Digital textbooks provide quick access to course materials

In a world where connectivity is considered slow after a 10 second delay, students are looking for an easier, faster way to gain access to textbooks and materials. That way comes in the form of digital textbooks.

The RSC bookstore recently started a campaign through their parent company, the Follett Corporation, to not only sell textbooks, but also provide the option of rentals; a move that comes after many companies began catering to the cheaper, and greener, movement.

CafeScribe, another brainchild of Follett, has recently been developed for the “need it now” student of the world. After creating a user name and password, students are welcomed into the homepage, where they are able to see friends, groups, and purchases made.

Searching for textbooks can be a bit more complicated though. Students can search by the books ISBN number, title or author’s name. To attain this information though, they will need to take a trip to the RSC bookstore to find the necessary search requirements, or will have to visit the online bookstore. Going online though does not provide ISBNs and has a good chance of not showing a photo, making a book search outside of RSC more difficult.

Interested parties will need to download the MyScribe reader. According to, “MyScribe is iTunes for eBooks: buy textbooks, organize your library, subscribe to notes for your books… and much more.”

Available for free download on the CafeScribe website, the reader can be used by PC and Mac users, but it cannot be downloaded on iPad, iPhone or iTouch. Keep in mind, that even on a fast machine, this download can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

After download, MyScribe shows the user their current textbooks, notes from self and friends that opt into sharing, messages, and highlights. After opening a text of their choice, users can pick between three different highlight colors, each corresponding to a different task, and example being “look up information,” allowing students to use the internet to look further into their readings.

Although an Internet connection is not necessary to use the books you have downloaded, it is necessary to check messages, look at notes people have publicly submitted, and to download any additional texts.

Although this concept is innovative, and can be used for the next generations of students, not all accept this new technology.

“I do not like the idea of a digital copy,” Kevin Cosby, former RSC broadcasting student said. “Overall I would rather have a hard copy.”

Others see the move as strategic to a completely digital campus. “What if schools issued iPads or Kindles for a reduced price. Then you could put the textbooks on there,” Jeremy Tanequodle, student senator said. “That would make backpacks virtually obsolete, and I believe it would be much more convenient.”

Jenna Forgey, a UCO at RSC student and former employee of the RSC bookstore as of publication, expressed concern about the price of e-books compared to a regular textbook. “There’s not much of a price difference on a few of the books we offer compared to downloading them,” Forgey said.

“Many people who come in here see the rental price or e-book price and think that’s how much the [hard copy] book is. Even if the downloaded book is cheaper, they still buy the regular copy.”

Forgey did cite the positives of downloading compared to carrying. “Sometimes it is cheaper, and if you already take your laptop to class, you don’t have to carry about five textbooks.”

Bridging the generational gap can be a concern for retailers whose marketing mainly targets younger generations. “I’ve had two students come in and ask about e-books,” Forgey said, “but they were both much younger students, and one had an iPad.”

Non-traditional student Kim Ryder, photography major, sees the good in a connected, easily accessible textbook. “I bought digital for the first time this year,” Ryder said. “I really like it so far. I have found that there are some books that you just don’t use as much as others.”

Ryder also asks and answers the question that most consumers have. “Why lug around that heavy $200 book when you can download a $50 or $100 book onto your laptop and peruse it at your leisure. I have done homework with it and also found it convenient to use there as well.”

But, whether you prefer a hand held copy to thumb through, or need your textbook slim, easy and digital, all students, young and old, need their information to take the educational leap. The only question left to answer is how long this digital textbook trend will last, and how effective is it to the learning process.

By 15th Street News Posted in Features

Editorial: Revisiting the topic of cell phone courtesy

When someone goes into the workforce, there are things expected of him or her, vis-à-vis Tinker AFB professionalism.

Some of them are basic concepts such as being punctual, bathing on a regular basis, arriving to work fully dressed, etc. However, there are several concepts that seem a little less intuitive which must be in order to be professional.

Trash talking on a cellular phone while someone is trying to get you to ring up their lunch is not one of these concepts.

We understand that, in this age of constant, and instant, connectivity is almost reflexive, and if you do not believe that, count the number of text messages you have sent or received since picking up this paper.

What we forget, though, is that anyone with a job most likely has someone who relies on that job getting done in a timely manner. That’s why people get hired to do just about anything, whether you are a cashier, an instructor, or a college president.

The question posed is how much professionalism do we require of those who are being paid to convenience us on a constant basis? Would it be acceptable to call 9-1-1 and plead for help only to have the operator respond with “Man that sucks.”

In these tough economic times, it is not unheard of for a college student to be unemployed. College students, in addition, also often grapple with demanding personal responsibilities and tight class schedules. Some may be lucky to get a mere 30 minutes to get from one class to the Student Center, eat, then run to their next class across campus.

