Professors: Get on our level
Just like Pavlov’s dogs, we have been trained to associate textbooks with college necessity.
Like tuition rates, textbooks have skyrocketed. Since 1978, the cost of college textbooks has risen 812 percent. Yes, that number is correct: 812 percent. That number is pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index.
Nearly all students have been cajoled into thinking physical textbooks are another must-purchase item every semester.
It’s 2013, people. The bigger question is why are we still buying them? Or at the very least, why haven’t they improved?
We are living in the digital age and most information in our textbooks can be found on the Internet. Not only that, most of the information can be accessed for free or at greatly-reduced prices.
What if a professor told his or her class: “I’m going to require you all to NOT purchase a textbook for my class”?
Can you imagine? The savings in one classroom alone would be obscene.
How about we put it on the professors to find trustworthy, reliable and practical information online that supplements what they teach you in their classroom.
In this scenario, the professor would send out an email to his or her students with links to reliable and trustworthy websites that supplement what was taught in the classroom. The professor would be happy that the students are engaging in the material. The students would be ecstatic that the professor is trying to appeal to them on a medium on which they spend the majority of their time.
If a professor did not feel comfortable linking students to someone else’s published material, they could be encouraged to build their own website of virtual supplements. It would be graphics-heavy, littered with YouTube-embedded videos, podcasts, links to Twitter and Facebook and more.
Perhaps the reason higher education is faltering is because we are catering to the professor and not to the student.
Perhaps this is wishful thinking. But perhaps this could be reality at some point
What is factual, at the moment, is that we are still buying expensive textbooks; however, there are ways to alleviate those costs while we wait for a better solution.
We have compiled a list of alternatives to buying textbooks:
Rental programs are a sure-fire way to save some money.
In most cases, especially in your general education classes, once you’ve finished a class, it is likely that you’ll never open that textbook again. (This could be because the same information — or likely, more up-to-date information — could be found much more quickly on the Internet.) So, why not just rent the textbook for a few months and then turn it back in?
If you feel it’s necessary to keep your dust collector (err, textbook), buy it used and buy it from an online retailer.
What could be even better is to find a buddy in your class, go in together, rent a textbook and split the total cost for even more savings.
Our attention and gaze is affixed to tiny glass screens called smartphones and tablets, so maybe someone will realize that and make our learning and studying an interactive and engaging experience.
Learning and studying from a textbook is so 1800s. Let’s bring our studying and learning into the digital age.