Most def.–I believe I will share Broussard’s article with my students next week. They seem interested when I talk about pedagogy in class and like thinking about the things that help them learn better (or worse).

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915568 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 15:07:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915568 I tell my students how I read. That is, much of my pleasure reading is on my iPad, Our library has lots do eb books, and it’s great when you want a quick reference. (writing a new lecture @ 10 PM? I *love* ebooks then!). But if I really need to read a book and grasp it’s argument, I order it on ILL. Similarly, we have no print journals in our library, so I read journals on line and save PDFs. But when I’m writing, and dealing with an argument in an article, I print it out. Which is another way of saying that there are multiple ways to read, and it might even help our students to point that out.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915552 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 14:44:06 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915552 I hadn’t thought about the visually disabled students w/r/t an e-books ban that both Shaz and PeggySu raise. But, like the vast majority of professors, perhaps Broussard makes exceptions to class/syllabus rules for students with documented disabilities. (At least, I do.)

I’m not prohibitionist when it comes to e-books, mostly because most of my students (all but 3 or 4 in the past 2-1/2 or 3 years) use books and access articles the old-fashioned way. But if my classes were being disturbed by the demands of e-book technology the way that Broussard reports, I’d certainly consider it.

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By: PeggySu http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915341 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 04:58:56 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915341 While I understand this, the teacher seems to be ignoring students with print disabilities including dyslexia, visual impairment, and blindness. Digital books can make a huge difference to accessibility for these students.

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By: Feminist Avatar http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915275 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 01:25:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915275 In defense of the microfilm… After some serious experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that microfilm is the superior format for reading old newspapers, for those of us for not searching for specific keywords and who want to work as quickly as possible. If you are, say, looking for something like representations of crime or masculinity or foreign policy in a long run of newspapers and want to be comprehensive, then keyword searching often won’t work as you can’t predict every keyword. This requires you to actually go through all the papers. Digitised papers are not designed to do this and are very slow and clunky when you try to read page after page for little reward. They really only work well for reading individual articles (and let’s not talk about how horrendous the keyword searching is on papers before about 1800).

Codex, while a superior reading experience, tends to require you to stand so that you can read both the top and bottom of the page, and the delicate pages necessitate you turning pages slowly and carefully. Once you want to record the data, codex often requires you to perform regular squats whilst typing as you try to read the top of the page and record at the same time. This becomes slow and tiresome, although your thighs might appreciate the pay-off. (I’ve yet to find an archive that lets you photograph the codex newspapers).

Microfilm however can be scrolled through quickly whilst you scan the page for relevant info and you can print those pages with relevant stuff. If you’re skint, you can adjust the height of the page when typing your findings so less need for squats. It’s both comprehensive and relatively quick compared to other methods.

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By: truffula http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915260 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 00:19:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915260 Late to the conversation but I think Belle’s observation regarding how searching works in an electronic medium:

my students’ admission that they read words, not sentences or paragraphs.

is worth some thought.

I observed a lot of students using pdfs of book chapters in a science (computer) lab setting last year. Many students jump right to the work assignment (the problem set at the end of each chapter) without reading any of the chapter itself. I’d written these things with great attention to how concepts build and interrelate over the course of each topic and they were missing all of that. Students would identify (as best they could) what work was required and then scan back up through the document looking for an example of that work. The text was not built that way (at all, on purpose) with the result that students who adopted this approach were quickly frustrated, after which their motivation and ability to progress positively toward solutions plummeted. Students who took the time to read the chapters first had markedly different outcomes. I expect that there are positive feedbacks here, that is, certain types of of study habits and outcomes reinforce each other.

I can’t claim that this divergence in behaviors is due to the medium–students could act the same way with either paper or pdf–but I wonder if there is something about time scale and expectations for rewards. Do students expect more rapid returns than are possible if you have to read the whole chapter (or a whole book) before engaging in work that generates a reward? Has the expectation for rapid feedback and rapid reward changed over time? I’m thinking a bit about “clickers,” frequent quizzing, and so on. Do we reinforce this shallow reading by behaviors of our own?

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By: shaz http://www.historiann.com/2014/01/30/i-think-im-a-little-bit-in-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1915183 Fri, 31 Jan 2014 18:58:50 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22335#comment-1915183 I’m of two minds on this one. All my pleasure reading is on ebooks, and I love article PDFs. And yet I still buy all my work books in print:

1. You can’t, generally, share ebooks. How many times do we loan or get loaned a book? The single-use and multiple platforms of ebooks are a real problem.

2. Despite my valuing the productive use of technology, I have found that undergrads who print out documents are the better students– because they highlight and take notes effectively. Not that you can’t take notes on ebooks, but as Sharat B. says, it is pretty clunky, so students generally don’t bother. Chicken or egg?

I personally prefer Historiann’s sharing of information to bans: I worry about disability issues with a ban and prefer putting as few hurdles (or need for exceptions) as possible in my classes. Requiring print books could publicly mark someone’s disability in a way that I’d be uncomfortable with.

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