Newspaper article about DVD textbooks...

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Yah-E, May 1, 2002.

  1. Yah-E

    Yah-E Toof Sniper

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    DVDIGITAL BOOKBAG SEVEN DENTAL SCHOOLS OFFER FOUR YEARS OF TEXTS AND IMAGES ON A SINGLE DISC.
    Sun Sentinel; Fort Lauderdale; Mar 26, 2000; LISA GUERNSEY The New York Times;

    Abstract:
    Instead, each incoming student will be asked to purchase a DVD containing the entire curriculum -- textbooks, manuals and lecture slides -- for all four years of dental school. Each semester, students will trade the old DVD for an updated version. Creators of the technology estimate that the DVDs, each weighing less than an ounce, will replace more than 2 million pages, thousands of images and more than 400 pounds of books and manuals.

    Full Text:
    (Copyright 2000 by the Sun-Sentinel)

    Starting this fall, students at seven dental schools will be spared the strain of toting heavy textbooks to and from the library. They won't even need to go to the bookstore to buy a single textbook, workbook or laboratory manual.

    Instead, each incoming student will be asked to purchase a DVD containing the entire curriculum -- textbooks, manuals and lecture slides -- for all four years of dental school. Each semester, students will trade the old DVD for an updated version. Creators of the technology estimate that the DVDs, each weighing less than an ounce, will replace more than 2 million pages, thousands of images and more than 400 pounds of books and manuals.

    "It essentially provides all of the textbooks, all the course syllabi, all of the handouts and most of the images that faculty will be using throughout the entire curriculum from the first day of class," said Dr. Fred Moore, associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Dentistry at New York University, which is participating in the project.

    Educators and electronic publishers have talked for years about the advantages of creating digital replacements for heavy and often quickly outdated printed textbooks. But digital textbooks have been slow to appear, a lag that has been attributed to everything from technological limitations to publishers' fears of copyright infringements. Most students still buy printed textbooks, although many books now come with CD-ROMs that provide supplementary material.

    Books totally replaced

    The dental schools' use of DVDs is a sudden leap forward. Experts in textbook publishing say it is the first time that digital content has completely replaced books for all students in a school. And it is almost surely the first time that an institution of higher education has attempted to put an entire curriculum -- from handouts to manuals -- in one integrated electronic format for all four years of a degree program.

    Still, whether students will embrace an entirely digitized curriculum is an open question. Some digital-textbook experiments have shown that students facing a lot of reading prefer printed books, said Gary Shapiro, senior vice president for intellectual property at Follett, a company that manages college bookstores. Follett, for example, has conducted focus groups to test students' reactions to online or CD versions of textbooks. Based on the company's findings, Shapiro said, "It is unlikely that a student will sit in front of a computer and read a textbook."

    Price is another issue. Because the discs are designed to include four times as much material as students are typically asked to buy, the price for DVDs, or for other digital vehicles for presenting information -- will be anything but cheap.

    Developers say that a DVD with updates will cost roughly the same as the total for the books students are expected to buy now: $3,000 to $6,000, paid over time. And coordinators of the project acknowledge that students will have no choice but to buy all the books they might use in four years, instead of picking and choosing.

    Still, Wayne Loney, a third-year dental student who tested the concept, said he thought that students would accept the cost.

    Paying for convenience

    "You're paying for more convenience," said Loney, a student at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where the project originated. "If I had to leave for the weekend, all I had to do was just take my Powerbook and fire it up from wherever I was."

    The software's searching capabilities provided an even more important convenience, Loney said. "If I was looking for a piece of information, all I had to do was type it in, and the software would give me a list of every place that topic came up."

    Even images of microscope slides could be found with a simple search. "It was like we had a full-blown histology lab at our fingertips," he said.

    It was the integration of four years' worth of laboratory slides, textbook entries and professors' manuals that provided the impetus for adopting the DVD model, administrators and professors say.

    "The first year of school is basic science, and sometimes students fail to see the relevance of that to what they will need to know," said Pamela Jones, co-director of the project at the dental school at the University of Buffalo, which announced its participation two weeks ago.

    The other four participants are the dental schools of Boston University, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the University of Florida at Gainesville and the U.S. Navy Postgraduate Dental School.

    Some experts said that publishers of dental textbooks might be better situated than other textbook makers for a transition from print to digital. Because there are fewer than 10 publishers of dental textbooks, it may be easier for dental schools and software makers to agree on how to create digital textbooks, industry experts said.

    And the ease of searching digital information may be more appealing to dental students, who often use their textbooks as references to be read in short chunks instead of as continuous text, chapter by chapter.

    The structure of dental education also helps, administrators said. Within a school, dental students take virtually the same classes, are taught from the same books and are asked to read the same manuals and handouts. Each dental school will choose the books, handouts and slides that will appear on the DVD developed for that school.

