I remember taking those dreadful literature classes at university where the instructor required us to read huge books and participate in class discussions. I would always hit up CliffsNotes instead, and somehow I pulled that off almost every time. The days of cramming for a test at the last minute, or cutting corners when it comes to class reading could soon be over. Now there is a new digital reading tool which allows teachers to check up on details pertaining to your study habits.
It’s already being used at Texas A&M University. I can’t decide if I think this is a good idea, or if it’s an invasion of privacy. I guess that depends on whether you look at it from the student or the teacher perspective. This digital reading tool and tracker is part of CourseSmart, a Silicon Valley tech startup owned by major publishers. CourseSmart provides eTextbooks which cost up to 60% less than regular printed textbooks. In addition to that, they provide this digital reading tracker for teachers to use to monitor students’ study habits.
The data collected will not only help the teachers, but it will also be used by publishers and authors as feedback to improve future eTextbooks. This digital reading tracker lets teachers know what exactly you are studying, how long you are studying, which sections you’ve skipped, which sections you spent more time on and what time of day you studied it all. It’s like having your teacher right there with you looking over your shoulder. Yikes, I don’t think I would like that. I would love to talk to some of the students at Texas A&M University who are currently being tracked this way to get their opinion about it. You can read more about this here on the NY Times.
CourseSmart: eTextbooks & Digital Reading Tracker