Usability of Complex Information Systems, Evaluation of User InteractionMichael Greer“We’re in the midst of a fundamental transformation in the way people read,” declares textbook editor and former English professor Michael Greer. Collaborating with Prof. Tharon Howard of Clemson University, Greer has contributed to the just-published collection, Usability of Complex Information Systems, Evaluation of User Interaction. Their account of textbook usability studies with contemporary college students reveals that “the conventions that teachers are familiar with are not familiar to students.”

Greer spoke with Chris Kenneally while attending PubWest 2010, the annual conference of the Publishers Association of the West, held earlier this month in Santa Fe.

“Students interact with websites, with apps, with various kinds of information products that are both like and unlike books,” he noted. “They’re coming of age in a culture that is one of digital literacy, and we don’t really know what that means. There is perhaps a fundamental disconnect between the literacy that their teachers practice in the classroom, and the literacy that those students have grown up with.”

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