Sabo encourages e-texts in the classroom

We live in a time when technology can be our poison or our savior.

The days of lugging around heavy book bags may soon be gone, with the conversion of textbooks to online formats.

But we also may be losing the comfort of a paper book to hold.

Dr. Joanna Sabo, an MCCC Political Science professor,  is one of the first instructors to provide an electronic text to her students.

She introduced the idea to the rest of the political science professors after seeing it demonstrated at a conference.
The online text, published by the company Soomo, provides all the same material of the physical book, with the added bonus of videos and interactive quizzes.

“My hope was that we would get the students who don’t read today, to read,” Sabo said.

Sabo also said one of the  biggest advantages for students is the cost. The online version of the book can be anywhere from two-thirds to half the cost of the traditional hard copy.

According to Sabo, student response to the book has been mixed, but mostly positive.

“I’m hoping that eventually more and more students embrace it more.” she said. “It does seem like the right thing to do.”

Cassidee Nation, a Monroe High School student who dual-enrolled in Sabo’s class Fall semester, had both good and bad things to say about the e-book.

“I like having a book online, but I would prefer the standard paper book,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s hard to access a computer, and I feel as if you can make better notes using a paper book.”

Though it is early in the electronic text revolution, signs are saying that it is here to stay.

Four-year universities and some high schools have already began converting their textbooks to an online format. 

“I think it’s going to be all we see someday.” Sabo said.

During Fall semester, eight textbooks were available at the MCCC bookstore in the e-text format, and five are available for Winter semester.   

Kelli Plumb, administrative assistant to the director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, says she is always checking with publishers for new e-text opportunities.

“We do have some students that prefer to save a little money and just get the electronic version and not lug around a heavy textbook.” Plumb said.

Lynsee Kostoff, a student assistant at the Bookstore, said students usually have  a choice between the physical copy and the e-text, but most people, including her, haven’t used the E books yet.

“They’re confused when we hand them an envelope at the register,” she said.