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Barnes & Noble separates its college business
February 28, 2015 | 11:20 am

bn.jpgBarnes & Noble announced it will separate its retail and e-book businesses from its college offering, making it a standalone company. Barnes & Noble Education will be come a separately publicly traded company in August, the company announced this week. With negative news surrounding B&N over the last couple of years due to its declining business with its store fronts and Nook division, the college segment has been a bright spot for the company seeing gains in revenue. Currently, B&N is working on a plan to expand its college bookstores to 1,000 units as part of a five-year plan. According to the Wall...

Don’t Go to Art School, Part 5: The Nearly-Free English Degree, Year Four
August 26, 2013 | 3:29 pm

schoolRead the entire "Don't Go to Art School" series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 * * * For year four of our Nearly-Free English Degree, we'll be covering contemporary times and other special topics. Each "course" below is worth one credit. Literary Theory and one of the In-Depth Study courses are compulsory; you'll need to pick two others, from at least two of the groups, and then pick three electives. One of these other electives can be another literature class from any of the categories for any year, but two of them should be non-English courses from the selections...

Textbook Piracy: Growing problem or reasonable solution?
August 23, 2013 | 6:59 pm

online learningCollege ended about 10 years ago for me. That wasn’t the dark ages of technology. We all had laptops and cell phones and constantly checked email. We all worried about the prices of textbooks too. Part of me wonders what it would be like if I went to college now. Colleges are starting their fall semesters right about now, and students are scrambling to find cheap versions of their textbooks for classes. These costs add up. College students find themselves spending hundreds of dollars just on books alone. I was lucky, and tended to read the books in the library or buy them...

Don’t Go to Art School, Part 4: The Nearly-Free English Degree, Year Three
August 23, 2013 | 1:36 pm

schoolRead the entire "Don't Go to Art School" series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 * * * For year three of our Nearly-Free English Degree, we'll be covering the Romantic through Post-Colonial times. Each "course" below is worth one credit. You'll need to pick three of them, from at least two of the groups, and then pick three electives. One of these other electives can be another literature class from any of the categories for any year, but two of them should be non-English courses from the selections I'll give you once we've covered the English ones. For each course, you'll follow the...

Don’t Go to Art School, Part 3: The Nearly-Free English Degree, Year Two
August 21, 2013 | 2:00 pm

schoolRead the entire "Don't Go to Art School" series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 * * * Welcome back! For Year Two of our Nearly-Free English Degree, we'll be covering the Old English through Renaissance times. Each "course" below is worth one credit. You'll need to pick three of them, for at least two of the groups, and then pick three electives. One of these other electives can be another literature class from any of the categories for any year, but two of them should be non-English courses from the selections that I'll give you once we've covered the English ones. For each...

Don’t Go to Art School, Part 2: The Nearly-Free English Degree, Year One
August 20, 2013 | 4:27 pm

schoolRead the entire "Don't Go to Art School" series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 * * * In the initial post of my new "Don't Go to Art School" series, I shared with you a great little blog post by an artist who exhorted his peers to skip an expensive art school degree, and to educate themselves, DIY-style. I promised to share with you a similar plan that would give you the equivalent in another curriculum area: the humanities. So, here we go: Part One of the "Nearly-Free English Degree." We'll be structuring this particular program using the same format I followed for...

Don’t Go to Art School, Part 1: The Opening Argument
August 17, 2013 | 6:42 pm

schoolRead the entire "Don't Go to Art School" series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 * * * A Facebook friend recently sent me a great little blog post. It's titled, "Don't Go to Art School," and here's an excerpt: "Artists are neither doctors nor lawyers. We do not, on average, make huge six-figure salaries. We can make livable salaries, certainly. Even comfortable salaries. But we ain’t usually making a quarter mil a year. Hate to break it to you. An online debt repayment calculator recommended a salary exceeding $400,000 in order to pay off a RISD education within 10 years. "Don’t do it. "Don’t start...

Online Learning with The University of Western Ontario, Part 3: Wrapping Up
July 31, 2013 | 8:20 pm

Today marked the last day of my online summer source. Hurray! I actually did find most of the content appropriate, interesting and useful. I need some time to digest a few things before I look, again, at my teaching plans for next year. But I do have a few quibbles with the format and structure of the online setup Western is using. In no particular order, my high points and low points are below. 1. Textbook vs. No Textbook I actually enjoyed not using a textbook this time around. I liked being able to open the "Content" tab and just click a link...

Is there more to the college textbook ‘bubble’ than meets the eye?
July 18, 2013 | 3:12 pm

textbooksOver at The Digital Reader, founding editor Nate Hoffelder posted some comments on a report from something called "The Book Industry Study Group," which shows an increase in "piracy" among college students. It isn't clear from the limited info Nate posted just how large the sample group was, how they were polled, or what other questions were asked of them. But I do have some experience in the different possibilities for what might be going on here, and it is far from a straight line between "textbook sales are declining" and "piracy is on the rise." I do agree with Nate that pricing...

