MLibrary to host e-textbook symposium

If you squint, you can almost see the end of printed textbooks ahead. Don’t believe it? Then you ought to sign up for a free symposium the MLibrary is hosting from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, March 18 in the Palmer Commons.

“The Future of E-textbooks: A Symposium on the Influence of E-textbooks on Academic Life” will consider various questions about teaching, learning, and technology, as well as the economics and future business models of the e-textbook market. Organizers say the arrival of Smart Boards, personal computers, and wireless printers has begun to change the way that students interact with faculty and academic content. In addition, the recent arrival of e-readers, tablet PCs, and smart phones may bring with it the end of printed textbooks.

Among the symposium’s scheduled speakers are Maria Bonn, associate university librarian for publishing at U-M; Suzanne BeDell, managing director for science and technology books, Elsevier; and Ken Brooks, senior vice president at Cengage Learning.

The infrastructure for the changing market is rapidly growing. BeDell estimates that tablets, including the iPad, should approach a 40 million installed base in 2011.

The symposium will also feature a panel discussion with U-M faculty instructors doing innovative work with electronic course materials, and another with a group of U-M students who are participating in an e-textbook pilot project in one of their courses.

According to Susan Hollar, the U-M librarian who is coordinating the panel discussions, the symposium will provide a venue in which to discuss how technology has already altered the classroom landscape, and what role forthcoming products like e-textbooks will play in continuing that transformation.

“Student and faculty perspectives on these issues are particularly important to the conversation,” Hollar says. “I’m really looking forward to hearing more about their actual experiences with some of this technology in the classroom.”

The symposium includes refreshments and a lunch. You can view a full symposium schedule and RSVP. This event is sponsored by Elsevier, publisher of science and health information, as part of its Library Connect initiative. The MLibrary is involved because of its role in the discovery and deployment of teaching and learning technologies on campus.

For more information, contact Rachel McCullough from Elsevier at r.mccullough@elsevier.com.

(Compiled from information provided by the MLibrary)

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