Providing Timely Textbook Information to Students
I am writing to remind you of the following target dates for submitting text book information to the KU Bookstores:
Spring Semester: November 1st
Summer Semester: April 1st
Fall Semester: May 1st
The Higher Education Opportunity Act took effect July 1, 2010, and requires the University to inform students at the time of enrollment what textbooks and supplemental materials are required and/or recommended for a course.
The intent of this legislation is to ensure students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. To encourage all involved parties (i.e. faculty, administration, publishers, KU Bookstore) to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students. Some items to consider before submitting such requests are:
- Check the price: Either through independent research, by inquiring with KU Bookstore staff, or from publisher representatives involved in the process. It is worth noting that publisher representation often reference the “net” price to faculty, which references the new book cost to the KU Bookstore, which will differ from the retail price.
- Check the edition: If a new edition has become available, ask yourself if updates to the content are significant enough to necessitate such an update to your request. There is a high likelihood the KU Bookstore either has or can easily obtain older editions at a dramatically reduced cost to the student. Students may also have more cost effective options when searching the online marketplace independently.
- Review Open Educational Resources (OER) Options: Perhaps there is freely accessible and open licensed content available that fits within your instructional framework?
- Unbundling the textbook: While reviewing your content submission, especially content that is bundled with additional items (traditionally recommended from publisher representation as a means of cost reduction), consider how necessary each component is for the students and your course. There are many unique adaptive learning tools that are extremely valued, however if an added item isn’t truly necessary, but is simply thrown in with a textbook, we can unbundle the textbooks for that reason. This will allow students the freedom to obtain used books from their campus bookstore, the online marketplace, perhaps rent the book, and even sell the book back, passing along cost savings to future students.
See our own Doug Ward’s comments on these topics in this article in The Chronicle.
The KU Bookstores, as an affiliate of the university, has assumed responsibility for providing online textbook pricing information for the university. In order for the KU Bookstores to provide this information to students, you must submit text book information by the deadlines listed above.
Textbook adoptions must be provided to the KU Bookstores, even if you do not intend to order course materials through them, so that the information about required textbooks and supplemental materials will appear in the official online requirement listings on KU Bookstore’s website, which also has a direct link from Enroll & Pay, as required by this law. Please also list any additional supplies that you will require the student to purchase for each class including clickers, goggles, lab coats, or supplies and reference packs. If you are not using such materials for your class, the form must still be submitted, indicating there are no required readings or supplies for the course.
The KU Bookstore offers three ways for you to submit your course materials needs. You may complete the online requisition form, email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the customized course link included in the automated reminder emails from the KU Bookstores.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call one of the following individuals:
- Leah Kohlman, Course Materials Requisition Specialist – email@example.com – 864-4142
- Kyle Whitley, Book Division Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org – 864-4658
- James Rourke, Assistant Director, Academic Resources – email@example.com – 864-2478
For any questions regarding Custom Printing or Course-packs contact:
- Rachel Barnes, Print Production Manager (Jayhawk Ink) – firstname.lastname@example.org – 864-2470
For any questions regarding Open Educational Resources contact:
- Ada Emmett, Head of the David Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright – email@example.com – 864-8831
I am aware this law may require some faculty members to move up their usual timelines for submitting orders for course readings and supplemental materials. The intent of the legislation is to give students the best information available about comparative pricing. I know we all share the goal of helping students stretch their textbook dollars as far as possible and increasing access and affordability for all students.
Thank you for your assistance in carrying out this responsibility.
Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Office of the Provost
The University of Kansas