Cheap Readers Are An Option For Broke Students
March 2, 2005 12:47 PM
The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching (CET) organized two one-hour classes last week to help faculty explore the option of creating low-cost readers for their classes.
Pearson Custom Publishing conducted the classes to demonstrate the cost-effective aspects of condensing a large amount of textbook chapters and articles into one reader.
“How many times have you had an instructor say, 'This is the book you need, and you also need all the articles?' ” said Kevin Kelly, the assistant director for CET. “Or how many times have you not used your whole textbook?”
Professors who require their students to read materials from various sources for class may help the student financially by condensing this material into a reader, Kelly said.
According to Rob Strong, the general manager of the SFSU Bookstore, the average price of readers at the bookstore is about $18. The most expensive reader the bookstore offers this semester, for English 732, a seminar for Teaching English as a Second Language, costs $69.
“Usually they turn out cheaper,” said visual communications major Agustin Gonzales, 23, who was in the SFSU Bookstore last week looking for a reader for his weight training class. “Sometimes they’re not as big and bulky (as textbooks). They’re straight to the point as far as information. You don’t have to skip around in the chapters.”
Kelly, who organized the event, posted information about the two classes through the campus Web site. He also sent e-mails to department chairs and deans to alert faculty that might be interested in this new option. A total of nine faculty members attended the classes, Kelly said.
Aileen Hartunian, the acquisitions editor for Pearson, mediated the two meetings to show an overview of the advantages of creating a Pearson reader. However, according to Hartunian, 80 percent of the material in any custom reader must be from Pearson. This means that instructors wishing to include their own work, or any other third-party material that is not offered by Pearson, can do so only if the other four-fifths of the material is from Pearson.
However, there are other options for faculty wishing to create readers for their courses. The Rapid Copy Center, located on the first floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library, prints about 260 different course readers per semester, said Richard Uchida, the business officer for the center.
Professors must first submit to the bookstore the specific chapters or journal articles they wish to include in their reader. The bookstore staff will then contact the original publisher to obtain copyright clearance. Once the publisher and the bookstore have agreed upon a royalty amount, the reader is then submitted to the Rapid Copy Center where Uchida said they usually can be printed by the next day.
“The printing part is fast,” said Uchida. “What takes time is the copyright clearance.”
The copyright clearance can take anywhere from one to three weeks, according to Strong, with the average royalty amount being about $7 per reader.
Another low-cost option for faculty is to take advantage of the thousands of journal articles already posted on the Web site for the campus library, according to university librarian Deborah Masters. The university pays a subscription fee every year to give students and faculty the access to a vast amount of journal articles for research.
“What the library wants to do is give faculty an efficient repertoire of material to draw from,” said Masters.
The library can also post articles and text that is not currently offered on its Web site. After the rights are cleared by the bookstore, the text can be scanned into the database and accessed by students taking that specific course. A password is provided to the instructor that wishes to use the material, Masters said.
Masters also said that several chapters, but not entire textbooks, can be scanned.
Harold Larrimore, an English major, said he would rather have a textbook than a custom reader.
“I don't mind paying $40 for a hardcover text because it will last me,” said Larrimore, 34. “A reader won't last.”
Another drawback to readers is that students who usually sell their textbooks back at the end of a semester won’t be able to do so with readers. “(The information in the readers) changes every semester,” said Strong. “That’s the purpose of a reader, to be able to change the material.”
Undeclared student Lucy Ramos, 19, purchased a $10 reader for her Humanities 220 class last week. Ramos said she didn’t mind the price, but questioned the reader’s durability.
“I think $10 is pretty good, (but) anything over that would be stupid,” said Ramos. “You’re just paying for a bunch of (articles), and I’ll probably lose all the papers in this anyway.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University