Seminary students -- Would you go electronic with a textbook?

Page 1 of 3 (44 items) 1 2 3 Next >
This post has 43 Replies | 1 Follower

Posts 111
Keith Gant | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Apr 21 2010 8:57 PM

I am 100% sold on the advantages of the electronic format (specifically Logos) over printed books. I've invested a lot in my Logos library and have ceased adding to my printed library. In some upcoming seminary courses some of the required textbooks are available in Logos as well as in print, and I do have a bit of uneasiness about going electronic here. When I have to know and be tested on a 400 page book cover to cover, I'm just wondering if mentally I can retain the material as well as with a book where each line always falls on the left or right side, at the same spot on the page, every time I open it. I'd love to hear any thoughts, suggestions, and experiences from others.

Posts 19123
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 9:03 PM

I'm like you; I retain material sometimes based on where on the page it falls. But I also use all kinds of other methods to help me retain material: underlining, highlighting, writing notes in the margins, summarizing, reviewing my underlined/highlighted portions and notes, etc. All of these latter are available to you in Logos. And you can ensure that the text always starts at the same place on the margin every time you open the book by using a fixed reading layout, such as the one I use for reading and studying heavy theological books. I described it recently over on this thread: http://community.logos.com/forums/p/15881/120533.aspx#120533

Posts 19123
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 9:06 PM

Mind you, I'm finding that reading a book through thoroughly in Logos is slower than reading it thoroughly in print. Logos just takes a while to scroll and apply highlighting and switch between panes and such, and so far that is the thing that's bogging me down, not my own thought processes. I'm still willing to give it a try (I'm reading something this way for the first time now -- N.T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God) because of the benefit of being able to search later through my notes. I expect Logos will continue to improve the performance as they work on optimization over the next couple of months.

Posts 1537
Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 9:07 PM

Text to speech support in Logos is an additional benifit for retention. I am more of an audio learner myself, so sitting in class is benificial to me. While I am not in class being able to read and have the book read to me while I am reading helps me with retention. Discussing the topic with fellow believers also helps with retention. For that Christian forums come into play...

Blessings in Christ Jesus

Posts 111
Keith Gant | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 10:00 PM

Rosie Perera:

I'm like you; I retain material sometimes based on where on the page it falls. But I also use all kinds of other methods to help me retain material: underlining, highlighting, writing notes in the margins, summarizing, reviewing my underlined/highlighted portions and notes, etc. All of these latter are available to you in Logos. And you can ensure that the text always starts at the same place on the margin every time you open the book by using a fixed reading layout, such as the one I use for reading and studying heavy theological books. I described it recently over on this thread: http://community.logos.com/forums/p/15881/120533.aspx#120533

Rosie, having the text always start at the same place on the screen every time is a great idea when studying a resource as a textbook (and just the kind of suggestions I was hoping to get - Thanks!). I've used saved layouts a lot, but how do you ensure that a given sentence somewhere in the book will always fall at the very same place on the screen, even if you use a layout which never changes? I would think that that would require either 1) Moving to the very top of the book (or better, the top of the current chapter) and then doing page-down's to reach the desired spot, or 2) never ever scrolling through the book by line or any other way other than page-down's, to keep it from getting off track. Is there some feature that I've missed which can lock the text to the same place on the screen every time you return to that piece of text? (Since books are tagged with the page numbers from the print edition, it would certainly be possible to have a feature which would do something like forcing the word at the top of each printed page to align to the top of the Logos screen.)

Posts 19123
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 10:28 PM

Keith Gant:

Rosie, having the text always start at the same place on the screen every time is a great idea when studying a resource as a textbook (and just the kind of suggestions I was hoping to get - Thanks!). I've used saved layouts a lot, but how do you ensure that a given sentence somewhere in the book will always fall at the very same place on the screen, even if you use a layout which never changes? I would think that that would require either 1) Moving to the very top of the book (or better, the top of the current chapter) and then doing page-down's to reach the desired spot, or 2) never ever scrolling through the book by line or any other way other than page-down's, to keep it from getting off track. Is there some feature that I've missed which can lock the text to the same place on the screen every time you return to that piece of text? (Since books are tagged with the page numbers from the print edition, it would certainly be possible to have a feature which would do something like forcing the word at the top of each printed page to align to the top of the Logos screen.)

