The cost of textbooks is an important influential factor in whether students succeed or not in classes. Each semester, students make decisions as to whether or not to buy textbooks or pay the access codes for eBooks. These decisions impact the grades of the students as they progress towards completing their degrees. In the past, students have been able to borrow books from each other or purchase used versions of textbooks. Today, many eBooks are only available through access codes. This leaves few options for students struggling to pay for this valuable resource for their classes. In a 2016 survey sponsored by the Florida Virtual Campus Office of Distance Learning and Student Services, students shared how they deal with the high cost of textbooks and the impact upon their academic careers. Please see their responses below.
Statistics Courtesy of: Florida Virtual Campus Office of Distance Learning & Student Services, 2016
To address this problem, Florida Atlantic University formed the Textbook Affordability Committee (TAC). The goal of the committee was to explore ways to reduce the cost of textbooks and solutions to prevent placing students into situations of not having the valuable instruction materials they need. The Committee also had a working subcommittee (ACT) that focused on how to achieve free to student instructional materials.
The efforts of this committee resulted in the ACT Plan with the 3 A’s to affordable textbooks. The plan is to reward those faculty whom already use best practices to reduce the cost of textbooks in their classes. Faculty can submit their course for a review to earn either a Gold Affordability ($60 or less for course materials per class) or a Platinum Affordability seal (all materials are free to students). The seals can be placed on the syllabus and in the Canvas shell of the awarded courses.
To assist faculty that are wanting to improve the availability of the course material, the 3 A’s are pathways to affordability and earning the affordability badges. Each of the 3 A’s comes with support offered by the FAU libraries or the Center for eLearning. Peer reviewed grants are available through the Center for faculty interested in adapting free material for their class or authoring an eBook.
To learn more about how you can reduce the cost of textbook materials or to learn if your course is ready to earning a seal, go to the ACT website at http://fauelearning.com/faculty/affordable-curriculum-today/ .
Let’s do all we can to make students successful at FAU!