A Book That Reads You

Three universities are piloting software that can track a student's reading:

Say a student uses an introductory psychology e-textbook. The book will be integrated into the college’s course-management system. It will track students’ behavior: how much time they spend reading, how many pages they view, and how many notes and highlights they make. That data will get crunched into an engagement score for each student.

Ellie Robins worries about this technology:

Railing against this kind of data mining is probably like howling into the wind at this stage, but this feels misguided even beyond broad issues of privacy. For a start, there’s no accommodation for different learning styles or reading speeds. It also assumes the worst of students, which has got to be a de-motivator, and it neurotically turns reading into a surveyed activity, which rarely does much for engagement.