So, when we are burning precious time standing with money in our hand at the cafeteria, trying to get a cashier’s attention in order to pay and get on with our lives, it is completely unprofessional for the cashier to be on their cell phone, talking about how someone will “live in misery.”

People need to remember, for every one person who works at RSC, there are another 10 who would kill to have that job. It is not unreasonable to ask that people cease their cell phone chatter while on the clock, unless for an emergency, so that the rest of us can get on with our day.

So remember, please put the cell phone down when you’re earning a salary from money taken out of tuition and other necessary costs.

Because, honestly, in the end, some of us just want our stinking baked potato.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

Intercultural Programs Spring 2011 Calendar

Black History Month Program

What: Black Wall Street of America: Greenwood Avenue
When: Tues., Feb. 8 at 11 a.m.
Where: Main Dining Room, Student Center

How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You

What: Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies
When: Fri., Feb. 25 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Where: Tom Steed Auditorium
How: Pre-Registration Required, see

Fifth Women’s Leadership Conference

What: Women Moving Beyond Victimization: “Global Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility”
When: Fri., March 25 from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Where: Professional Training and Education Center
How: Pre-Registration Required

“Three Cup’s of Tea” Book Discussion

What: The inspiring account of one man’s campaign to build schools in the most dangerous, remote, and anti-American reaches of Asia.
When: Fri., April 8 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Where: Raider Room, Student Center
How: Pre-Registration Required. Obtain a free book with registration. Lunch is provided to attendees.

Struggles and Triumphs of Living with a Mental Health Diagnosis Panel Presentation

What: Learn more about mental health recovery as a panel of “Heroes” from north Care Unity House discusses their psychological diagnosis and their journey to recovery.
When: Wed., April 27 at 2 p.m.
Where: Main Dining Room, Student Center

Disability Awareness

What: Tell Me About Learning Disabilities Panel Discussion
When: Tues., April 5 from 12:15 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Where: Main Dining Room, Student Center

Spotlight: Megan Johnson

Former Miss Rose State dishes on future, hobbies

Logan Pierce, contributing writer

Megan Johnson graduated from RSC May 2010. She is also a graduate of the Respiratory Therapy program and is currently attending UCO in Edmond where she’s working toward a Bachelors degree in PR and broadcasting. In addition to being chosen twice as “Miss Rose State,” Johnson is currently “Miss Tulsa State Fair.”

Megan Johnson is not your typical pageant winner. She has a passion for sports and service. And like Edgar Allen Poe, she is different from what others expect, which makes her all the more memorable.

LP: Who is one of your heroes?

MJ: A young man named Micah Walters. He passed away from Leukemia last October.  I was able to serve him. His family was not only concerned with helping him, but followed his example to help others.

LP: What are your hobbies?

MJ: People who don’t know me are surprised to learn that I’m a huge hockey fan. I also volunteer a lot, and love to dance.

LP: What’s your favorite type of dance?

MJ: I love classical Jazz dancing.

LP: What career are you working towards?

MJ: I want to be a sportscaster.

LP: A pageant winning sportscaster on ESPN would be unique. Did you ever play sports yourself?

MJ: I quit Tee ball when I was little because I didn’t like to sweat, but I’ve always loved sports.

LP: What is your most satisfying moment?

MJ: When I’m doing service for others.

LP: What’s your favorite song?

MJ: Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis.” I love the whole soundtrack from that show.  They let people hear his music with a modern, contemporary flair.

LP: What website would you recommend to someone else and why?

MJ: You can always find something there. I recommend “Viva Elvis” clips.

LP: Where have you never been before that you would like to visit?

MJ: The Ocean.

LP: Any particular one?

MJ: No. I’ve traveled all over the country, but I’ve never seen the Ocean.

LP: What’s your favorite movie?

MJ: I love the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and can’t wait for the next one. Johnny Depp’s my favorite actor. He’s so versatile.

LP: What is a quote that inspires you?

MJ: Live everyday to the fullest.

LP: Which would you prefer: Scuba diving or skydiving?

MJ: I’ve never been to the ocean, so I’m going to have to say skydiving. I’m a real adrenaline junkie, and skydiving gives you such a rush.

LP: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

MJ: Be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t wait for things to happen.

LP: If you could live in a different time period, what would it be and why?

MJ: With my naturally curly hair, I think I’d fit right in the 1980’s. They had big hair back then.

LP: If you could invent anything, what would it be and why?

MJ: I had an idea for a machine that stirs the food while you cook it, but someone patented it already. It’s called the Robostir.

LP: Whom do you admire most in literature?

MJ: Edgar Allen Poe. For the time period, his stories were not what the people expected, and since my birthday is Oct. 6th, I’ve always liked scary stories.

By 15th Street News Posted in News

Online math program provides variety of resources

Brittany McDaniel, news editor

The face of the classroom is ever changing. With the advances in technology, there is a demand for student to keep up. Math courses at RSC integrate traditional classroom lectures with an online math program called MyMathLab.