Well, I was thinking more in terms of ensuring that the line-wrapping will always be the same because the width of the window is fixed in the layout. This will ensure that the words always appear in the same relative place horizontally. But you have a good point. Ensuring that the line always appears at the same place on the screen vertically as well would be helpful. You can always navigate to the beginning of a chapter (by opening the Table of Contents panel; click on the double chevron icon >> at the top of the panel) before starting to read that chapter, and then always use the PageDown key to scroll so that you're ensured to scroll the same amount each time, instead of sometimes using the scroll bar. Now that I read through your complete post more carefully, I see that those are precisely the ideas you had come up with. I don't know of any other way. Over time I've grown comfortable with reading text online and not having it have to be always in the same place on the page each time I encounter it. I haven't tested myself for retention yet, though. Smile

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 11:29 PM

Presently I am completing a theology degree other than an M. Div.   I am not convinced that an electronic format is superior to paper in either ease of use or long term storage viability in place of a regular library.   Classroom dynamics may, at times, limit the ability to use electronic formatted books due to the present level of technology.  However, for other abled individuals electronic books maybe an aid make learning easier through such abilities as font size changes.  In the end I appreciate the freedom to read what I want in hardback instead of relying on Logos (or anyone else) to determine that Tillich is far too liberal for their "library".

Posts 1955
Donovan R. Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 11:35 PM

I already am in many cases uses electronic textbooks due to my circumstances. What will probably sell me on the concept is whether or not reading them on an iPad is a good experience.  I will most likely wait until generation 2 of the iPad is out, but it is something I am interested to try.

Posts 19123
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 12:01 AM

ReneAtchley:

I appreciate the freedom to read what I want in hardback instead of relying on Logos (or anyone else) to determine that Tillich is far too liberal for their "library".

I know this wasn't the main point of your post, but Logos does have some Tillich (a small amount) in this collection: http://www.logos.com/products/details/2834 and this one: http://www.logos.com/products/details/5608

Posts 4508
Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 3:18 AM

One thing that might help in this regard (locking the text in a specific spot) is if there was an option to ONLY move page by page...ala Kindle.

Not the best solution but it would help...

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 149
David A. Peterson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 3:23 AM

I am a distance seminary student, and prefer electronic over textbook when ever I can.  The clippings function aids me in highlighting important parts of the text, and add my own perspective, without trying to fit my nasty handwriting into a small margin.  Being able to have the entire semester's worth of books with me if I am deployed or on travel is a big bonus as well.  The final advantage that I really appreciate is being able to search it, with the rest of my library (especially the theological journals) to be able to compare and contrast views other than the textbook authors.  As I have said before, it really allows me to spend more of my finite time for studies absorbing and processing the information instead of the hunting and gathering process.

But that is the view of a self-admitted Logosite (as I drink my coffee in my Logos cup, wearing my BRIGHT blue Logos 4 shirt).

In Christ,

Dave

Posts 3810
spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 3:50 AM

Rosie Perera:
I'm like you; I retain material sometimes based on where on the page it falls

An excellent point you guys are making. Perhaps that is why I so often prefer my paper Bible, finding the verse seems easier because I know where on the page that verse lies...its easier to visualize the passage in my head from the paper Bible then the computer.

I'm not sure how and if Logos can compensate for this advantage. It would be foolish to say that all the other advantages of the electronic format are negated because of this one advantage for paper, though.

Posts 2744
Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 4:23 AM

I am using highlighting a lot and than you can go through your highlighted places to get to the information. One more thing I do is to copy paragraphs or sentences I think I might use in the further work to a particular clippings file. I really like that feature of Logos 4. We need both, highlighting and clippings (and notes may be) in the iPhone/iPad Logos. I have been traveling recently, spending quite a lot of time at the airports (do I have to explain the reason? Smile ) and iPhone is great for reading books, iPad might be even better.

Bohuslav

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 4:43 AM

Rosie Perera:

ReneAtchley:

I appreciate the freedom to read what I want in hardback instead of relying on Logos (or anyone else) to determine that Tillich is far too liberal for their "library".

I know this wasn't the main point of your post, but Logos does have some Tillich (a small amount) in this collection: http://www.logos.com/products/details/2834 and this one: http://www.logos.com/products/details/5608

Thanks for pointing out these resources Rosie...

 

 

Posts 88
Nancy A. Almodovar | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 5:15 AM

I am a distance learner (earned my BA and MA in Theology at Trinity Theo Sem in Newburgh and currently working on my PhD in a British hybrid program with Canterbury) and LOVE Logos.  The one drawback with ordering all my textbooks with Logos is that, quite frankly, some of them I don't want to retain in my library once the course is completed.  With hard copies I can sell them back or on Amazon and get a portion of my investment back to purchase new books.  Some books I want to keep, so those I look and see if Logos has them.  If they do, I order them for the electronic library.  But, even if Logos has them and I know I'm not going to want to keep them after a specific course, then I'll buy the hard copy and resell them when I've finished with them.

 

Nancy

Posts 23

As a recent seminary grad, I have found using the e-book format as helpful as a traditional book. If I liked the paragraph, I often would highlight, add a clipping or put in a favorite folder. However, I in order to review, the material, I made index cards to review.

Posts 421
Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 5:46 AM

Keith Gant:
I've used saved layouts a lot, but how do you ensure that a given sentence somewhere in the book will always fall at the very same place on the screen,

Have you tried Copy Location as URL? 

