Electronic Versions Of Textbooks Spy On Students As They Read Them

from the that-will-teach-them dept

The rapid uptake of ebooks by the public shows that there is a widespread recognition of their advantages. This would be good news for the publishing industry as it faces the transition from analog to digital formats, were it not for the fact that some publishers keep finding new ways of making ebooks less attractive than physical versions.

Here's the latest idea: electronic versions of textbooks that spy on students as they read them:

Say a student uses an introductory psychology e-textbook. The book will be integrated into the college’s course-management system. It will track students' behavior: how much time they spend reading, how many pages they view, and how many notes and highlights they make. That data will get crunched into an engagement score for each student.

The idea is that faculty members can reach out to students showing low engagement, says Sean Devine, chief executive of CourseSmart. And colleges can evaluate the return they are getting on investments in digital materials.
Well, the idea might be that it will help students will low engagement, but you can bet that it won't stop there. It will also be used to spy on whether students are cheating, as indicated by an implausibly small number of hours spent reading texts; or it might be used to check on whether books are being lent out to friends who aren't "authorized" to read that copy, as evidenced by unusual reading patterns.

Similarly, it's easy to imagine colleges starting to put pressure on students to read in certain rigidly-defined ways in order to "maximize" the return on that investment in digital materials -- hardly what education and learning to think for yourself are all about. Maximizing return will doubtless also lead to this reporting feature becoming mandatory -- at the moment students can opt out if they wish -- purely in the name of efficiency, you understand.

What's really tragic is that digital textbooks have the potential to be used in all kinds of truly innovative ways -- for example, allowing a class to share annotations in real time, making the whole reading experience more social; or perhaps editing and combining texts to produce exciting re-workings and re-imaginings. Instead, publishers are obsessed with tracking users and controlling how they use ebooks, largely out of an absurd, underlying fear that somewhere along the line somebody might be doing something without paying for it.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    I don't see the appeal of e book format for reference textbooks. It is an excellent format for novels and autobiographies but for reference books, paper is still king.

     

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  2.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:47am

    As someone who actually teaches at University (Bachelor level) and Trade Level Courses for LEO's etc I can see the potential pedagogical benefits this might have especially in regards to assessing the ability and methods of learning on each individual student.

    Though looking at it from a privacy, ethical, quasi-legal and psychological viewpoint, and also knowing that not everyone learns the same way (reading is just one method and not the most prevalent) the absolute answer to this is

    Not in my classes..NO!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:06am

    Money, always the issue. Digitize a textbook and it's hard to justify charging every single student $100 or more for them.

    When you pay nearly 1/4-1/2 of your tuition for just books alone it makes a great deal of sense for someone to try and make this market work. It's somewhat surprising that no one seems to be trying, and the only offerings available are more concerned over IP/licensing than actually educating anyone.

     

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  4.  
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    The eejit (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    1/4-1/2 of your tuition

    You're being optimistic in the highest order.

     

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  5.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:14am

    I've heard this before...

    As long as it can't track what they're wearing...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:15am

    Looks like it is also another way of ensuring that each student buys a new copy of the book, as for this to work the books are registered to a student. The next use of this could be allowing reduced price books for students, which self destruct at the end of the course, so that if the person still wishes a copy for reference they have to buy a full price copy.

     

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  7.  
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    Kingster (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Re:

    I'm not sure I agree with you. As the father of two children that carry about 12-15 pounds of textbooks to and from school every day (like I did, and likely you did)... I see enormous benefit in them.

    I would have killed to carry an iPad (or similar), that I could "mark up" and annotate. Take notes in class? Of course! Put them right on the page that you're discussing! It's digital - it will (or could) be there forever!

    And for reference? I dunno - I bet an electronic indexed search will find things just as fast, and probably faster, than you would on paper.

     

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  8.  
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    mack k, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:29am

    not the problem

    As always, the USA does everything a**-backwards, & fails at wheel reinvention. Delivery is is not the problem; content and competent staffing is more urgent. When the rest of the developed world (and some undeveloped) is cleaning our clock in educational achievement, what difference does it make in what form our failures are delivered & disseminated?

