Shifting Students Financial Responsibilities From Textbooks To Laboratory Resources
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Shifting Students Financial Responsibilities From Textbooks To Laboratory Resources






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Shifting Students Financial Responsibilities From Textbooks To Laboratory Resources Shifting Students Financial Responsibilities From Textbooks To Laboratory Resources Presentation Transcript

  • Shifting Students' Financial Responsibilities From Textbooks to Laboratory Resources David Tarnoff East Tennessee State University
  • Benefits of Laboratory Experience
    • Enhance lecture material
    • Expose students to professional practices
    • Give students tools that they can take with them into their career
  • The Need
    • Laboratory-based courses need equipment
    • Equipment must be current
    • Hard to keep up with:
      • shifting fiscal responsibilities
      • rapidly changing technology
      • limited laboratory time
  • Methods for Funding Laboratories
    • The most robust laboratory solutions will include a combination of the following:
      • Laboratory grants
      • Industry-sponsored programs such as MSDN Academic Alliance and Parallax "Board of Education"
      • University driven technology fee
      • Legacy equipment
      • Students purchase their own equipment
  • Benefits of Student Purchasing Hardware
    • Inexpensive hardware beginning to make it possible for students to purchase significant equipment
    • If student has his or her own equipment, there's no need to share equipment, i.e., the lab is in the same condition it was when they left it from last class period
    • Engineering programs have had success for years with students purchasing lab supplies
  • Problems with Students Purchasing Hardware
    • Getting students to purchase the right equipment in a timely fashion
    • Inconsistent hardware, especially if hardware is used across multiple courses
    • Troubleshooting student's equipment instead of department-owned equipment
    • Equipment is not treated well, e.g., carried around in a backpack
  • How can we ask students to pay more?
    • Outside of tuition, the largest expense for taking a course is typically the textbook
    • Rube indicates that students are spending an average of close to $900 per year on textbooks
    • Students have begun purchasing overseas editions of textbooks or trying to make due with older editions
    • Used books are often missing supplementary material such as CDROMs
  • Additional Motivation for Alternative to Textbooks
    • On-line courses benefit from on-line material
    • Exercises in books become stale or useless because of "database" of past student's work
    • On-line resources adapt more quickly to changes in technology than do print resources
  • Possible Textbook Alternatives
    • Electronic textbooks
    • On-line web notes
    • On-line references
    • Print on demand
    • Worksheets
    • Mass-published books
  • Electronic Textbooks
    • XHTML/CSS Tutorial by David Adams & Kevin Floyd (
    • Computer Organization and Design Fundamentals by David Tarnoff (
    • Art of Assembly by Randall Hyde (
  • Electronic Versions of Existing Textbooks
    • For a portion of the cost of a hard copy book, publishers are making available electronic versions
      • Joint venture between O'Reilly, Addison Wesley, and Microsoft Press (
      • McGraw-Hill (
  • On-line Web Notes
    • Requires great effort on the part of the instructor
    • Not refereed or edited by third party
    • May simply be an electronic version of laboratory instructions
  • On-line References
    • Webopedia -
    • Wikipedia -
    • Whatis -
    • How Stuff Works -
    • Linux Documentation Project -
    • Devguru (web programming) -
    • ACM Digital Library -
    • IEEE Digital Library -
  • Print On Demand
    • New publishing technology that takes advantage of digital printing techniques making it possible to create a book, magazine, or calendar from existing material in a matter of minutes
    • Per-unit cost of POD is slightly higher and book is of slightly poorer quality than that of a larger run printed on an offset press
    • Can have runs of a single copy
    • Unlike "vanity press", there is no upfront fee
    • Author simply uploads book as an electronic file
    • Numerous other applications exist such as departmental documents or journals
  • P.O.D. Example
    • Book price based on a fixed cost for the binding and a per page printing cost
    • Lulu, Inc. ( has a fixed cost of $4.53 and a per-page cost of $0.02/page for a 9"  6" paper back in perfect binding
    • Example: a 200 page book
    • $4.53 + 200  $0.02 = $8.53
  • Worksheets
    • Tufte suggests that all of the information presented in a typical lecture can be presented with one well-designed 11"  17" sheet of paper folded to provide four 8.5"  11" pages
    • Due to greater resolution of a piece of paper relative to the typical slide-type presentation, far more information can be presented
    • Images with a resolution of 1200 dpi can be printed to paper
    • An 8½"  11" sheet of paper can present over 3,000 characters in a 12 point font
  • Worksheets (continued)
    • Students can use handouts to follow during the lecture and study for tests
    • Adobe Acrobat can be used to generate the PDF-formatted pages so that students can print them for use in class or refer to them later on-line
  • Worksheets (continued)
  • Worksheets (continued)
  • Support for Creating e-Texts
    • One of the benefits that has come with changes in technology is that individuals can create professional looking documents with little or no support
      • Portable Document Format (PDF) – Companies such as Adobe make the creation of e-texts as easy as printing
      • Print-on-Demand – Companies such as Lulu can take e-text and create single run printings for people who like traditional books
      • PDA Readers – Applications such as PalmReader, Adobe Reader, and Mobipocket allow users to read from PDAs
      • Reading devices – Companies such as Book Technologies provide not only the electronic text, but also the devices on which they are read
  • Drawbacks of the Technology
    • The price we pay for this technology may be reduced legitimacy, i.e., just because it looks good doesn't make it valid
    • A number of on-line services have in-house verification of material or depend on external review
    • It becomes the instructor's responsibility to verify source of information
  • Evolution of Author's On-Line Text
    • Problem: Could not find a suitable textbook
      • Incorrect target audience
      • No good match for desired topic list
    • Solution: Author developed supplemental web-based notes – large investment of time
    • Unexpected result: Students stopped buying textbook
    • Taking advantage of the situation: Began requiring students to purchase laboratory equipment in lieu of the textbook
  • Pilot Study
    • A pilot study was performed on a section of the author's computer organization course
      • 28 students participated
      • Sophomore-level course
      • Required course for majors in computer and information sciences
      • 3 non-majors
      • Addressed quality of text and media preferences
  • Results of Pilot Study: Do on-line or self published texts seem less legitimate?
  • Results of Pilot Study: Which media do you use?
  • Results of Pilot Study: What reasons do you have for selecting hard copy?
  • Results of Pilot Study: If you downloaded the textbook, do you also print textbook?
  • Results of Pilot Study: From what platform do you read?
  • Results of Pilot Study: What reasons do you have for selecting the electronic version?
  • Conclusion
    • It is important to put contemporary and reliable tools into the hands of our students
    • It usually requires additional effort on the part of the instructor to shift the student’s financial burden from textbooks to laboratory equipment
    • By taking advantage of on-line resources and print-on-demand technologies, instructors can realize improvements in laboratory technology, reliability, and effectiveness