Every semester, in universities across the country, students are typically required to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books for their classes. With bookstore prices as high as they are, many students – especially those without cars or parking spaces in the same town – get their books through Web sites like Amazon.com during the first week of classes in order to save a usually sizable amount.

As a result of students only being able to determine what books are required by physically going to the bookstore and checking the shelves, professors and students alike are forced to adjust their schedules in order to accommodate the many weeks without textbooks.

There is, however, a way to ensure students get their books for a lower price, while still being able to have the books arrive in time for class.

Since this is an academic issue, the Center for Academic Support should work with the bookstore in listing which books are required for classes, either through the course search pages or through the Access system, which would allow students to see which books they need to buy for their individual schedules.

While it will take a bit of programming to give students access to a list of what books they need on Access, a simple list of required books for each course under the course description would be a simple, if crude, way of allowing students a better opportunity to find required academic material for the lowest price possible.

There are a couple things that need to happen, however, if UR truly wants to improve the quality of student life. There should be a simple way for professors to submit which books are required for their classes to both order the required texts through the bookstore and list the books on UR’s academic Web site.

This will mean that professors will have to submit their reading list toward the beginning of summer in order to allow Academic Support time to process and display the information.

Professors can also play a more direct role in making their students happy before the semester even starts. By working with the Information Technology Services, professors can learn how to use simple Web page building programs to list which texts are needed for various classes, which can then be linked directly from the text in the course description pages.

The fact is that if UR professors and administrators want to dramatically improve the quality of student life and lower some of the costs of college, there are a variety of options available that can be easily and quickly put into action to save students’ wallets.

Schnee can be reached at cschnee@campustimes.org.



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