     

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  9.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:29am

    Re:

    I find myself having to agree with you there. I think the technology is available to replace paper, BUT we need some competent device builders to step in and make a device worth having.

    For example, How about a e-paper device with a screen the size of standard textbook page. Touch screen that accepts a REAL stylus, not a clunky thing that is no better than you finger.. You know, so you can actually write with it. Then also have back lighting that can be used to highlight parts in the book. (How awesome would that be, take your stylus and drag over some text and have it highlighted with soft colored glow)

    So in other words a device that allows you to do what is natural. Be able to open your book in class and read, highlight and doodle just like a normal book. Once this is done then I think e-books can replace paper. The e-readers now though are just too clunky a device for reference books.

    I almost forgot that you also need a VERY well developed book mark system for reference books. Something most e-readers also suck at.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:29am

    Student: " hell no I'm got buying your ebook if you are going to tell me when, where and how to read a book!"

    College: "that's okay. Over to your right is the paperback version." *snickers and whispers to self* 'my plan is working perfectly...'

     

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  11.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re:

    Optimistic about the cost of tuition or the cost of textbooks?

     

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  12.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Define: Studying

    The act of texting, eating, watching tv, and/or talking with friends with an open textbook nearby.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    Problem with the business requirements

    how much time they spend reading, how many pages they view, and how many notes and highlights they make

    And what about speed readers with a photographic memory?

     

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  14.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re:

    Ah the days of filling my schoolbag with books. Still, it helped my upper body strength ;-)

     

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  15.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re:

    Ah the days of filling my schoolbag with books. Still, it helped my upper body strength ;-)

     

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  16.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re:

    Ah the days of filling my schoolbag with half a dozen bulky books. Still, it helped my upper body strength ;-)

     

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  17.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:53am

    Smith! 6079 Smith! Yes you! Why aren't you highlighting more passages? You can take more notes than that comrade! Let's get our engagement score higher! Just think of the boys at the Malobar front! And the sailors in the floating fortresses!

     

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  18.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re:

    Absolutely especially since unless a student can type at over 120 words per minute (or more) to take notes of the class/lecture/seminar/whatever an actual computer with a keyboard (physical or virtual) is absolutely freakin pointless.

    Writing and taking notes is one of the major ways people learn. Just reading text is one of the hardest ways to actually retain anything.

    Unless the student is learning something that specifically requires using a computer/device or to research/read on the computer, computers in classroom situations (especially at high schools & lower grades) are basically useless until at such time they can become a ubiquitous tool that has a simple and extremely easy to use Human Computer Interface (HCI) that actually allows and even enhances the learning curve.

     

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  19.  
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    shawnhcorey (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    A small piece of duct tape will solve the problem. 😉

     

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  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    "The rapid uptake of ebooks by the public shows that there is a widespread recognition of their advantages."

    Must buy the locked hardware for DRM, the displays aren't so good, you don't "own" the digital copy, AND the gadgets plus distribution system spy on you. For me adds up to the gadget-buying public is stupid.

    By the way, the myth that "computers make learning fun" has been around since the late 70's for sure, and it's a lie, you kids have just gotten a veneer of real education.



    All hail Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

     

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  21.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:05am

    Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    Holy crap, I just figured you out!

    Well, now that I know who/what you are, it makes accepting your apparently aberrant ways that much easier.

     

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  22.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:06am

    Will the etextbook even let you eread when there is no einternet econnection?

     

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  23.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:06am

    Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    Ah the idiot does it again. Mike didn't even write the article so you are an epic fail.

     

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  24.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    The very-relevant portion:
    M: I came here for a good argument.
    A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
    M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
    A: It can be.
    M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    A: No it isn't.
    M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
    A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
    M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
    A: Yes it is!
    M: No it isn't!

