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Saturday, May 18, 2024

While some see electronic books streamlining education in the near future, some UF students and faculty are hesitant to digitize learning.

“I’m old-fashioned,” said Stacey Stiles, a 23-year-old history major. “I like to carry books with me, but it gets heavy.”

Stiles is one of many students who have used e-textbooks this year. She said she likes the convenience of having an e-textbook and even accesses them on her phone while she is in class, but it can be frustrating.

“If the Internet is slow, and I’m trying to access the book online, it takes forever,” she said.

Catherine Cavanaugh, an associate professor of education, has conducted research on blended and online education and encourages the incorporation of e-texts into the learning experience. 

“I’m not advocating for an automated course experience,” she said. “But society is moving toward e-texts, and it makes sense.”

But some desire a more hands-on learning experience, she said.

“People want as authentic a learning experience as is possible,” she said. “They want something very close to reality.”

Michelle Jacobs, a  professor at the Frederic G. Levin College of Law, said she believes that while technology offers great potential and opportunities to students, it can also serve as a distraction. 

“In a class of over 100 students it’s impossible to monitor how students are using the technology,” she said. “In the past, some students have even been caught looking at pornography in class.”

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