What Does Tech Think: Are You Course Material Cost Conscious?

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The Situation:
When deciding on materials students will need for your classes, you try to be sensitive to students’ limited budgets. However, you also feel that students need to be prepared to make the investment in the materials needed to learn. How do you handle this dilemma?

The Response:
Amy Prichett said that if two books are equally useful, she picks the cheaper one.

“But there’s no use picking a useless $50 book over a more expensive one with instructional value,” said the associate professor in the School of Aerospace Engineering.

For her survey class, Carla Gerona intentionally uses “one of the cheapest textbooks on the market,” which comes in black and white, lowering the cost.

“I’m cost conscious in other classes, but in history, there’s no getting away from books,” said Gerona, an assistant professor in the School of History, Technology and Society.

To remedy this, she encourages students to get books from the library or use the interlibrary loan option.

“I minimize costs by posting critical materials on the Internet,” said Catherine Ross, a professor in the School of Architecture and director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development. “I also support the resale of books and other course materials at reduced prices.” 

Cost was one of the factors that led to Brian Kennedy’s recent decision to change textbooks.

“It’s important that students have access to more than a single textbook, so library reserves and my own book collection are also useful resources,” said the professor and associate chair of the School of Physics.

Jarrod Hayes, an associate professor in the School of International Affairs, assigns a variety of scholarly articles in his classes, reducing the need for textbooks.

“No matter what the cost, the question that needs to be addressed is ‘how will this help my students learn?’” said Donna Llewellyn, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

Llewellyn recommends utilizing the library’s electronic and physical reserves, which allow instructors to make resources accessible without the need for the students to purchase them.



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  • Created By:
    Amelia Pavlik
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  • Modified By:
    Fletcher Moore
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