    A: Yes it is!
    M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

     

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  25.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:10am

    Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    See, there you go. For once you actually make a cogent comment, but then at the last minute you panic and realize you haven't insulted Mike.

     

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  26.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:13am

    Oh, the irony

    A student is reading about the history of Nazi Germany and the former USSR, how they spied on their own people and eliminated their rights while preaching patroitism, from his digital textbook... all the while being spied on by his teachers.

    I feel sorry for our children.

     

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  27.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Writing and taking notes is one of the major ways people learn. Just reading text is one of the hardest ways to actually retain anything.
    I disagree w/ this, and I think in some ways this is the type of generalized thought that is what the article was warning against. I personally learn better just reading and not taking notes. Although again, different subjects will need different types of reinforcement.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:29am

    Glad I'm done with school!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even just reading though, most modern e-readers are not a good format for text books. They are made to be nice little pocket sized things. Great for a novel but not for a text book where you might want larger charts or diagrams.

    The interface is also normally terrible for anything other than straight liner reading, you know like how you read a novel, but terrible for jumping back and forth like you do with reference books.

     

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  30.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Okay what I meant by this is what I said in comment just below here.

    Different people learn in different ways. Though it has been shown that just reading a textbook is a very unusual way to actual learning for most students. Mainly because the way we actually remember things is normally via doing something and reading is to most people not 'doing' in the standard physical way. That doesn't mean that some people, yourself included, cannot learn using pure reading. It's just not the norm, otherwise textbooks, and pure lecture notes could replace Face To Face teaching in every classroom.

    In fact to acquire and process information (learning) most people use a method based on mainly on one of Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical (kinesthetic, and Logical (reasoning) with a mix of the others to enhance the learning.
    [and yes for those that ask where the other tow of the seven styles are.. Social and Solitary are preferences.. not specifically styles]

    In fact it's now known that that kid in the class who was always doodling andgetting in trouble for it.. yes you know who you are you disruptor you ;) .. they were actually allowing themselves to learn by their preferred method of learning, kinesthetic. With the kinesthetic action of doodling allowing there brain to filter properly the words on the blackboard or what the teacher was saying etc.

    In fact there is a whole heap of sites online that can analyse your learning style from multiple choice questionares and most are pretty acurate. Teachers use them to allow them to know the best way to assess and train individual students.

     

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  31.  
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    reboog711 (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    You're not a programmer are you?

    I used to have a dozen or so reference books right by my computer; but now it is quicker to perform a search and I dumped almost all of my paper books a few years ago.

     

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  32.  
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    Zos (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ereaders sure, but most tablets would do fine.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:44am

    Uh, question:

    Why can I no longer see the "reported" comments or reply to them when I have NoScript enabled?

    I use NoScript to make the web more bearable, and although I am fine with missing out on some functionality (like being able to vote insightful/funny on this site), not being able to see the reported comments (as I used to be able to) basically kills the whole point of even coming to Techdirt (which is the comments).

    Please fix this. (Also, please don't turn this into a discussion of if/why Techdirt censors comments).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    http://youareanidiot.org/

    Suits you perfectly.

     

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  35.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re:

    Hells no. I'm a support guy as I was never any good at programming.

     

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  36.  
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    Grover (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Evil is as evil does

    We all know the old adage that "money is the root of all evil" - or something to that effect. Figuring out how to squeeze every last drop of blood (money) as possible, without considering the benefits of humanitarianism ("...which is an ethic of kindness, benevolence, and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings...") simply has to have it roots in greed; and greed, in its simplest form, has no room for anyone else other than those it directly benefits. I tend to view such people, and/or corporations, as evil and greedy beyond belief. It is one thing to yearn to make a decent living, by offering to sell your services or wares; it is entirely another to devise methodologies, such as outlined here, to squeeze more money out of something that has already been sold.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re:

    Ah the days of filling my schoolbag with books. Still, it helped my upper body strength ;-)

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re:

    Ah the days of filling my schoolbag with half a dozen bulky books. Still, it helped my upper body strength ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re:

    I think the technology is available to replace paper, BUT we need some competent device builders to step in and make a device worth having.
    Microsoft was creating some impressive hardware along these lines back in 2008-09 - the Courier - but internal politics killed it.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re:

    I use NoScript and have none of the issues you mention. Maybe you should try to 'allow' this sight, and the few others that matter to it.

