June 29

Favored format: sifting through textbook options

This is the first subject that I am doing in this course that has a textbook prescribed. It looks as though that textbook will be thoroughly used, too; the schedule lists every chapter (as far as I could tell) in the weekly readings columns.

There were four reasonable options open to me regarding textbook access:
1. Do my readings by accessing the digital version of the text available through the CSU library.
2. Borrow a hard copy version of the text from the CSU library.
3. Purchase a second-hand copy of either the most recent or previous version of the text.
4. Purchase a new copy of one of the acceptable editions of the text.

I did my readings for the first two subjects in this course almost entirely in digital format. In light of some of the research that indicates that we process and regulate study behaviours around on-screen reading differently to on-paper reading (Ackerman & Goldsmith, 2011), and especially findings that suggest that comprehension can suffer with on-screen reading (Mangan as reported in Grothaus, 2017), I was keen to have such a crucial element of this subject as a hard copy print text. I may keep the digital version as a backup functionality and download select pdfs of passages that I think I am likely to want to refer to in assignments and store them somewhere with the capacity for in-document searching.

This left me with the three print version options. Because I like to highlight and make in-text notes, I opted for purchase rather than borrowing from the library. Adding to this decision was the consideration that if I want to engage in research in the future, I might like to retain my copy of the textbook for future reference.

Two main considerations weighed in on my ultimate decision to purchase a new copy of the most recent edition. The first consideration was logistical and pragmatic – my budget could accommodate the cost of a new book and ordering from a recognised professional outlet (I used Book Depository) is simpler and less risky than conducting a transaction with a private seller. The second consideration was more aesthetic, I suppose. As I mentioned before I like to engage with textbooks by highlighting and taking margin notes. This is a record of my prioritisation of information and my thinking processes. I wanted to avoid either having my thoughts directed by someone else’s previous interaction with the text or encountering cluttering or confusion where my choices differed from those of the previous owner.

photo of textbook cover

I will try to reflect later in the session on the comparison between my engagement with the print version of this text and my digital readings in the rest of the subject. For now, I have received my book and started marking my journey through it. Best of luck to all of those sharing this journey with me – I’d love to know which textbook option you decided on and how it is working out for you!

photo of open and highlighted textbook


Ackerman, R., & Goldsmith, M. (2011). Metacognitive regulation of text learning: on screen versus on paper. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17(1), 18-32. doi: 10.1037/a0022086.

Grothaus, M. (2017). This is how the way you read impacts your memory and productivity. Retrieved from Fast Company website: https://www.fastcompany.com/40476984/this-is-how-the-way-you-read-impacts-your-memory-and-productivity.

Edited 30/6/18 to change phrasing in paragraph 3.

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Posted June 29, 2018 by marikamum in category EER500, Online Learning

About the Author

Just another CSU MEdTL student creating a blog. When not studying, I write, teach and live with my husband and two high school children and our black Labrador retriever somewhere on the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

2 thoughts on “Favored format: sifting through textbook options

    1. marikamum (Post author)

      How are you feeling about comprehension with online reading – do you think there are parts of the text that you will want to convert to PDF and print to boost comprehension levels? Or are you not noticing a differential in comprehension between online and print readings?

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