Online Textbooks and the Social Innovation Engagement

As I have asked, eight out of ten of my friends didn’t buy their textbooks for this semester, even though some of those books are compulsory readings. The fact that majority prices of university textbooks are usually high, it may affect the learning outcomes of students who cannot afford the textbooks.

One of the major problems university students face when it comes to buying textbooks is the inability and unwillingness to purchase expensive textbooks. In addition, either the students are in a hurry with their courses about to begin or they realize that buying textbooks is one requirement of the courses in the middle of the semester will affect the outcomes of study. Both of these problems can be solved through using online method to access university textbooks.

There are more choices for students to access the textbooks instead of buy them through bookstore. Therefore, our campaign “Make Textbooks Affordable” aims to establish an “Online Textbook Station” hub for Australian University students; as well as to provide legal online downloadable textbooks for students. The authority of online texts and publications are low-cost. It is also a convenient, direct and instant way for students to have reading activities via digital technologies and internet based database.

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A New Definition of Publication

The capacity of publishing is getting diverse with the technology development in the contemporary society.

When it comes to 21th century, the meaning of publishing has been overturned. E-read, iPad, and other electronic devices create a new reading environment. A new definition of publishing embodies a technical based reading network. The internet helps set up the accessible, convenient and informative network of publications (e.g. iBooks, online bookstore). In comparison, libraries, bookstores, and physical publications are less consumed for some readers, especially for young generations.

These two blogs discuss the changing reading activity today and the development of social innovations and engaged media tactics.

The multiple platform publishing is an essential social innovation in media and public sphere in contemporary communities. It influences the media industry tendencies and individuals’ interests. Since wifi has been popularised, electronic devices like smart phones and iPads are more suitable for e-read in publics. This is an advantage for online reading activity. Thus, one tactic for our campaign that make textbook affordable and student-friendly.

In conclusion, the contemporary publishing is not only a print-related industry, but also an internet-based network. E-read is a successful model which shows how ‘new’ publications are consumed. The new publishing is proceeding with internet, mobility and technological advanced devices. Therefore, the new definition of publishing is a strategy that our campaign will use in the hope of appealing to a diverse number of audiences.

Today’s Communication and Visual Education Engagement

As a member of “free agency” generation, do you prefer visualized education with a direct and instant access?
Comparing with visualized education, the old school physical books are a bit dull especially like textbooks which aim to educate people. Today’s visualization makes information beautiful. It gives solid objects and abstract knowledge lives and vivid images. For example, music can be visualized into different curves, shapes and colors. The transformation creates a linked space between sound and vision. Using the visualized knowledge to educate students is interesting and attractive by introducing a totally different version of study comparing with the traditional understands. Thus, visual education is a “nod” among different senses that connects the reality with imagination.

This website illustrates the beautiful transformation made by visualization.


To use visualized textbook has another advantage that assembles information effectively in engaged ways (e.g. animations). To illustrate knowledge or theories through graphics, videos, or other visualized forms make things attractive and engaged. For example, use comics and exaggerated pictures to demonstrate today’s politicians and politics tendency (e.g. Political Cartoons Website On one hand, it makes pressure topics easy; on the other hand, it expands education aims. Further, everyone from the free agency generation is a publisher, which makes university students easier and happier to take the way of online education and e-version of textbooks.

Visual Media, Engaged Visual Information

As we discussed, the campaign aims to save money for students in terms of providing e-version textbooks and exploring other ways (find more in previous and later blogs). However, despite that reason we can see today’s media is shifting the majority focus to visualisation. Visual media creates a direct, instant and interactive information database in the hope of appealing to a diverse number of publications and audience.

I’m not sure if the future reading activity is definitely shifting to the digital format. For the new generation, digital publications are widely consumed. Johan Lehrer holds the idea in his blog says: “the physical version of books will soon assume a cultural place analogous to that of FM radio.” Thus, this is another reason we suggest offering online textbooks instead of the physical format. Digital platforms are easier to access and consume.

Further, the development of digital media has not only impacted on the general public, but also engaged with the media industry context. The meaning of publishing shifts from original print to a multi-media publishing era as well. In the new publishing era, the society prefers to consume technical and internet-based information. As a result, visual media provides a user-friendly platform which includes textbook access for university students.

Textbook rentals

Textbook rentals is a good method which helps us to save money on textbooks!

Zookal which is an Australian campany, providing a variety of service lines that make students’ live easier. However, textbook rentals is the the largest service line which provides a faster, easier and cheaper alternative to what is available disrupting the current textbook market.

In order to reduce the price of shipping charges for the rented textbooks, Zookal joined with Ozzie, Flirtey, to offer free textbook delivery by drone.


How this Flirtey works?

Students would start by ordering a text using Zookal’s smartphone app. That book would be loaded into a carrying case mounted on the underside of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), at a regional Zookal dispatch center. The aircraft – a hexacopter – would then fly to the client by homing in on their phone’s GPS coordinates.

It would fly using autonomous control technology, which would include a collision avoidance system to keep it from hitting things like trees or buildings. Additionally, it would feature a fail-safe system that would cause it to slowly descend to the ground if its battery pack died.

The client, meanwhile, would be able to track the UAV’s progress via its own GPS chip. When the hexacopter arrived at their location, it would hover in place and lower the text down to them on retractable cords.



Students got their own ways



Here is a statistic of how students find alternative solutions to solve the problem of pricey textbooks.

According to this chart, in 2013 34% students would choose to download the course content from an unauthorized website, which increased drastically by 14% compare with the year 2012.  Other 31% Students choose to photocopy or scanned chapters from others’ books.

This illustrate that the e-book system could definitely help these student out from difficulty to pay for the expensive textbooks.  Instead of downloading from an unsafe and unauthorized website, an e-book system should be a more helpful tool for student to get the content of the course.


E-reader, Ebooks


An e-book reader, also called an e-book device or e-reader which is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital e-books, newspapers and documents. It is wireless, portable, and allows readers to tote personal libraries everywhere they go.

However, for university students, e-book reader has lots of advantages which can be seen as firstly, e-book readers are more portable, students can carry a whole library of hundreds of books without worrying about their weight. Secondly, e-book readers are more safely stored and carried from one place to another, than ordinary books and they also withstand time more than books. Thirdly, ebooks in e-reader can show links which access easily to more information and related websites. Lastly, ebooks are much cheaper than traditional printed books!!!!!!!!!!! This website discuss that e-readers vs. Books for college students through 6 aspects which are technology, portability, versatility, cost, content availability and resistance.

It’s good idea to provide e-readers for university students and tuition fee can include it. It is necessary to ensure that every student in university has right to use and enjoy the device. If our campaign just for students who got high-technology devices, it is not workable.