Developing an e-reader and e-publishing model for flexible and open learning on a distance learning LLB programme
This paper describes a research project exploring the use of eBooks and e-readers for the delivery of learning materials and activities on a distance learning LLB course. The project aimed to discover whether an e-publishing platform, comprising e-reader and e-content, represented an effective delivery method for legal study materials that can enhance the student learning experience and influence their expectations and approaches to their studies. The project situated itself at the intersection of three powerful forces: first, the increasing interest in the use of digital eBook formats by the publishing community; second, the appetite for the use of e-reader devices and eContent for learning and teaching; third, the explosion in the range and availability of mobile internet devices such as e-readers and tablets. A controlled pilot was carried out with four groups of distance learning students located in Kenya, Singapore, UK and Germany. All of the students received a Kobo e-reader device and ePub versions of material that had previously been supplied in hardcopy, this included study guides and associated text books commissioned from mainstream publishing houses. The use of the devices and the eContent were evaluated over a six month period and the paper describes the results from questionnaires and focus groups that revealed the four dimensions of interest: device usability and functionality; user context and behaviour; the affordances of epub formats; the impact on learning and teaching. The effectiveness of the e-publishing model that was established between the University of London International Programmes, publishing houses and the e-reader device manufacturer Kobo is described alongside the impact on the changing role of traditional publishers, teachers, and librarians.