I don’t totally agree with the idea that age is the key differentiation between those who are comfortable and active in the world of new media and those who are luddites.
But the JISC national e-books observatory project provides an interesting statistic that I think might be important.
Initial observation of the behaviours and learning styles of students in 127 universities across the UK into their e-book habits shows 62% of the 22,000 respondents read online compared to 6% who print to read.
I confess to being a digital immigrant in this regard as I generally prefer to print rather than read online, particularly information that I need to think about, such as journal articles. Of course, it isn’t feasible to print entire books, but I find that a limitation of the great resource available at Google books for example. Given a choice, I’d rather take a real book out of the library, although the convenience of accessing more resources online is substantial.
Last month we offered our students taking the CIPR Advanced Certificate critique assignment the option to submit in pdf rather than print format. This was intended as an experiment that we hoped would be more efficient. It did save the time and cost of posting work to the centre, onto the markers and then the required sample for the external examiner. However, I spent quite a lot of time receiving and checking the submissions – so some cons as well as pros there.
I decided I would undertake my role entirely electronically. That involved moderating the work of four markers across 45 submissions (each of 2,500 words plus bibliography) and completing the marking assessment forms for each.
Although I still prefer to review printed submissions on which I can annotate comments using a pen, using the laptop meant I could read work away from my desk.
I’m gaining feedback from the tutors, but the initial student comment was positive. So, I think we will continue for electronic submissions for the critique and possibly for the Diploma CRT submissions in January.
But, do you agree that there is a distinction between being comfortable enough to read online and preferring to print to read? Is that the mark of a digital immigrant as opposed to a native?