This program is mainly used for completing homework assignments, but also has a variety of services that enhance the textbook and class lecture.

Because the coursework itself can be difficult, the Office of Student Success arranged a series of workshops run by Nicole Brophy, professor of mathematics, to help students become familiar with all facets of the online platform.

The workshop starts from learning to log into the program, and goes through each function available. MyMathLab has tabs for different parts of the program, each layout slightly different for each professor. The tabs include announcements, homework, quizzes and tests, a grade book, study plan, eBook, multimedia library and communication.

The quizzes and tests tab will test students on materials covered in homework. Based off scores in the quizzes and tests section, MyMathLab has a built in study plan tailored to areas of difficulty for the individual student. The study plan has a tab that says, “Show what I need to study,” and will assess which problems should be reviewed for mastery.

In addition to the study plan, MyMathLab has other resources built in that help students achieve understanding of the material. Certain problems in the homework will have a film slide next to them. This means a video demonstration of the question is available to go step-by-step in order to achieve the answer.

The eBook is an interactive version of the textbook and allows the student to view the chapter covered in a missed class. The multimedia library includes various media types such as animations, PowerPoint, chapter test preparation videos and section video lectures. As the name suggests, the communication section includes announcements, collaborations and a discussion board.

Brophy suggested exploring the program and finding all of its resources. “Get your money’s worth,” Brophy said.

MyMathLab is not the only way to receive resources. The math lab, located in the Science and Math building, has assistants available to help with difficult problems and explain hard to understand theories.

“Students who come [to the math lab] get a lot from it. We have a very knowledgeable staff,” Brian Powell, math lab assistant, said. “I wished I would have used it more fully as a student.”

By 15th Street News Posted in News

Quiet start to spring semester for Student Senate

Miranda Liming, editor-in-chief

Student Senate returned to business Tues., Jan. 25, for the second meeting of the spring semester.

Resolution 001, authored by Senators Lessor, Buchanan, Pickard, and Secretary Bertolasio, was presented and states: “A resolution pertaining to the repairing of the door handle on the upstairs door in the Social Sciences building leading to the Humanities building.”

According to the written resolution, “The handle is broken and the door is unusable from the push to open side; this damaged door hinders students walking between the buildings; and the door reflects poorly on the campus in its current state.”

No questions were asked on this resolution, and it was passed unanimously.

In other senate news, Senator Stormy McClary was appointed into the empty floor leader position.

Treasurer Myka Sederis reported a balance of $23,902.65. Sederis also clarified that this balance will change before next week’s meeting because “everything will be updated.”

Campus association Sigma Alpha Mu requested $500 from Student Activities for various club necessities. Senate and the Financial Review Committee voted in favor to provide the funds.

President Myka Phillips reminded senators that there are currently two open senate positions, and voting for those seats will begin on Tues., Feb. 1, during the senate meeting. Students who are interested in becoming a member of student senate should visit the Student Activities office, room 120 in the Student Center.

By 15th Street News Posted in News

Zonta honors Amelia Earhart, scholarship recipients

Brittany McDaniel, news editor

The Zonta Club of Central Oklahoma held their business meeting Jan. 18. The meeting began with a highlight of Amelia Earhart’s career, and paralleled the famous flyer’s contribution to society by introducing the guest speaker for the evening: Captain Anne Portlock, a pilot in the US Air Force.

Portlock started her career at the Air Force Academy, and began by flying glider planes. She graduated to larger training aircraft such as the T-34 “Mentor” and the T-1 “Jayhawk.” Some of her recent flights include flying an E-3, also known as the AWACS. Portlock is stationed out of Tinker Air Force Base, home to the E-3.

During her speech, Portlock told a story about her husband’s deployment to the United Arab Emirates, in which she flew the E-3 out to her husband’s location. During the mission, she was able to meet up with her spouse for an evening diner in the desert.

Portlock spoke of her days at the Academy as one of very few women, and being one of even fewer female pilots.

“When I went to the academy, there were seven men to every woman,” Portlock said.

Portlock also discussed some of the struggles of being a female in a predominantly male workforce.

“You can be easily offended,” Portlock said, “you’ve got to learn to roll with the punches.”

She added that the number of females serving in the military has increased since she was a young cadet at the Academy. Women are not only flying daily missions, but are also serving in combat zones.

The meeting also honored Helen B. Troy Educational Award recipients, RSC students Leahanne Frazier, elementary education major, and Shanquilla Vann, respiratory therapist and phlebotomy major. The two students each won $750 for the spring semester.

“It was a great honor to be nominated as a scholarship recipient and enjoy dinner with members of the Zonta Club of Central Oklahoma. The Helen B. Troy Scholarship is a blessing for a young woman like me who is pursuing her education at RSC,” Frazier said. “I’m truly blessed that my math professor [Jim Meyer] gave me the information about the scholarship.”

