Have you ever worked in a group and received a file that you couldn’t open for various reasons. Many times its a Apple vs. Microsoft issue or a newer file type is not accessible in an older program such as trying to open a 2007 Word DOCX file in Word 2003. This can be very frustrating for group members especially if the sender does not know how to save the file in a format that can be accessible to everyone such as a PDF or older file type (ie .doc instead of .docx).
Recently this site was used to convert a calendar created by a professor in Microsoft Publisher given to a course developer who used only a Mac. PDFonline was used to create a file that the developer could use to retrieve the information without having to disturb the professor while they were on vacation.
In Higher education, professors require their students to read various handouts from pertinent writers of the field of study. Many times professors provide their readings electronically as PDF documents. PDF documents require a reader such as Preview (Mac only) or Adobe’s Acrobat reader (PC or Mac) to be viewed. Many current browsers have a PDF plugin already installed, making PDF a good format to deliver electronic readings for all students to access the content.
Distance learners are many times business travelers or students who are constantly on the go. Many times they are accessing online classes through their laptops or smartphones. Many times the layout of PDFs do not lend themselves for easy reading on small portable devices such as the iPhone or blackberry. A website that I found the other day is http://www.epub2go.com. This site will allow the student to upload a PDF from their computer or paste in a link to a PDF that is online. The epub2go site will convet the PDF into an EPUB file. The website will either email you a link to download your EPUB or if you are on an iPhone, it will download the file to an app called Stanza. Stanza, which can be downloaded from lexcycle.com, is an e-book reader for the mac or pc with sharing capabilities to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the Kindle.
According to http://www.openbook.org EPUB is a format for reflowable digital books. These books can be easily read and manipulated by many devices since it is basically an XML format.
Provided by lexcycle.com, Stanza can be downloaded on the mac, pc, iPhone or, iPod Touch. With Stanza, a student can change the font styling (face, color and size), background color and brightness to make reading the text on screen easier. Stanza app and epub2go.com allow the on the go student to convert online PDFs to ebooks all on the iPhone or iPod Touch with wi-fi connection; no computer needed. The student can now build their library of journal articles on their Apple mobile device to be read on the train, plane, taxi or other similar situations. Below are screenshots from my iPod Touch of the epub2go to stanza app conersion process