Textbooks are an essential factor for most student success in the classroom, but often times they are very expensive. In the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, the discussion centered on textbook costs and plans for how the university could lower the costs for students.
Textbook and Instructional Material Affordability
The goal of the Textbook and Instructional Material Affordability report is to identify how much students are spending on textbooks and classroom materials, and figuring out ways to lower that cost. The number one way to reduce the costs for students is for there to be a standard textbook across all sections of a specific course, excluding honors.
Plans to keep costs down for students include a new adoption system with Follet and the UNF Bookstore. This adoption system will make faculty choose a textbook 45 days prior to the first day of classes. When choosing a textbook, the faculty can see the cost of the instructional material before they decide on which textbook to use.
Another plan to keep costs down for students is a pilot program with Pearson’s IncludED program. This program will increase the number of eTextbooks available for students, and the program is expected to result in substantial savings for students. The program could start as soon as the upcoming spring semester.
One last plan that the university is looking into is having the UNF library purchase a set of textbooks for general education courses that require expensive materials, like Biology 1, and loan them to students who have financial difficulties. This plan is still being reviewed and will be talked about again next semester.
In the report, general education classes were looked at and each department gave an explanation to why they chose the textbooks they did.
In the Nutrition and Dietetics department, the faculty decide together on which classroom materials are to be used, and then the faculty and adjuncts are trained on how to use that material.
In the English lower-level classes, there are two committees comprised of all the faculty and adjuncts who decide together on what textbooks to use. Full-time faculty can select their own texts and syllabi if they want.
In the Physics department, the textbook is chosen by individual faculty members, not by a board. It is noted that for lower-level courses, faculty are choosing more free textbooks off the internet. For most Physics lab courses, the department faculty write the lab manuals that are being used and are sold at a “very low price”.
The Art department has a committee which selects the material that is being used. In Philosophy, Psychology, and Music, most of the courses that do not have multiple sections are usually “instructor’s choice.”
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