Archive for June 28th, 2011

June 28, 2011

E-reader ownership doubles in last six months

by Grace

That sounds about right.  “All” my friends and relatives either own e-readers or are talking about which one to buy.

The share of adults in the United States who own an e-book reader doubled to 12% in May, 2011  from 6% in November 2010.  E-readers, such as a Kindle or Nook, are portable devices designed to allow readers to download and read books and periodicals.  This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among U.S. adults.

Around Christmas time, it seemed as if all “everyone” was getting an iPad, but apparently growth in tablet computer ownership has slowed down.

Tablet computers—portable devices similar to e-readers but designed for more interactive web functions—have not seen the same level of growth in recent months.  In May 2011, 8% of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom.  This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010.  Prior to that, tablet ownership had been climbing relatively quickly.

I own neither an e-reader nor a tablet computer; I’m still in the “talking about” stage.

Source:  Pew Internet

June 28, 2011

Typical undergrad ‘could not write a paper or solve an algebra problem’

by Grace

When skeptics of college for all are dismissed as “elitist” by David Leonhardt, Arnold Kling responds with a reason for his views.

My elitism comes from the few years I spent as an adjunct at George Mason. The typical undergrad in my course could not write a paper or solve an algebra problem. I doubt that adding more students at this margin is the way to raise people’s incomes.

I keep hearing that about these typical college students, so I have to believe it’s true.  Before we make “college for all” such a high priority, let’s fix the problem of so many high school graduates  unprepared for college-level work.

Related:   36% of college students take remedial class.

June 28, 2011

Community colleges ‘really aren’t that cheap’?

by Grace

Pushing students into community colleges for the first two years of college is often touted as a major way to reduce education costs.  However, community colleges really aren’t that cheap.

Average community college E&G budget per student

Community colleges have lower total costs than public regional colleges because they do less research and public service, and provide fewer student services. Instruction costs are slightly lower, but community colleges are only providing lower division courses whereas the public regional also provides more expensive upper division and master’s level courses. In fact, instruction costs for lower division students may be higher at the community college than at the public regional college or the public research university.

The average community college cost per student of $10,985 compares with $6,705 and $9,204 for the hypothetical four-year colleges (CELS) Vance Fried created as part of his study, Opportunities for Efficiency and Innovation: A Primer on How to Cut College Costs.  However, real life public regional colleges  average $14,703, so for now community colleges still look like a good deal.

Fried’s numbers look good on paper, but if some philanthropist (Bill Gates?) would fund his hypothetical college we’d learn if it can really be done.

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