By Erik Luna
Instructors need to figure out whether their textbooks are essential to their classes and students need to realize the textbook can make a difference in their grade.
Textbooks are a vital part of a student’s success in the classroom, yet some instructors choose to ignore the book and focus on their class lectures instead, leaving students with one expensive paperweight.
Participating in a class where not even half of the material comes from the book, but from the mind of the instructor can be both infuriating and helpful.
Infuriating because they might want a certain answer from their perspective and not some author the student has never met before, and helpful because instructors do tend to simplify concepts to fit a certain time schedule.
In the past I’ve had instructors who swore to the class that a passable grade was not in the works, unless you read the chosen chapters. Then, how is it that I received an A without flipping through a single page?
It’s essentially a gamble, a very stupid one at that. Students don’t know the instructor’s methods of teaching and shouldn’t assume they have figured everything out.
Reading through the textbooks increases your chance of passing. Why not read the material and choose to stay on top of things?
Instructors can play a part in this as well. Some instructors flat-out tell students not to buy the textbooks, because they don’t want the students to waste money on a book that’s going to sit and collect dust.
This plan at least gives students an option in the matter. Other instructors feel that the students need to have the textbook. It’s all up to the student. Although, the Associated Student Union has a solution to the textbook conundrum – book rental.
The only problem with this solution is that not all textbooks are available with the ASU book rental program. Students who bought their textbooks, can simply go around and try to sell their book around campus during the first few weeks of class.
Running around trying to find the customer amidst their class schedules, making sure the book is still the right edition, posting up flyers and, of course, those pesky flakes that say they will buy it, but they never do.
Most students who want to save some money simply find a textbook, or borrow a textbook and make photocopies of the required material. They spend less money, but little more time. Anything is better than buying a book that won’t be used.
Instructors should simply analyze their classes and figure out if the textbook is really necessary for the course. If not, the students will surely appreciate the extra money in their pocket.
Corrections were made to this story from the print version.