    AdBlock Plus takes care of any advertisements. Ghostery finds 12 trackers, and blocks them all, but no impact on functionality.

    Are you using an updated Hosts file? You might look in there for issues (any link related to this site or those feeding it like Akamai), I have found that my updated Hosts file blocks 'Docstock' until I comment it out.

     

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  41.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's an absurd premise. Who can WRITE at 60 WPM, much less 120? I've directly typed my classroom notes since 1996. It works great for me. I would love to have electronic texts to pair with my notes, reports, etc., but not at the expense of a freakishly controlling/monitoring textbook ecosystem.

    Bottom line is that I love the idea of electronic textbooks, and while the interfaces could use a lot of improvement, they don't need to completely replicate "how we've always done it".

    Unfortunately, the unlimited greed of school book publishing houses combined with the laziness and lack of creativity of most school administrators will surely turn this concept into nothing more than a corporate money mill in exchange for institutionalized training in mediocrity.

     

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  42.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:32am

    Re: Evil is as evil does

    This particular story has more to do with privacy erosion than profits.

    Now when kids go to school, they're being watching by cameras.

    When students take home school-issued laptops, they're inviting the school to invade their privacy. Remember what happened in Pennsylvania, where it was revealed that teachers were watching students at home?

    Refresher: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2010/04/19/school-laptop-spying-case-just-keeps-getting-creepier/

    The school forces the students who take the laptops to sign an EULA. However, there are some rights which you cannot waive, particularly where it concerns students who don't even realize that their privacy is being intruded upon. The LED light next to the camera would flash on and off, so when students asked why, the school told them that it was simply a glitch. :/

     

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  43.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    Damn you, Neal Stephenson

    It will track students' behavior: how much time they spend reading, how many pages they view, and how many notes and highlights they make. That data will get crunched into an engagement score for each student.


    They obviously lifted this idea straight from the pages of Snow Crash.

     

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  44.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Made up

    Not that there aren't legitimate concerns here, but... "you can bet... it might be... it's easy to imagine... will doubtless..." This is really just a news item starting point followed by a string of unsupported speculation. This story would be better with some references to back up your fears. Again, I'm not saying the fears aren't legitimate, just that this article provides no support for them at all.

     

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  45.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re:

    Me too. Further, all of my reference books are on my smartphone now. As a bonus, my boss can't tell if I'm researching or sexting.

     

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  46.  
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    The eejit (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Definitely the latter.

     

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  47.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    Must buy the locked hardware for DRM


    No you don't. The CourseSmart stuff doesn't require particular hardware or even a dedicated eBook reader. besides, eBook DRM is trivial to remove and then you can read the work on any device you like. If you're buying eBooks and not removing the DRM from them, you are being foolish.

     

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  48.  
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    DCX2, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    Stick with your paper textbooks and your clumsy index. I will ctrl-f my way to success five times faster with digital text.

    And my digital text will never fade or fall apart at the spine. I can't spill something on my digital text, either.

     

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  49.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    I use NoScript and have no such problems. But I allow all scripts from techdirt.com to run. Perhaps you aren't?

    This isn't an issue for techdirt to fix. This is about how you have your setup configured.

     

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  50.  
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    DCX2, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Personally, I believe the exact opposite. For most of my generation and those younger than me, our proficiency at typing FAR exceeds our proficiency at writing.

    But for that matter, I never took notes in class, anyway. The reason is that while you spend time trying to scribble down what you saw on the board, I am spending time deeply processing what the professor is saying. I try to mentally predict what the prof writes on the board before it is written. I have found that this deeper level of processing helped me far more by making me understand instead of memorize.

