Note: I originally posted this to my personal blog, but given the relevance, I’ve posted a portion of the article here. You can read the article in its entirety here.

It was approximately three years ago that I decided to go back to school to obtain my B.S. in Management (I love the unintended pun and irony of the type of degree). Going back to school at the age of 24 was not an easy task as I had already established a career as a project manager. However, having some professional experience, along with my need to integrate tech into anything I do, allowed me to approach my scholastic endeavor with an eye for efficiency. The two key components that I wanted to address up front was note taking and textbooks, since  those are the two things a student relies on the most.

Note taking didn’t take much time to figure out as there were two products that kept popping up in my research: OneNote and Evernote. Both solutions seemed equal, so I opted or OneNote since I already had it installed as part of my MS Office suite. […]


While note taking was obviously covered, finding a digital equivalent to textbooks


Fast forward to 2007 when Amazon released the Kindle. All of a sudden, eBooks were gaining traction with consumers which was great for mainstream content, but textbook publishers still seemed resistant to the new distribution model. Eventually, Amazon’s sales grew so much that these publishers could no longer ignore it. Not to mention the fact that Barnes & Noble, and more recently Apple, jumped into the game. Today, almost every major textbook publisher is making their content available as an eBook. In fact, all seven of the textbooks my courses required for this fall semester, are available through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an eBook. As I enter the final year of my four year program, I finally have an opportunity to see if eTextbooks are really all I thought they would be, or if I just hyped myself up for nothing.

Textbooks vs. eTextbooks Close-upSo here is my experiment: in an attempt to evaluate the two mediums from a student’s perspective, I will be purchasing textbooks for two of my four courses, and going with eTextbooks for the remaining two. Using both mediums during the same semester will let me identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. Additionally, I will also test note taking methods by reverting to pen and paper for two courses, and continue using OneNote for the remaining two. Essentially, I will be going analog with two of my courses and only digital with the other two. Over the semester, I will be recording the failures and successes I face with each of the mediums and provide updates accordingly. Hopefully, my little experiment will not get in the way of my academic responsibilities.

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