    In addition to the curriculum DVD, students will have to buy a laptop with a DVD player. Most students, administrators say, will add the cost of the computers and the DVDs to their requests for financial aid.

    Part of the dental schools' strategy in making these purchases mandatory is to ensure that the computers and discs qualify for federal education loans, which cover only required materials.

    To further help with the costs of the laptops, the schools are talking with computer manufacturers to come up with four-year leasing programs.

    Meanwhile, a company called Vital Source Technologies has been digitizing hundreds of textbooks, manuals and professors' handouts to be included in the DVDs.

    The company, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., has also been negotiating with publishers on behalf of universities to license the books in electronic form. (It will not disclose the publishers' names until a formal announcement is made April 1, but representatives at the universities have said that most major dental textbook publishers are involved.)

    Clicking through pages

    The company's main contribution, however, is its technology. Dr. Todd Watkins, the founder of Vital Source, has developed software that will enable students to do several things with the same set of digitized materials. During an interview in his office recently, he demonstrated how it worked:

    Clicking on a title opens a window showcasing a book's cover. By clicking on each page, students can turn pages as if they were reading a printed book.

    Students will also be able to search for specific words as they appear in the table of contents of one book, the full text of one book or the full text of all books and images that are included on the DVD. They will also be able to create online bookshelves containing anything they wish to link together, like chapters from several books related to the same topic.

    For now, professors and administrators in the seven dental schools are eager to see how the DVDs will change the way members of next year's class absorb and understand what they have been taught.

    "Students will be taught more concepts and be given more strategies to access much broader sources of information," said Moore, of NYU. "This changes the whole paradigm for learning."
    -------------------------------------
    Remember, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health is also implementing DVD technology starting fall 2003 :cool:
     
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  3. gryffindor

    Dentist

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    This is a very outdated article now. My classmates and I have been using the VitalBook curriculum for two years and it is a far cry from what the people in this article predicted it to be. They really should write a follow-up article, but they can't, b/c almost none of their hopes and predictions came true and no one wants to read about failures.

    "Starting this fall, students at seven dental schools will be spared the strain of toting heavy textbooks to and from the library. They won't even need to go to the bookstore to buy a single textbook, workbook or laboratory manual."
    This is NOT what happened. Fall 2000, when we started this whole nonsense, most students in my class either bought Anatomy & Histology atlases or borrowed them from upperclassmen. You couldn't take notes on the manuals on the DVD; EVERYONE was printing out pages and pages (HUNDREDS OF PAGES) of lecture notes and bringing them to class. THe administration caved three months later and began provding lecture manuals and will do so until we graduate.

    Now, two years later, I HARDLY EVER use the 100+ textbooks on my VitalBook. THe way I see it, VitalBook is just another $1500 fee I have to pay to graduate dental school. We all study from the lecture notes and handouts given out in class. Some teachers post their current lectures on the school server and we print them out at the computer labs. NONE of my teachers use the lecture manuals they provided for VitalViewer. The only course I use the DVD for is Endodontics where our teacher has made an attempt to utilize 4 or 5 endo textbooks ont the DVD.

    For finals, I am studying a big binder full of notes and handouts and almost nothing from the DVD.

    Also, the schools that utilized the DVD this year were SUNY Buffalo, UT-San Antonio, New Jersey, and NYU. It was optional for Boston University's first year students (class of 2005). This option came about after the class of 2004 did some major complaining and expressed great dissatisfaction.

    I could go on for pages about this topic. If you've got questions, feel free to ask.
     
  4. Regina330

    Regina330 Senior Member

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    Yah-E,

    Do you happen to know the 7 schools that use the DVDs? I know that NYU and BU do, but I am curious who the others are?
     
  5. Regina330

    Regina330 Senior Member

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    Oh, nevermind.....i think griffin answered that while i was still reading yours :D
     
  6. Yah-E

    Yah-E Toof Sniper

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    Griffin,

    This article is mainly used for reference only and it is great to have your two years of experience input! I realized that this article is outdated, but it still provide pre-dents in this forum with some history on how this whole DVD textbooks had started and its original goals. As you have mentioned, I've heard numerous complaints about this new technology.

    To recap, these are the seven current dental schools using this technology:

    NYU
    BU
    UT-San Antonio
    New Jersey
    SUNY-Buffalo
    Univ. FL
    U.S. Navy Post-doctoral Dental School

    Arizona will join this group starting 2003. :cool:
     
  7. pakgirl

    pakgirl Member

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    I interviewed at UT-San Antonio and I know that they can only use MAC laptops and I think that is ridiculous for those like me who used a MAC back in high school!

    Otherwise, I think if you could highlight and take notes on the DVD textbooks (which I think the students at UT-San Antonio are now able to do) it would be nice.

