Textbooks have crucial information for learning course material in college classrooms.
For instance, there are a plethora of teachers who base their tests off of the questions inside of the course textbook. Students who own and study the textbook usually receive in higher scores.
Sadly, one of the biggest problems at DSU is the lack of textbooks available at the library.
Ellen Bonadurer, library paraprofessional, said when it comes to choosing which textbooks the school receives, it is solely up to the faculty.
When it comes to textbook decision-making, faculty focus on two major factors: connectivity and cost.
Bonadurer said: “Some only have one copy. Some we have two or three copies, which really makes it nice for a class that’s a high demand class… the majority we have one copy of them. That’s why they check out for like one to four hours. And we strongly recommend students working in groups so they can share the materials.”
The limited supply of these textbooks is due to budgeting. This means professors have to choose what they think is the best course material for their students, while also keeping it inside the budget. Most of the time this proves to be a lot harder than it sounds.
Textbook companies want to generate as much revenue as they can. One way they lure teachers in to buying their textbook is by giving them a free copy.
“Sometimes they can get free copies from the publishers, because it’s logistic… the publishers want you to use their textbook because that means the whole class of students is going to use [that publisher’s] textbook.” Bonadurer said.
Bonadurer said that the publishers usually give them a free teaching copy and occasionally they’ll throw in an additional copy for no charge. These usually end up being the copies sent in to the library.
According to Dixie State University’s instruction and curriculum policy #605, faculty are required to provide the library with at least one copy of their selected course material. But according to Bonadurer, lots of them are unavailable due to the school’s budget.
Bonadurer suggests looking for used books online or anywhere around campus.
Bonadurer said: “There used to be clubs on campus that dealt with used books. They would buy them back from the students and they would give the students more money than the bookstore would and then they would resell them at a lower price.”
Unfortunately, a conflict of interest clause with the university put an end to this due to taking business away from the bookstore.
Most professors recommend their students buy textbooks used on websites like Amazon rather than used textbooks from the bookstore due to the difference in price.
Emma Lanners, interim OER librarian, said DSU is currently investing into the idea of Open Educational Resources.
Lanners said: “Obviously we have to look at what’s best for the students at the end of the day. What’s going to make their learning outcomes and allow them to have the best learning experience?”
These resources are free to access for anyone and can include an e-book/textbook format, lectures, videos, powerpoints, etc. This content is being produced by faculty members across the world who are able to connect and share their ideas with one another.
Lanners said: “For example, in Biology 1015… last summer they wrote a wholly unique lab manual for that class and replaced one that was costing students money. And they provided it for free… so all students that took Biology 1015 last fall didn’t have to pay for a lab manual.”