Vann commented on her anxiety prior to receiving the award, “I prayed for a whole month and half,” she said with a laugh. “It means so much to me. I go to school full-time, I have student loans, I’m a single parent and the fact that I won…I’m just flabbergasted.”

The club meets monthly and supports a variety of community organizations. In addition to working with community members, the group also works to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking in Oklahoma. The group works with Oklahomans Against Trafficking of Humans (OATH) and hosted a training session for law enforcement professionals in conjunction with RSC.

Donated Books Shipped to Ghana

Bryan Trude, assistant editor

Dr. Adjoa Ahedor explains how over 400 books will be organized before they are shipped to her native country of Ghana, Jan. 12. Books will be sent to the University of Ghana in Accra, and will take about four months to arrive. Photo by Bryan Trude.

RSC’s science and math club, Sigma Alpha Mu, collected over 400 used textbooks and educational books for donation to the African nation of Ghana during the club’s “Textbooks or Educational Books for Ghana” program last semester, which were shipped Jan. 12.

The program, which collected books ranging from college-level texts to children’s books, was created by Dr. Adjoa Richardson Ahedor, professor of life science and Sigma Alpha Mu’s club sponsor.

“I have been trying to reestablish [Sigma Alpha Mu], and [the club] thought this would be a good project to adopt,” Ahedor, a native of Ghana, said. “We did not want to limit ourselves to just college textbooks. Kids books can be read too.”

The books will be going to the University Library at the University of Ghana and St. Mary’s Secondary School, both of which Ahedor is an alumnus. Additional books will be going to the Osu Children’s Library. All three institutions are located in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

“Last year, I went home to visit. I went to the library [at the University of Ghana] where I used to study,” Ahedor said. “The textbooks I used in the 1980s and 1990s were still there. That made me really sad.”

“One of the basic requirements of any serious academic institution is the provision of textbooks,” Professor Isaac Asante, head of the department of biology at the University of Ghana, said. “Without textbooks, students cannot improve on their skills in reading and research. Textbooks are in high demand in a country like Ghana where the cost of education is becoming high.

Ghana, a former British colony located on the Gold Coast of Africa, was one of the first colonies of sub-Saharan Africa to obtain independence in 1957. Considered one of the most economically prosperous nations in the region by the World Bank, Ghana is home to major deposits of gold, cocoa, oil, diamond and bauxite. Ghana is also home to Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006.

Ahedor said that the books will take about two to four months to reach Ghana, and that Sigma Alpha Mu was discussing travelling to Ghana to distribute the texts.

“[The books being donated], these are not junk books,” Ahedor said. “They are good books, and they will be of good use.”

For more information on Sigma Alpha Mu, contact Ahedor by E-Mail at

By 15th Street News Posted in News

Honors Program offers a creative outlet opportunity for students

Adriana Valtinson, contributing writer

Inquiring minds of campus that would like to further their academic goals should consider applying their efforts to creating a contract for the Honors Program. The Honors Program offers a course for discovery that enhances the students’ comprehension for a chosen class.

In order to apply for the Honors Program, a student must have a 3.5 GPA and “a lot of intellectual curiosity.” Completing 12 hours of honors work allows the student to graduate cum laude. Though students with lower GPAs cannot graduate cum laude, they can still do honors work that will show on their transcripts, which Toni Castillo, Honors Program director, said might help when looking for a job. Castillo explained that many of the students who do honors projects are not actually in the Honors Program, “they just have something they want to pursue.”

Besides intellectual stimulation, Castillo said the program also offers tuition waver scholarships, assistance with textbooks and cash awards. “Students also get to choose the work they want to do,” Castillo explained, “so they get to pursue intellectual passions.”

Students who wish to do an honors project must meet with the professor they want to do the project for to discuss the contract. Once the contract is given to Castillo, it is up to the student and professor to complete the project. Castillo said the project is not graded, nor will it figure into the final grade for the class, and there is no penalty if the project cannot be completed.

“Students do a huge range of [projects],” Castillo said. The project can be a paper, video, survey or anything else the student can think of, but “it has to be intellectual in nature.” Other options for fulfilling an honors contract include taking an honors class or covering the Great Issues Lecture Series.

“If in a semester they don’t want to go above and beyond in a class, they can watch a series of lectures, a film and work with Castillo to write a 12 page response. It gives a lot of flexibility and creates a loosely connected community who are talking about the topic,” Castillo said. This year’s topic is “The Democratization of Information.” The topic covers issues of how we receive information, how that information is used and what effect this spread of information has on society.

Students interested in the Honors Program can go to or contact Castillo at 733-7512 or Fine Arts Room 115.

By 15th Street News Posted in News