    What do you do though if your computer crashes the night before a big exam??? Hmmm...something to think about!! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  8. sonigee

    sonigee Senior Member

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    Hey PakGirl..you can highlite and take notes w/the DVD system...just an FYI:)
     
  9. gryffindor

    Dentist

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    The info in the article is incorrect as of now.

    The schools that went with the VitalBook DVD curriculum in fall 2000 were:

    NYU
    Boston
    Buffalo
    San Antonio

    Buffalo and San Antonio required all freshmen to purchase G3 mac laptops and the DVD ($3500 + 1500). Boston first years had to buy an IBM and the DVD. At NYU, it was an optional thing for the freshmen. Less than 10 decided to buy it. That year there were two versions of the DVD curriculum - a Mac and a PC version. Boston had a lot of problems with the PC version b/c it hadn't really been tested out so students were complaining big time. San Antonio and Buffalo students complained as well and a few concessions were made.

    Fall 2001

    Boston
    NYU
    Buffalo
    San Antonio
    New Jersey

    At Boston, it was optional for the first years to buy the DVD curriculum. At the four other schools, it was mandatory for all incoming freshmen. VitalSource changed the format of the DVD and now the same DVD runs on both PC and Mac. This was a big change for us at Buffalo (and for the San Antonio students) b/c the 2001 product is very different from the 2000 product.

    Florida did not end up going with VitalSource for the DVD curriculum. This was confirmed by the VitalSource employees when they came to our school in Fall 2000 and 2001 and at the 2001 ASDA Annual Session in Orlando. VitalSource specifically told us the schools I mentioned above, they are very boasting of what schools are part of their product. Therefore I would assume the Navy did not end up participating. When they return next semester with the new installments for the fall, their song and dance routine will probably include that Arizona is joining their program, as Yah-E mentioned.

    VitalSource is the company that makes the program "VitalViewer" on which you run the "VitalBook" DVD.

    Yes, you can highlight and make little notes on the 2001 version of VitalBook at any of the schools. Each school has the same product, it is now up to the school whether they go with a Mac or PC. The class of 2004 at Buffalo and San Antonio had to buy Macs b/c back then, the DVD version we got only ran on a Mac.

    Keep your fingers crossed, my computer hasn't crashed yet the night b/f an exam. San Antonio and Buffalo have some measures where you could run the program on school/library computers provided you brought your DVD with you. At Buffalo, there is one 24 hr computer where you could run the DVD if it came down to it.

    The DVD isn't bad when it is used only as a reference to supplement class notes; for example, if you wanted to look up a little more info about alginate or are unclear on the Vitamin A deficiency lecture notes discussed in class. But for me, I couldn't use it for a class where you have to memorize straight out of the book - like classes where test questions come from the book as well as the notes.

    A cool thing they put on the DVD at Buffalo this semester is these videos on how to administer anesthesia blocks. That would be good to use to review the night before doing it on a patient. We hope they put more stuff like that on the DVD like how to do a class III resin or a molar endo in a video demonstration format, but it might not be in time for our class to use it.

    My classmates here at Buffalo have conducted thorough surveys of what the class of 2004 felt about VitalViewer and have written about the DVD curriculum at Buffalo and San Antonio for ASDA. ASDA currently is collecting data about the DVD at each of the participating schools and will discuss it further at the 2002 Annual Session. They want to create a bank of info student leaders could turn to when VitalSource approaches your dental school's administration about how great their product is and the administration tries to implement it without listening to what students think about it (which is what happened to all of us at these schools.)

    HOWEVER, even with all the negativity VitalSource and the DVD curriculum receives, my classmates agree that we are getting an excellent education at Buffalo. Although we have had much grief and complaints about the DVD, in retrospect, we STILL would have chosen BUFFALO for our dental education. My class is confident that we will rock the National Dental Boards part I this July, even though we were the guinea pigs for the electronic curriculum. I'm sure San Antonio feels the same way.

    So for those of you headed to the DVD curriculum schools this fall, don't worry too much. Once you start school, you'll figure out what is best for you and how to get by if you don't like the DVD. The DVD curriculum is not a reason to eliminate applying to a school; all of the schools are still going to produce good dentists when you finish.

    But just be aware that the curriculum is not yet all it is hyped up to be by the administrations...It may be getting there slowly.
     
  10. deciduous

    deciduous ready to shed

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    They actually do have a choice of PC or Mac. offered at San Antonio now--and if your computer crashes they have 24 Hr. support with available replacement computers. Of course, then if you had highlighted a lot of relavent information, you would have lost the highlighting (when using the substitute). I think it has its pros and cons. Personally, I would rather have books. That's just one of several reasons why I chose not to go to San Antonio. But I'm sure it was a chief reason why others decided to go--to each his (or her) own.
    :confused:
     
  11. pakgirl

    pakgirl Member

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    Sonigee,

    I know that at San Antonio you can now highlight on your DVD text but it wasn't like that in the beginning...that's what some students there told me!
    I personally like having real textbooks.
     

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