Nicole Smothers

Nicole Smothers has written 3 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Digital Transformation Sets a New Trend for USF

University of South Florida gives way to the immerging digitalized easy-readers, setting trends for a virtual future.

In November 2009, Barnes & Noble introduced the “Nook”. “This six-inch diagonal e-reader with 2G of internal storage” is easy on the eyes and sports its newest color feature, says Jeffery Hastings in the School of Library Journal. The USF Bookstore, in affiliation with Barnes & Noble, introduced the “Nook” to campus in 2009.

“A survey of student habits and attitudes reveals a steadily growing readiness to access e-books via hand-held devices,” says Julie Shen in a case study of “The E-book Lifestyle: An Academic Library Perspective.”

USF’s response to the reader has been a great success. Many use the device for reading books, magazines and other pleasure readings.

Maryann Rodmell, a campus bookstore employee, gave approximations on sales back in January.

She says the bookstore has “approximately 7-10 purchases of the Nook easy readers [during rush week], a number that is on the conservative side of estimation.”

The “Nook” is an appealing device that has rapidly been accepted around campus. The device not only introduces a new and innovative way of reading, opening doors for numerous technological advancements, but can also be attributed to the professional field.

Meeghan Gilchrist, a junior majoring in magazine journalism at USF, loves her newest purchase. She bought the “Nook” from Barnes & Noble around Christmas 2010, using it “for reading books and magazines such as ‘The New Yorker’.”

“I think it’s really wonderful,” Gilchrist says, “I not only want to be a journalist, but I want to be a writer. E-readers are allowing writers to publish straight with e-books [, avoiding] hassle of using a publisher. If an author turns their novel into an e-book, they get more money than if they already had a book published in print.”

Another appealing aspect of the digitalized trend is price differences in comparison to hardback books sales.

Rick Wilber, a Mass Communications and Society professor at USF, says “e-book prices are almost half of hard-back book sales, which means many chose to buy online for e-book readers [like the “Nook”] rather than hardback cover.”

The campus bookstore launched another component of “Nook” called the “NookStudy” program back in August 2010, which is a digitalized, downloadable textbook from any computer. Students gravitate to this program because of its price differences in comparison to textbooks. With this purchase, students can save up to 60 percent on their textbook purchases.

The component does not require a Nook easy reader. The program can be purchased in the USF bookstore beside the other course textbook options. When downloaded to your computer, the software reveals pages and note just like a regular textbook, only portable.

The program is compatible with Mac and PC and offers printing, highlighting and note-taking features on the computer. The bookstore however, will not buy the competent back during buy-back.

Nick Fagnoni, the USF Bookstore General Manager, is encouraged to see USF at the top of the charts in “NookStudy” sales and hopes to see the trend continue.

“Our school is No. 1 in digital textbook downloads for the entire [Barnes & Noble Company], so it was very well received at USF, and we are hoping to continue that success.”

Due to USF being number one in ranking for the “NookStudy” program, the trend has drastically taken off since its launch in fall of 2010; however, not all students are in agreement with the digital transformation.

Amanda Barr, sophomore and mass communications major, dislikes the digitalized versions when it comes to studying.

“I need something tangible that I can write and highlight on, helping me further understand material. The digitalized versions don’t allow me to do this and leave me with headaches after staring at the computer screen too long.”

Due to its convenience, career oriented features and money saving deals, the “Nook” and “NookStudy” have been a hot trend for the last year. Due to its consistent sales, USF hopes to continue advertising the programs and to remain No.1 university bookstore in the “NookStudy” sales.

USF assists veterans in expanding education

Through Veteran Services, a division of Student Affairs, USF is now one of eight colleges experimenting with the new program VetSuccess, which offers assistance to veterans who are making transitions to a different kind of assignment.

USF was one of the first to implement changes under the “Post 9-11 GI Bill,” which paves the way for veterans to pursue their educational dreams after coming home from the battle fields.

This transition is not an easy for most. Veterans usually do not have the funds to go back to school and receive their degree, something the Post 9-11 GI Bill has made more possible. Full tuition and even housing is often covered under the bill, allowing veterans to pursue their dreams without the financial burden.

VetSuccess, a program implemented under the bill, offers a more transitional aid. Career counseling, academic advice and financial aid are just a few of the services offered that help with the adjustments when coming from combat to civilian life.

USF’s goal through this program is to honor veterans by returning the favor of service. In exchange for veterans dedication to their country, USF’s Veterans Services hope to show their appreciation by striving to meet the educational needs of many ambitious soldiers.

USF recently held a golf tournament to raise funds for veteran students’ expenses. The Veterans on the Green Golf Classic took place April 9 at The Claw at USF.

USF’s Multicultural Affairs dances toward its goal

The University of South Florida’s multicultural community, a sector of USF Division of Student Affairs, has played an active role in the collegiate community within the past couple of weeks.

Last Tuesday, the multicultural community held an evening of dance filled with intriguing genres from around the globe. After two months of intense rehearsals, “The Evolution of Dance” event captivated its audience through gyrating, stomping and flowing features incorporated in its movements. From the community, 15 groups incorporated their diverse genres like zumba, strolling and hip-hop.

“An important aspect of this event is to not only portray our culture’s history of dance but also for students to see the link through the culture’s genres,” said Melchisedek Jean, marketing co-chair of the event. “They are all similar yet so different simultaneously.”

Prior to the showcase, the multicultural community took a more serious approach in response to the revolts in Egypt and Libya.

Hiram Ramirez, the multicultural community adviser, said the organization held a “lunch-n-learn” a couple of weeks ago. The event was hosted by a faculty member and the USF Muslim Students Association, and aimed to educate staff, faculty and students on the revolts occurring in the Arab world.

Ramirez also spoke of a future speaking engagement in the fall for the organization which will address issues of discrimination toward Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We are making sure that all voices are getting heard,” he said. “During the time of 9-11, the nation was in a state of high tension and anger and they wanted a venue where they could release that. This caused a lot of violence for a lot of minority groups. This conference will address all of these issues and how we can approach and fix these issues as a community.”

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