Fall 2011

Tablets In? Kindles Out?

Research Day

As part of the Open University's march towards greater mobility and greater personalized customization, last year, the University conducted a trial program of specially designed electronic books, known as E-readers. The promising results from two courses, have led the University to expand the program; this time testing the viability of Tablets.

"We want to be able to compare the efficacy of the Tablets vs. the E-readers (Kindle-like hand-held devices) which we developed in conjunction with Bookware, a Tel Aviv based company that develops electronic book reader devices," explains Edna Tal Director of "Shoham" the Center of Integrating Technology in Distance Education.

The benefit of the Tablets is that students can access videos, participate in classes, and join chat forums.

But, at the end of the day, evaluating the efficacy of one technology vs. another is not about greater mobility or having more cutting edge technology. It's about "whether the students can easily use this and find it helpful for learning," Edna says. "This is a very big step the University is taking. Our long-term vision is that any student who enrolls at the University, will be able to download everything onto his own personal mobile unit." That is perhaps the ultimate step in bringing the University closer to the student.