Employees, Students Donate 86 Textbooks as Part of Access Effort

Marc S. Posner
Friday, September 03, 2010
Cypress College employees and students have donated 86 textbooks to the Library for use as part of the Textbook Collection maintained to provide access to these educational materials that students otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

The donations come in a year when funding doesn’t otherwise exist to purchase these textbooks.
They are also part of a broader effort in which faculty have taken a number of steps to help reduce the cost of materials used in their courses.

Here are some examples:

•    Last year the Communication Studies Department agreed to adopt one textbook (as opposed to instructors ordering different ones). As a result the publisher agreed to lower its cost.

•    Professor Les Doak eliminated any requirement for a printed textbook in his classes. Instead, he only requires online access to a publisher site, which is considerably cheaper than printed texts. “I am trying this as an experiment, and I see that quite a few students have already read the first assigned reading. It also allows me to customize the reading requirement, so they do not have to read the entire text,” he said three days into the semester.

•    “I use older editions as long as possible, including older readers that cost just a few dollars on Amazon.com at this point,” said Becky Floyd. “I recently switched all 101 courses to use a book that costs less than what we were previously using because it is a superior text for the price (note that this book also comes in an expanded/full edition, but I went with the “Essentials” edition because it was less costly). I let my students know when books come in e-book formats which cost a lot less. I tell them about the reserve desk. I remind them that they can get used books online for cheap. This semester I am providing my lab students with a self-written lab manual at no cost.”

•    David Halahmy allows students to use older editions of the same text book. “I just had one student e-mail me a couple days ago, she found an edition that is just one edition earlier for 50 cents! I have had several other students tell me the same thing.”

•    The Biology Department has been working with the textbook publishers to make customized textbooks for their courses. “This generally means that we can cut out sections of the book that we do not use, which makes the book cheaper,” said Stephanie Spooner. “We have also had some texts ordered in “loose leaf” form, unbound. This saves the students about $50 and they can bring just sections of the textbook to class.” She also added that several biology faculty have put together their own lab books or gotten rid of lab books all together so that students do not have to buy a separate lab and lecture text.