Academic Technology Center
Teaching with Technology Collaboratory

Teaching with E-books

March 6, 2006

This year, Read an E-book Week takes place during the week of March 5-11. E-books are just what they sound like - electronic books. The e-book industry has grown significantly over the last few years, and continues to expand. E-books are available on a variety of topics, from dictionaries and reference materials to textbooks and novels. Many e-books are electronic versions of their paper counterparts, but some are exclusively electronic.

Electronic books can be read on a computer, laptop, or handheld device (like a Palm Pilot or Pocket PC.) E-books are available in a wide variety of formats, and are typically read with the Adobe or Microsoft e-book reader, which can be downloaded for free. Some handheld devices or publishers may require a specific reader which is typically downloaded from their web site.

The Gordon Library also maintains a collection of over 25,000 e-books that are not in the public domain. Depending on the collection, these e-books can be downloaded or read online from WPI computers or the proxy server. Some sites may require you to create an account, so be sure to read the details for each collection. The library's collection includes a variety of subjects including how-to books on popular desktop software (Books 24 X 7,) computer programming (Safari Techbooks, including popular O'Reilly titles) and engineering and math (EngNetBase and MathNetBase.) The ebrary and Netlibrary collections feature a wider variety of topics.

E-books are a great way to access material in a convenient format. Many e-books are searchable, unlike their paper counterparts, which can help save you time for research or reference. Depending on your subject area, using e-books in your courses may help save your students money, and some textbook publishers are beginning to offer electronic versions of their books at a reduced price. E-books are also a great way to self-publish for you and your students. If you are working on the Great American Novel in your spare time, or would like to have students create an e-book as part of a course assignment, e-books can be created relatively easily. If you are interested in using e-books in your teaching, contact

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Last modified: Mar 01, 2006, 15:28 EST
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