So there’s a new brand of e-book out there, and it has an NSA-like flavor: an e-reader that tracks what students have read.
From a recent NYT article, “They know when students are skipping pages, failing to highlight significant passages, not bothering to take notes — or simply not opening the book at all.”
They know this due to a new startup called CourseSmart, which is apparently owned by several major players in the publishing industry and who, in the words of the article, “see an opportunity to cement their dominance in digital textbooks by offering administrators and faculty a constant stream of data about how students are doing.”
The cynic in me looks at the url for CourseSmart (http://www.coursesmart.com/), and doesn’t read “Course Smart”, but rather “Courses Mart”, and thinks that the e-publishers are mainly interested in this as a way to increase their revenue stream. I’m skeptical that having electronic eyes on our students will do much in the way of encouraging students to learn.
At any rate, rest assured that Active Calculus remains free. And without tracking software. Students can read it or not read it. No database will report either way.
BTW, if you do read the NYT article at the link above, don’t miss the last two sentences. Classic.