Posted by Rebecca Snyder
I can’t believe I am making my final blog post of this semester! I came into this semester not sure what to expect and I found that I was pleasantly surprised as I enjoyed the course content very much. It lent itself nicely to my current job – selling Pearls on Facebook Live videos. I felt an advantage as I read through the course materials and was able to remember much of the growth of technology over the last 20 years.
The final paper has been a challenge for me – mostly because I am not employed in the field of technical communications right now and I struggled to find a good topic that also interested me enough to write about for over 15 pages. I finally landed on the topic of student preferences for printed texts vs e-texts and why we should, as online students, choose to adapt regardless of our preference.
Here is the abstract of my paper:
As technology has advanced over the last 20 years, college students have found a world of opportunity at their fingertips via online courses that can lead to varying college degrees and online certifications. However, as students are entering, or returning to, college life through online courses, many are finding that the delivery of online course materials through Portable Document Formats (PDFs) and electronic textbooks (e-texts) does not fit their learning preference for printed textbooks. This paper discusses how universities have been driven to the e-text alternative due to costs and convenience, shares my personal struggle with e-texts as an online graduate student, details challenges that some college students enrolled in online courses may face with electronic delivery of reading materials, and reports previous research that suggests a general, overall student preference for printed texts over e-texts. It also evaluates the need for students to build the skill of adaptability and suggests ways that online college students can adapt to using e-texts without sacrificing their preferred learning style.
As I framed this paper, I had all intentions of discussing the disdain I had for e-texts and recommending that colleges consider students’ preference when assigning a text. Then I found this article: The Definition of Adaptability in the Workplace. It changed my entire way of thinking! According to author Neil Kokemuller, “Adaptability is a sought-after job skill as employers increasingly rely on flexible job descriptions and rotate employees into different roles. Your ability to adapt to changing situations and expectations makes you more valuable to a current or prospective employer. It also makes you more equipped for a variety of career opportunities…Adaptable workers find more employment and promotion opportunities because many people lack these critical skills” (Kokemuller, 2016).
Why do students attend college if not in order to best prepare for their future? College students can adapt to being assigned reading material from an e-text in online courses when that medium may not be their preference – and that will be GOOD for them! It is imperative that we, as students, realize that technology is not going to stop advancing. Our employers will not always cater to our preferences, so why should our universities? Being adaptable is a great quality in an employee and in a student!
Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change.
Thank you Dr. Pignetti for a wonderful course and for all of your help and feedback on my final paper. Thank you classmates for your responses throughout the semester to my blog posts and for such great discussions! Have a blessed and wonderful Holiday and I hope to see some of you in my next course for the MSTPC program in January (User Centered Research).