Thursday, April 21, 2016

Course material

There seems to be more and more emphasis of having all the course material available on mobile devices. There are some advantages and disadvantages of having material available in that form.

  • Easy to carry around all the material instead of having to lug around textbooks especially if you are taking more than one course.
  • Environmentally friendly so it doesn’t mean all the paper is being used to print the textbooks that are out of date almost immediately after they are printed.
  • Can limit how the material is available through codes to open the pdf’s etc.
  • Copy notes can be added so that if you try to print a hard copy of the material there are restrictions on that.
  • Difficult to make notes on the pages if you want to add your own personal notes to material.
  • Not everyone has a mobile device so it means they are only able to see the material on their computer.
  • If you need your computer to do the exercises it is difficult to see the exercises if you only have the pdf version on your computer and don’t have a second device (tablet or monitor).
In some cases the material is nice to have in paper copy especially if you are one of those that likes making up the material. Recently we got a course and all the material was available as pdf’s and I knew that for me to learn the material and have it available for review that I would need to print out the material. This is when you really hope that you have a laser printer so that you can print everything without having to use up too much ink. The course material ended up to be around 1,500 pages so that was a lot of printing but a business grade laser printer and a bit of patience meant that I have the material that I can make up. The advantage of also having the pdf version of the material is I can read the material anywhere I am as I currently have it on my tablet as well as my computer.

The advantages and disadvantages are really dependent on the course and also the material. There are times that I enjoy having everything electronically and then there are times that I want the paper copy. It is nice when you have the ability to actually print the electronic version. I have heard that there are cases when you are unable to print the electronic version so that would make it harder for someone like me that likes making my own notes on the material as I do through it especially when I need to study for an exam.

Next time you sign up for a course remember that you may only be getting electronic versions of the material. How you handle the material is up to you and there will be times when the electronic version is great and then there may be times when the electronic version may be difficult.

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