     

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  51.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Re: Made up

    The speculations seem within the realm of reason to me. Between surveillance cameras, pat-downs, random searches, spying on student's off-time use of social media, and so forth, schools have consistently shown an extreme eagerness to engage in exactly this sort of behavior whenever they have the opportunity. It would be weird if they didn't engage in the same sort of thing with this stuff as well.

     

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  52.  
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    DCX2, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re:

    Already happening. My wife took an online course and the book self destructs.

    Fortunately, they allow you to print out exactly one copy.

     

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  53.  
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    John Gialluca, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    I really liked to digital format. I've used Barnes and Noble student. It was helpful to be able to carry my books around with me annotate and then export those annotations into a Word doc which I later used to quickly create presentations based on the notes that I had made. I've also been through classes where even masters level students did not read the material.

     

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  54.  
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    DCX2, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    When I use NoScript, the reported comments are shown uncollapsed. Temporarily turn off NoScript for this page and you'll see what I mean.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re:

    Use a real search program over multiple directories, get grep.

     

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  56.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    > I don't see the appeal of e book format for reference textbooks. It is an excellent format for novels and autobiographies but for reference books, paper is still king.

    I would have loved to have had all my case books on my iPad when I was in law school. Those things were like cinderblocks. I actually got back problems carrying around each days' textbooks in my backpack for three years. To have them all on an iPad would have been glorious. Not to mention, the search/annotation features that would come with it.

    Of course the downside is all the DRM and efforts to defeat the resale/return value that the publishers are putting into ebooks, but just as a general concept, e-texts would have been fantastic to have as far as I'm concerned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re:

    Further proof that the maximalists thinh that they should contro the copy in you brtain, each time you read you cretae a copy.:-(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re:

    > And my digital text will never fade or
    > fall apart at the spine. I can't spill
    > something on my digital text, either.

    But the publisher can make it disappear after six months with stroke of a key.

    That's the problem with e-texts. The concept is wonderful. The current implementation blows.

     

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  59.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Made up

    The speculations seem within the realm of reason to me.

    I agree with that. I'm not saying they're unreasonable, I'm saying they're not supported with any references to anything. I know this isn't a news site, but it helps being taken seriously if an article is backed up with references to facts. "See, here are three examples of this kind of thing happening before, which is why I think it will happen again." Much more convincing than "I can imagine bad things happening".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes. My daughter is in college and the total cost of her books almost matches her tuition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    In Soviet Russia

    In Soviet Russia, books read you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: No, shows lackwits ignorant of the drawbacks.

    Two common traits of schizophrenics are intelligence and moments of lucidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    Sorry for off topic, but i think everyone should see this....the consequences of a war of aggression

    Israeli Soldiers Arrest a Mother in Front of Her Children 'Distressing'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqDu-wTVRS8
    14 Nov 2012

    If you search in google video
    " israeli soldiers arrest a mother in front of "

    You get this, or at least i get this, two listings of the above video
    http://www.imgur.com/C5F01.png

    If you click the first video you get this
    http://www.imgur.com/cYS2c.png
    " The youtube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third party notifications of copyright infringement"

    Did the user infringe, with another video?
    Did the news company take down the video?
    Should'nt a video like this be protected?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    Sorry, search on google NOT google "video"
    If you search in google video
    " israeli soldiers arrest a mother in front of "

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re:

    I understand what you and others are saying about NoScript, but the thing is that I always block everything on this page and never had issues until about yesterday (which was when I began noticing the problem, but I assumed it was a temporary bug).

    I will try this on a different machine later on, and raise the issue again if it becomes relevant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    apparently! ! !
    you've pushed the button so forcefully, it not only posted thrice, but forced a couple more as A non-mouse ! ! !

    the pecs are strong with this one!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re:

    This a thousand times.