On English Majors and Education
June 24, 2013 | 11:15 am

educationThanks to Mark Coker at Smashwords for first alerting me to this editorial in the New York Times, which has been making the social media rounds. The author, a former English major and now-teacher, laments that "the teaching of humanities has fallen on hard times." She attributes this to an increasingly career-focused future workforce that is reluctant to take on educational debt unless it's for a major that can lead directly to a career, and bemoans that many of the incoming students at her own university lack basic literacy and decent writing skills. I won't deny that there does seem to be a...

For more free textbooks, look at iTunes U
March 11, 2013 | 9:48 pm

free textbooksBy Dr. Frank Lowney This past weekend, Dr. Frank Lowney, an occasional TeleRead contributor, brought to our attention an online archive of free, Creative Commons licensed university textbooks known as the Flatworld Knowledge Book Archive. We heard from Dr. Lowney again yesterday; he told us that "another, larger source of free e-textbooks can actually be found on iTunes U. But that story, he said, is a bit more complicated." His explanation follows: Educational providers, such as institutions of higher education, can get a public iTunes U site from Apple at zero cost. Those public sites contain both "collections" and "courses." A collection can...

A legitimate archive of free textbooks
March 9, 2013 | 4:19 pm

free textbooks I received an email earlier this week from Dr. Frank Lowney, an occasional TeleRead contributor, and the author of The Coming ePublishing Revolution in Higher Education. Dr. Lowney, who is professionally affiliated with Georgia College & State University, most definitely knows his stuff when it comes to college textbooks, and higher education in general. That's important to point out, because in his email, Dr. Lowney brought to my attention a fantastic online archive of entirely free, Creative Commons licensed textbooks. (That is to say, a completely legit archive.) And while I am familiar with the company that originally created the archive--they're known...

What’s Happening to College Bookstores?
February 27, 2013 | 10:56 pm

college bookstoresBy Dr. Frank Lowney I recently traveled to Kansas City, Mo., to attend the annual convention put on by the National Association of College Stores (NACS), and to participate in a panel discussion on the impact of emerging technologies upon the textbook business. The CAMpus market EXpo, or CAMEX, is billed as the “largest annual tradeshow and educational event in the collegiate retailing industry.” NACS represents nearly all U.S. college stores, but CAMEX is attended primarily by people who run campus-owned stores. Half of all college stores are campus-owned; the other half are outsourced operations such as eFollett. The experience firmed-up many of...

Meet Waterstones Academy, a college for booksellers
February 25, 2013 | 12:30 pm

Waterstones AcademyThe Bookseller recently published what appears to be a very interesting article about a sort of bookseller's university that Waterstones—the UK-based bookstore chain—plans to open at some point in the near-to-distant future. And I use the term "appears," by the way, because the article in question in available only to subscribers of the website's premium content, of which I am not one. Bummer. The article's abstract, at any rate, claims that Waterstones Academy, as the school will be known, will be an "industry first" in the UK. Students of the nine month-long program, which will be operated in partnership with the...

Colleges taking a team approach to etextbooks
July 9, 2012 | 9:46 am

Images That's the title of an article in eCampus News.  Here's part of it: Reining in exorbitant textbook costs is no longer a campus-by-campus venture: A unified approach, powered by EDUCAUSE and the Internet2 consortium’s NET+ cloud-based collaborative purchasing program, could make low-cost electronic textbooks available now, ed-tech leaders hope. Colleges experimenting with digital textbooks can take months—sometimes years—to negotiate with publishers before their school’s modest eBook program is introduced to students now paying upwards of $1,100 a year for books. This fall, campus technology leaders will closely track the results of an expansive eTextbook pilot program ranging across 28 campuses, creating what many in higher...

Reddit debunks Wikipedia-fooling college class hoax in 26 minutes
May 20, 2012 | 4:55 pm

hoax-emailsI wrote, a couple of April Fool’s Days ago, that the rash of fake stories on April 1 might serve as good practice for us to use all year ‘round in figuring out whether that story our friends emailed to us is true. It turns out that redditors—the denizens of news discussion forum site Reddit—have that ability in spades. The Atlantic recently posted an article about a college course professor T. Mills Kelly offers from time to time at George Mason University which tries to teach its students to become better at evaluating historical fact by creating historical...

Two Studies: British University Students Still Crave Print Over eBooks & US: Tablet Ownership, eReading, and Students
March 16, 2012 | 9:23 am

Infodocket From a BML Bowker Announcement: While the majority of the U.K.’s undergraduate students are now using e-books, none are yet relying on them as a primary source of information. Print continues its hold as a key resource for at least two-thirds of students. That’s one of the key findings of a major new study that explores student information sources in the digital world from the book research experts at BML, a Bowker business. The study was conducted in December 2011 and shows significant change since 2003 when BML conducted similar research. [Clip] Indeed, the study plots a variety of changes and pace at...

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