Reusing paper resources online?

Here is another online resource whose mistakes can be seen without understanding its language. It is optimized for printed paper and it’s a pain to scan it online to decide whether to print it or not:


  • Its text blocks bounce from left to right and back, impeding the vertical orientation,
  • its page numbers sit at the page bottom (and to make matters worse, they don’t match the pdf pagination, and the table of contents is not clickable),
  • salient terms are highlighted in italics, i. e., in micro markup, rather than in the bold macro markup required for scanning.

Unfortunately, it is very common to reuse the identical resources both in print and online, and it is even required for legacy citation, because for fixed page numbers we need a frozen layout, if simple deep-linking is not allowed.

Also for lecture slides, it is a common sin to use the same slides for accompanying the narration, and later, without change, also as downloadable handouts. All reasonable powerpoint usage guidelines advise against that, for instance

“A well-structured slide deck should be semi-incomprehensible when viewed without its accompanying verbal component.” (C. Fahey)

and that the speaker must not abuse the slides as prompting notes, and that s/he must not abuse such teaching materials as learning materials. But still, tons of such abused/ reused material are daily dumped into the LMSs because such reuse is cheap.

If you think of the metaphor of misunderstood online learning as the “horseless carriage“, such reuse means that we still would constucts cars as if we wanted to harness horses occasionally!

(Content-wise, the above-cited paper is very interesting, and it found (among others) that many university professors have a misconception of the Bologna-reformed curriculums; they misunderstand interdisciplinarity as multidisciplinarity, p. 50, and demand fundamental knowledge and research orientation and application orientation all at once, p. 49.)


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