    It's so much easier for information literate people to learn what they need to know via a text searchable and bookmarkable source instead of spending a lot of time flipping through the reference material looking for where a particular topic is covered or trying to remember which page you saw it on previously. The table of contents isn't often specific enough and the index in the back can be 50 pages long depending on the text.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
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    Danny (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    As someone who actually teaches with this technology

    I teach all levels of college. We don't have smart ebooks as described here, but we do have capabilities in our learning management system (Desire2Learn) to do much of what is suggested by Glyn's post. It contains a plagiarism detection system, and--if I am careful in how I embed reading assignments directly into D2L content, I can get a report of how long the student was engaged with the content (though I don't know how focused they were during that engagements period--a student who knows this meter is there and wants to game the system can do so.)

    The issue is not whether or not to build these tools; rather the issue is how we use these tools to enhance education. Most of us agree that tools should not be prohibited simply because they can be misused--as almost any tool can be misused. Rather, policy, ethics, and teacher education should suggest constructive use of tools to enhance education.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    PT (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Damn you, Neal Stephenson

    Bring it on, I say. There's a wonderful opportunity here for a killer app (patent pending) that automatically turns pages and makes cross-reference notes while the owner eats, drinks and sleeps. Great scores all round, $$$ for me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    It would never happen, the Profit is in ebooks priced at the same or higher level than the paperbacks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not my eBooks, they can't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Damn you, Neal Stephenson

    True. Also, Snow Crash already describes how to fool the system manually.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re: As someone who actually teaches with this technology

    The issue is not whether or not to build these tools; rather the issue is how we use these tools to enhance education.


    There's a more fundamental issue that has to be addressed before we even get that far: trust. Schools have shown themselves to be untrustworthy in their use of tools that can be easily misused. Until and unless that trust can be restored, I object to giving them even more tools that can be easily misused.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    So if small amounts of time spent reading is used as an indicator of cheating, wouldn't that penalize the students with faster reading speeds and higher comprehension levels?

    While above average in IQ, I'm not spectacular. But one of my talents is page-at-a-glance reading speeds, in excess of 1800 WPM. Would I flunk e-textbook courses due to my "cheating"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well you can like I highlight the censored comment and view the source to read it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re: As someone who actually teaches with this technology

    Unfortunately this is not how it works in real life. To create the trustworthy thing you must ignore a lot of crap before it becomes true, that means having to trust blindly for a period of time.

    But I do agree with you, schools don't need more ways to abuse students these days.

    Now what this shows is that there is a cultural problem inside society, those abusive people don't come to be there because they were nurtured in an environment that loathed that behavior they came to be because at some corner of society or even ourselves allow this to happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:30pm

    This adds a new level to the creepy voyeur scumbag definition

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    great, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:08pm

    Oh Great.

    Yet another thing that students will have to game in order to try to extract actual information from the "education" system. It is the saddest thing in our lives that schools have gone the way of corporations. We are just pawns to tracks like animals and extract the maximum value from. Screw you all. Aren't you tired of being the bad guys?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    tamm, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:11pm

    saddness

    This makes me sad on so many levels. Why do you hate your children, America?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    icon
    Brent (profile), Nov 20th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    A surprisingly small number of people opposed this 'technology' directly but I see it having HUGE drawbacks that make it unusable. First, buying a textbook for a class should not ever be required. Second, even if everyone did buy it, two people could read together, especially with digital technology, they could put it on a big screen and read the pages at the same time which would only show 1 student's work and not the other(s). Third, I had a good friend in college who was not too far below that off the charts genius level who didn't have to read very much (or do much of anything) to get straight As all four years. How would this technology account for the rare cases like him?

    This is yet another example of colleges trying to leverage technology to 'enforce learning' but that is completely contradictory to higher education You can't force adults to learn, if they don't want to learn, they should not be in college. If 'college' is seen as 'required' then it should actually be required...

    I'm all for higher education but its not for everyone. A lot of what is taught in college should be taught in high school, that's where changes need to be made - not spying on students to enforce homework (that's what parents are for - in high school).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 7:27pm

    Such a tatle-tale device can easily defeated with a firewall. Once you load the Ebook into your PC, one could simply what IP adress range it reports back to, and then block it with a firewall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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