Current Editorial: Professors must get on board with online textbooks

Being a student is expensive enough. So why add more of a debt with textbook prices that are uncalled for?

When Gov. Jerry Brown passed bills 1052 and 1053, it allowed students the access to an online library of free electronic textbooks. Perhaps the most successful attempt at lightening the rising costs of California colleges.

The bills were recently signed into law on Sept. 27 and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. There have been no decisions made on which textbooks will be chosen, but the 50 courses will be selected on criteria of highest enrollment and those most likely to generate cost savings.

These bills create the California Open Education Resources Council, to be formed by March 1, 2013, which will be comprised of faculty members from California Community College, California State and University of California campuses. This committee will be responsible for developing and reporting the progress of this program to both the Legislature and the Governor by July 1, 2013 and is required to solicit input from students.

To have 50 of California’s most popular courses is a great start. Teachers should help out students by looking into using the open sourced material.

There is no reason any textbook should cost more than $200, especially with more students relying on money from financial aid.

“The financial aid takes care of the class, but then the textbook is almost as expensive,” said Marie Trebley, an art and new media major here at American River College.

“It’s like adding another class. You need to pay for it out of pocket.”

Teachers now more than ever need to look into using the textbooks allowed as well as offer them as the class textbook.

Some students have chosen to try their luck in a class while forgoing to buy the book because of the high costs. A lot of students are ending up struggling to keep up with the class and, in some cases, dropping it all together.

Although it’s a great start, a little more should be done to persuade the teachers to be more on board with the online books.

“I have no problem with open sourced textbooks being open sourced,” said American River College History Professor Christopher Padgett. “It’s the quality here that matters most to me.”

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