Trialling e-readers as a green alternative to paper: changing behaviours and maintaining effectiveness

M. Dean, L. Martinez, L. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The UK Higher Education sector has made only limited progress in reducing its paper consumption. Despite paper having high costs both environmentally and financially, HE is estimated to print on average 10,000 sheets per person per annum (James & Hopkinson 2009a, b). Advantages of paper are portability and ease of reading compared to a computer screen, attributes also provided by e-readers which have a smaller environmental footprint than printed material (James & Hopkinson 2009a, b). Students liked the lightness of e-readers compared to traditional textbooks, but lack of ‘search’ and annotation features hindered their usefulness (Rickman et al. 2009). For tutors marking electronically PAGE 112 | ALT-C 2010 Conference Introduction and Abstracts | Section two: Abstracts submitted assessments stored on e-readers lightness was advantageous and they reported less eyestrain compared to VDU, however there were drawbacks to this method (Liversidge et al. 2009). This JISC funded e-reader demonstrator project will involve senior university staff who will become e-reader experts by trialling the potential for print substitution by using e-readers in two institutional committee meetings and other work situations. The initial evaluation of readily available e-readers selected the ‘best fit’ model, the Sony Touch Edition e-reader, for the one year pilot. The aim is to determine if current generation e-readers, with annotation features, are a viable substitute for paper in such meetings. The key to the success of this project is recognition of the need to understand, adapt and evaluate individual motivations and behaviours around the introduction of new technologies. This paper discusses the methodology for benchmarking of e-readers against criteria for committee usage; user needs analysis to assess both experience and feelings towards the e-reader before the start, ongoing observations and criteria for the green assessment. This paper will share results of the ongoing e-reader evaluation and results of the ongoing trial within committees, reflecting the initial challenges of the behavioural changes and the coping strategies adopted by participants, with lessons learned so far, including the potential that e-readers may offer for shaping the university as a workplace. As leaders of change participants are able to promote appropriate teaching and learning uses for e-readers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAssociation of Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C) - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Sept 20109 Sept 2010


ConferenceAssociation of Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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