The role of electronic textbooks with students

The average expense for required university textbooks in Canada can range anywhere from $300 to $1,000 or more. On top of an average tuition of $5,772, costs can add up; alternative solutions to save some dollars are being searched for far and wide. Wilfrid Laurier University is starting a pilot project to expand e-textbook accessibility. Courses on the Waterloo and Brantford campuses will have access to digitalized reading material.

The convenience of digital textbooks not only saves your bank account, but they can also make your days easier. You can have all your course material organized on a single tablet, you can engage in course content with a direct connection between the text and the Internet directly in the classroom with your professors and you can ultimately adjust to the innovative domain of developing classroom technology. Another major perk is you don’t have to worry about unopened, outdated books, which are impossible to sell, collecting dust in your basement.

There are some problems with the digital alternative too. The market of textbook exchange may no longer be an option. As much as textbooks tend to vacuum our money, an updated edition of a book is typically easy to re-sell for a reasonable price. As well, some students tend to have a stronger connection with the physical copy in their hands — feeling the pages beneath their fingertips is a more personalized relationship between the reader and the text.

The most important factor to consider is that every student learns differently. Some may be more inclined to read over a screen while others depend on old-fashioned books in their hands. With the appeal of saving money aside, students should chose their form of reading material depending on their individual style of learning. Education should not have to be compromised because of the dollar tag that comes with it.

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