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Lynda Davies
10 June 2010

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Lynda Davies
9:50am 10 June 2010 (Edited 10:59am 16 July 2010)

Comments from Doug Clow can be viewed via the link below:
It was very informative, but a bit lacking on any steer as to how the OU is really going to tackle these issues. Is it really just going to sit and wait and see? It was useful to get some contact names though as we are looking seriously at developing some eBooks.


Kate Bradshaw (Science Deanery)
It was a very good session. I couldn't stay until the end. I liked the panel format and the variety of perspectives that were brought up: much better than having just one speaker. The contributions were insightful and stimulating. One of the presentations was quite repetitive.  It would have been useful if each speaker spoke for the same amount of time. It would also have been useful if each speaker proposed one or two Qs/challenges/aspects to think about at the end of their presentation. 

Overall a great session.

Thanks & kind regards

Shailey Minocha (MCT)
Very useful event. Good, clear speakers and good range of people in the panel. On the basis of the TCM panel advice, I've decided not to buy an ebook reader for a couple of years - will wait till the technology improves and the price comes down!

best wishes

Maria Leedham (FELS)
This coffee morning was really useful to get an overview of the topic area.  It was interesting that the lack of Powerpoint presentation in no way impeded what I learned from the presentation.  I enjoyed listening to the different perspectives each Panel member had to offer and thought this presentation approach would be useful for future IET coffee mornings; it provided a broad overview of the development of e-books and the technology required for them to function effectively for OU students.
One and a half hours is quite long though; a max of 1hr 15mins would be better as we are all time-precious!
Jan Jones (IET)
I did enjoy the session yesterday, however I was very struck/surprised at the ‘liteness’ of some of the content eg.
1. No definition of ebooks to contextualise the discussion and (surprise, surprise) the experience of disabled students had not registered on the ‘radar’.

2. That our (OU in general and researchers in particular) thinking and the results presented seem to have been defined by the available products and our print-based methodology to course design and we weren’t thinking ‘out of the box’ re. learning/teaching design for ebook presentation.

Sorry if this is a bit ‘negative/critical’, but it was a stimulating session.

Robin Stenham (Student Services)
It was a very interesting session, and obviously a popular topic – thank you for organising it.

It would have been good to have had some photos of ebook readers projected onto the screens behind the panel.  Some people there may not have been familiar with ebook readers and it would have helped to have illustrated the variety available by having actual pictures or even several examples from the Digilab on display.
The panel members should all have had microphones; this was especially necessary at the beginning when people were still coming in and chairs were being brought in and moved.  It was hard to hear some of the quietly spoken panel members.

The panel should all have had a chance to say their piece before questions from the floor were brought in.  I found that some panel members didn’t get a chance to say their bit, as the discussion wandered over some of what they had prepared to say, and I had to leave (to give a lab tour) just as the second last panel member (Rhodri) was being given his chance, I didn’t hear one of the library people at all, which I regret.

Best wishes

Anna Page (IET)
Thanks for this session - very interesting. I worry a bit that the technology is driving the innovation, rather than us planning the innovation for it to be suitable for the technology. In particular the idea that anyone would want to read large amounts of technical material on a small screen seems ultimately wrong to me.
I think there are natural form factors tested by time - book size for books (they fit in your hands), laptop for portable computing (they fit on your lap) and phone size for talking (they fit between your ear and your mouth) being key ones. Ignoring these human factors seems a bad idea. These things are the sizes they are because they fit their purpose and bending them to another that belongs traditionally on a different form factor is a bad idea. (So, e.g., resizable tables or ability to drop a column from a table - it's trying to make the material fit the device rather than trying to make material that suits the device and how we use it. It's fine to have a few slides and some audio to support a tough topic on a mobile e.g., but mobiles are not for a chapter of dense and hard stuff, in my opinion.)

Also open standards - very important; and accessibility very worrying from a DDA point of view and the point of view of providing equal offerings to differently abled people.

Anton Dil (MCT)

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