Blog #4

Title: Alternative University Textbooks

Part 1: Summary

The price of a student textbook for college classes is so steep that it has become somewhat of a mockery.  The article I am reviewing today discusses the transition many college professors are making in switching to cheaper online versions of the textbook.  To say textbook prices are steep is an understatement.  According to a 2014 study conducted by the Student Public Interest Research Group found that 65 percent of students skip out on purchasing textbooks due to the cost. Some professors, picking up on this trend, have switched to “open source” textbooks.  These books are written by faculty, peer reviewed, and available to the students for free.  I feel this is a extremely beneficial move,as I have personally been a student in a classroom using an open source textbook.  As a college student providing my own tuition, books can often be a struggle and there is a debate every semester as to whether I can afford to purchase the textbook for a class or if it is a class I will have to go without.  This way of thinking is extremely detrimental to the the student’s education.  Due to price monopolizing textbooks are driven to absurd amounts and become a resource that the majority of students do not have access to.

By switching to these open source texts, students would all be able to participate in the class to the best of their ability.  This is a much more favorable outcome than determining a student’s basic resources for a course based on the student’s socioeconomic standing.   I hope to see this trend continue, as this development will potentially make higher education a more realistic and holistic opportunity for those with lower socioeconomic standing.  The only problem I see with this is through switching to open source texts, textbook companies will push back in the opposite direction and attempt to raise copyright issues and discredit the open source materials.


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