1. Position the resource at the point in the content that you want to save.

2. Use the big icon in the upper left corner of your resource window to pull down the menu and select Copy Location as URL.

3. Paste the URL into your notes.

4. To return to the location in the resource, paste the URL into the Command Box.

Posts 320
John Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 6:06 AM

As has already been mentioned, an actual book gives you some physical orientation as to "where you are" in the book that an electronic book lacks. Even though electronic books allows you to search the text, it's much much easier for me to remember where something is in a physical book that I've already read.

Even if I don't remember the page number or the chapter, I can virtually always remember whether it was in the first 1/3rd of the book or 2/3rds into it or in the last 1/3rd. While I'm able to do this to a lesser degree with electronic books, it's not possible to get as precise an orientation. Electronic books might be able to compensate for this by having the different third portions of the book shaded lighter or darker.

Also, I can flip through pages quickly while skimming the text to help re-orient myself and find what I was looking for. I haven't been able to do this with electronic books. Scrolling or paging down is slower and will probably always be slower than I can thumb through a page to look at headings and paragraphs. For one thing, there is no choppiness (or my brain smooths out the choppiness) as there is when scrolling or changing pages in an electronic book. 

The one advantage electronic books seem to have in this area is the search function. But this feature really only seems useful when you know the exact phrasing of a large portion of the text you are looking for or when you are looking for something in a book or books that you haven't read yet.

For example, last night I was looking for a passage in a book I had read that discussed the psychological pressures of self-deception that accompany being a professor at a Christian institution. I couldn't remember any of the exact phrases the author used, so the ability to "search" would have been virtually useless. Of course, I remembered individual words like "college" and "deceive" and "pressure," but those were words that occurred hundreds of time throughout the entire book. It would have taken a long time to sift through each instance. Luckily, this was a book I owned in print form and I was able to find the passage in under a minute, even though I only had a vague idea of what exactly the author said and a vague idea of where it was (in the first 1/3rd of the book). From my own experience, I know that it would have taken much longer to find that passage in an electronic format. 

Because of this, I've come to believe that electronic books are only advantageous at the practical level for works like commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, journals or works that span several volumes. Beyond this, a print book still has the advantage at the practical level. Of course, theoretically a book on the kindle might be lighter and take up less space. But the average book size isn't so heavy and so large that you can't carry it around with you (people have been doing it for a long time without any trouble). And I've never been in a situation where I thought "Aw rats, I wish I had 300 books on me right now!" So this "advantage" is negligible in my opinion and the print book is still has the advantage at the practical level.

When electronic books have a better "fuzzy" search function that finds word synonyms and is able to ignore word order at some intelligent level, and when DRM is not as ridiculous and we don't have to worry about whether we will still be able to access our electronic book in ten years then I would buy all my books in electronic format. Until then I'll stick with print books for the most part since they allow me to do my work more efficiently. 

By the way, this is an opinion that I've come to just over the last several months after using Logos, Kindle for PC, the iPod Touch, the Barnes and Noble electronic reader, and the Adobe Digital Editions reader extensively. At this point, I'm sorry that I spent as much money on electronic books as I did. They would be much more useful to me in print format and I've considered that it might be worth paying for the item twice just to have a print edition.

perspectivelyspeaking.wordpress.com

Posts 2867
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 7:08 AM

"And I've never been in a situation where I thought 'Aw rats, I wish I had 300 books on me right now!'" 

I have.  Almost every time I travel, which is often.

For me electronic books are not always better than paper.  I do think for commentaries, language tools, Bible Dictionaries, and large collections such as Spurgeon's sermons, Wesley's Works, and the Church Fathers that the electronic form is far superior - especially in Logos.

On the other hand, I think for any book that I intend to read from cover to cover, as well as for most theological books, I prefer paper.  I probably would not buy classroom books in electronic format.

Everyone is different.  We all have individual study habits.  Go with what works for you.  I would hope no one feels a need to "defend" Logos or paper books - nor the need to criticize the other.


"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 456
Roger Feenstra | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 22 2010 7:46 AM

Previously, I didn't think reading a textbook, commentary, (or narrative for that matter) electronically would work for me.  I like the feel of the book.  I enjoy highlighter in hand and pencil at the ready.  And, I will probably always enjoy that aspect of reading. Yet, since reading with my iPod Touch (and on April 30th, iPad). I find it very difficult to pick up or buy a paper bound book.  True, while I cannot highlight in Logos on iPod/iPad, it is very easy to bookmark a page (or make it a favorite) and find it later. I like that the book is always with me.  I can access the textbook or commentary I am reading at anytime. And it's just going to get better--and easier.  

In a few years we won't be having this conversation.  But, as those have mentioned in other forums, it really is a matter of preference. 

Blessings,

Roger

Elder/Pastor, Hope Now Bible Church, Fresno CA

Page 1 of 3 (44 items) 1 2 3 Next > | RSS