When it comes to choosing course materials, it’s possible to provide quality and lower costs for your students — all it takes is a little careful consideration.
According to a report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs, 65% of students decided not to purchase a textbook because of the cost. Of those, 94% were concerned about their grades as a result. Actively taking measures to help reduce course material costs will not only help your students save, it can improve their learning experience.
1. Adopt (or readopt) an older edition. Unless there are significant changes between versions, selecting an older edition will give your students access to more used copies and a potentially lower list price.
2. Offer an edition with a digital version. Purchasing e-books instead of print copies can save students up to 80% off list price, while providing additional convenience and mobility.
3. In Course Director, select new and used (rather than just new). The key here is offering more options. The more choices you give your students, the more likely they are to choose the solution that works best for them, rather than avoiding purchasing the required title all together.
4. Steer clear of bundles, unless the extra components are actually necessary. Student Watch's™ Spring 2014 OnCampus® Research report on attitudes toward course materials shows that while students may be willing to spend more to purchase books with supplemental tools if they will reduce studying time or lead to a higher grade, cost is also an important factor. More precisely, the main determinant in whether or not to purchase the required title is the value associated with the price tag. So unless a prospective bundle will enhance a course or if most or all of the supplements will be used, avoid adopting bundles.
5. Consider authoring your own course pack — and using it for multiple terms. With the help of your account manager, your school can work with publishers like XanEdu and LAD Custom Publishing to design and create course materials that are both tailored precisely to your class and that may be less expensive than alternative texts.
6. Don’t see a title you’re looking for? We can help. If a low-cost title is not in our database for adoption, request it, and we'll find out if we can get it for your school. We can also help you research alternatives that will work with your program.
7. Look into OER. There are many resources out there to supplement the rest of your syllabus, like online lectures, classes and open source texts. For example, your school can adopt texts from OpenStax College or digital texts and courseware from Flat World Knowledge — your account manager can help you get started.
8. Work with your library. You can also make a difference by working with your school's library to loan more expensive texts to students.
9. Use the same book(s) for multiple sections of the same course. Work with other faculty members to determine if one text would be effective across the board for similar classes. If books are being used for more than one section, more copies will be able to be purchased and sold used, lowering their price.
10. Turn your adoptions in early or on time. When it’s time for buyback, the decision of which titles are purchased, what quantity and for what price is dependent on faculty adoptions. When we know a book will be used in the following semester, our goal is to obtain enough to cover the anticipated demand for used copies (for purchase and rental). When adoptions come in past the deadline, it’s more difficult to procure the titles used, and it’s likely that more will only be available new.