That’s right, they are addressing a relevant student issue in what appears to be a competent way.
The Associated Students of Madison’s Affordable Textbook Campaign presented a resolution addressing campus textbook policies to the Faculty Senate’s University Committee Monday.
ATC made several recommendations to the committee. They suggested professors provide book lists at least one month before classes start, use new editions of textbooks only when necessary and become educated about alternative textbook options, such as open source and electronic options.
All of these are very good ideas, and well overdue. A couple of thoughts:
1. UW-Lacrosse has a rental system in place in which students pay, I believe, something like $75 at the beginning of the semester to rent all the books they need for that semester. I realize this isn’t a viable option for our entire campus, but why not try to get some funding to do this for huge gateway courses like Chem 103, etc. ? This would also help deal with the problem of publishers no longer publishing older editions. We would already have as many books as needed, so we wouldn’t have to go back to buy more in large numbers.
2. Bring the fight to freshman. If this business about getting book lists earlier is going to have any effect, people have to know how this helps them. Freshman come in and the bookstore is easy and obvious. After a few years some students break out of this habit, but most do not. An aspect aimed at teaching incoming freshman, or more importantly their parents, how to find cheap textbooks online, and how much less expensive they are, would be huge.