The system is fine, its set if gaming is the most intensive thing it will do. An SSD would be a nice addition, but since thats already been shot down.
Only upgrade that might help for his usage is another monitor, the extra screen space helps when doing work. Can have an internet browser with Wikipedia or something on one screen and his paper on the other.
I use triple monitors, having the extra screens really does improve productivity.
Speaking of productivity, maybe a new keyboard and/or mouse. A mechanical keyboard can increase his WPM by a fair bit if he's a touch typist. A better mouse simply because there more comfortable.
He has one of those fancy keyboards that is curved. IDK if it is mechanical but he is thinking about the mouse upgrade.
Something I suggested earlier today and he wants to give it a go but I have no idea which would be good. He wants a remote control and whatever else he needs to listen to radio stations and control the pc from a remote.
The other question is it worth upgrading to a touch screen for Windows 8? AND is there a wireless touch screen that only needs to be plugged in for power so he can move around with the screen.
So a tablet that is streaming the desktop of the PC essentially. Maybe buy a touchscreen laptop and set up remote view, I don't know of any dedicated device for that purpose (though it seems an awesome idea).
EDIT: Realized I missed half the question.
Dont know actually, I have never actually used Windows 8 or a touchscreen monitor. Though I do know you can divert the Metro interface and get the start menu back in the desktop, so I guess I'v been trying to fix the change rather than rolling with it
He thinks it would be cool to. I'd love to have like a 24" wide screen monitor that you could just pick up off it's base that acted as a charging station and use it like a tablet but just remote viewing device with touch screen.
Thinking about it now i'm surprised that it isn't actually a thing yet. It sort of exists in the console space as the Nintendo WiiU, but not on the desktop market yet.
Can even think of how it would work, a HDMI cable from the rig running into what is basically a modem and transmitting the footage through Wifi. It would allow desktop performance on a tablet. Throw some audio jacks and two USB ports on the screen so you can put on a mouse, keyboard and headphones and you have yourself a portable desktop.