1. Online Course Readers
The goal of our project is to implement an online reader system for IES. If this is not feasible, we will attempt to put readers and supplemental materials on a disk for students.
IES is currently researching the legality of copyrights online versus in print. This display of student interest in sustainable class resources is essential for progress.
Printing out the readers for students is both costly to the IES program as well as harmful to the environment. Although differences in copyright costs are negligible whether readers are online or bound in paper copies, the money used to produce and ship the readers is saved when they are uploaded online. This action will require a change in attitude of the students and the professors. Many students enjoy having a printed copy of their assignments so they can mark it up and bring it to class. If all of the readings are online, it would be easier and more environmentally friendly to be allowed to bring their computers to class. In the long term, IES would save a great deal on the amount of paper and ink used for printing. The ecological footprint of IES abroad would be decreased significantly for although the amount of paper and ink produced by the companies would not decrease, the electrical energy produced by IES Barcelona would for less energy would be used by the printer, as well as the transportation and financial costs of shipping and producing the readers. In the long term, a large number of money would be saved. For example, if each reader costs €15 to be printed, and each student currently has four readers, there is a total cost of €60 per person. For the 300 students each semester, the program could save around €18,000 per semester on printing costs alone (the number €15 is based on an email received from Jane Ewart, see below). Some companies are considering the possibility of something similar to Copyleft, and allowing readings to be viewed with out the usual restrictions of copyright laws.
1.2.1. Potential Benefits
This action will be beneficial both by saving resources and by changing attitudes. Introducing online readers would save trees and paper, as well as saving money on ink, energy to print hundreds of readers, and the cost of producing and sending the readers. Students are very attached to their computers, and if their reader is online they will not forget it, and might be more inclined to do their work.
Having online readers will also set an example to students about sustainability at school. Any student who uses online readers will see the benefits of it and potentially introduce the idea to their home university.
1.2.2. Potential Costs
Potential costs would be any kind of additional copyright surcharge for having the readers online. In an email response to our group, Jane stated that IES is looking into using electronic readers like Kindle or something similar. This would be much more expensive than our idea of having readers on the internet.
To begin the project, Kendall sent an email to BarcAdmin and asked about the financial aspects of the readers i.e costs of production, costs of shipment, and differences in copyright charges. Jane Ewart, head of registration and academic advising, responded with the following:
"We already use online readers for those professors who choose to upload them and not use a paper version in class. It's difficult to give you one set cost for a reader, as they vary greatly. Copyright can be from €30 to €50 per reader. Printing may be approx €15. This is a very approximate estimate.
I don't think printing costs are 100% offset when readers are online, as many students choose to print their readings anyway. However, I am sure printing is reduced to some extent. We are currently looking into the legality of having readers online and paying or not paying copyright. As things stand I believe we must pay the same copyright costs whether a reader is online or on paper.
Another option we have researched is using Kindles or something similar to replace the readers, and uploading all readers on to one electronic book for each student. To go ahead with this idea we will need to wait until the technology and market for electronic books has stabilized."
The use of online readers is a fairly simple way to improve the sustainability of IES, however, until IES Abroad has concluded their research and negotiations with the companies, the readers will most likely remain offline, and until the implementation of online readers, there are other ways that IES can be more sustainable. For example, professors should allow their students to bring their computers to class if the readings are online. This way, students would not have to print articles out to reference them in class. The internet connection to wireless in the IES Barcelona building does not always work smoothly in the classrooms, yet if the students come to class with the pdfs already downloaded and up on their screen, then they would have no reason to need the internet.
Also, many of the readings for the courses are at least 20 pages. If IES Abroad set a page limit for articles in the reader, there would be less paper and ink used. With the amount of energy and resources that go into producing that amount of work, there could be vast changes if readings were shortened.
In the IES Sustainability Newsletter sent out to professors, it urges them to collect readers at the end of the year as well as uploading readings online if they are able to. Professors and students should cooperate with these requests to further the interests of making IES a more environmentally friendly, cost-saving, and sustainable company.
1.4. References & Links
http://epublishersweekly.blogspot.com/2008/02/30-benefits-of-ebooks.html - benefits of online readers
1.5. Students involved in this action
Laura Scuderi- group leader
Assignment: Peer review form
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)