Textbook use needs reform

By Quyen Nguyen

Many East Los Angeles College students struggle having a textbooks. Textbooks can be an important factor when it comes to student success in the class, but it can be really expensive to buy one.

The way college textbooks are bought and used is in need of change. The first change can be done through using free online textbooks. The second change can be done by limiting bundled textbook packages. Finally, professors should analyze the textbooks for their classes.

Besides buying a hard copy of textbooks, students can also use e-textbooks. These e-textbooks are textbooks that authors decide to make available for students, to either use online or download to their portable device or hard-drive.

The physical size of a textbook can be an issue. It is a hassle for students taking multiple classes who have to carry heavy books around campus. E-textbooks give students the benefit of having multiple books on one portable device or hard drive, such as laptop, computer or flash drive.

Therefore, instead of carrying heavy books around campus, students can easily carry laptop or iPad with the e-books ready to use. Also, students will be able to connect the flash drive to the computer in the computer lab, and the e-books are available for them to study on their own time. Also, they can make copies of the e-textbooks to use in class.

It’s convenient to have e-textbooks. For instance, many e-textbooks offer search functions, which help students search for information faster than looking through the textbook’s index.

Also, if students want to include a lengthy quote for a research paper, they can easily copy and paste it, instead of typing it manually.
Some e-textbooks are only available online, which would require students to have Internet access. Others allow students to download the e-textbooks to portable device or hard drive, which can be used without having to be connect to the internet.

A bundled textbook package comes with supplemental materials such as CD-ROMS or study guides. The issue here is that the student cannot purchase the textbook by itself and are sometimes forced to purchase the whole package, which costs so much more than the textbook itself.

According to the California Public Interest Research Group, half of all college textbooks come bundled. Most of the time, professors assigned bundled textbooks and don’t even use the materials in the package. This leads to students suffering with overpriced and unnecessary materials. Although, the Associated Student Union offer book rental, not all textbooks and materials are available. Students can purchase used books and can also rent the materials that are available at the ASU book rental.

Some professors require students to purchase the book in the beginning of the semester, but never endup using it while lecturing or assigning homework. Some students end up not flipping through a single page of the textbook, even though they have bought it.
Professors should start putting the students into consideration by exploring the use of online textbooks to reduce the burdens of students’ tuition.

Purchasing textbooks has become one of the most difficult issues of college life. Students can always purchase the right textbooks at ELAC bookstore, but they might end up wondering if they can get the same book at TextMania at a lower price. Sometimes when you decide to go to TextMania to purchase the books, chances are, you might not find the right edition.

The way textbooks are being purchased and used need to be improved. Students go to college to learn and shouldn’t be frustrated with purchasing textbooks.

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