Princeton students, profs give Kindle mixed grades

The top five suggestions that students had for improving the Kindle to make it more applicable for course work were (1) improving the ability to highlight and annotate PDF files; (2) improving the annotation tools; (3) providing a folder structure to keep similar readings together; (4) improving the highlighting function; and (5) improving the navigation within and between documents on the reader—including having more than one document open at the same time for purposes of comparison.

“The Kindle was not ideal for my class,” said Stanley Katz, director of Princeton’s Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies and professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He taught the civil society course and said the difficulty of the Kindle’s annotation feature and the lack of a highlighting capacity “were serious limitations.”

“We were also hampered by our inability to move from one place to another in the text during class discussion,” Katz said. “On the other hand, we were grateful to have all of the course readings available in a single, portable device, and the mid-course arrival of software that made it possible to read the course assignments on a PC was very welcome.”

Professor of Classics Harriet Flower, who taught the pilot course “Religion and Magic in Ancient Rome,” said it was almost always possible to teach in the same way using the Kindle as in any other seminar she has taught.

“The Kindle would be better for an academic setting if the PDF format worked more effectively,” she noted. “It is a great advantage always to have all the texts available without carrying too much around.”


Results of Princeton’s Kindle DX pilot

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