Textbooks Used to Promote Global Peace

Educational experts from Europe and the Arab states are meeting on June 14th and 15th to discuss the instructional design of textbooks that encourage peace-building and global citizenship. The meeting, titled "Thinking and Building Peace Through Innovative Textbook Design," is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

According to the UNESCO, the 25 researchers, textbook authors and textbook publishers aim to "produce guidelines for promoting peace and intercultural understanding through curricula, textbooks and learning media within the UNESCO-ISESCO Cooperation Programme." The discussions are to focus on practical ways of incorporating the concepts, attitudes and skills for global understanding into textbooks and other learning materials. The meeting will also serve as support for actions already in place for content analysis and revision of textbooks in the two regions.

UNESCO/IBE's publication Textbooks and Quality Learning for All: Some Lessons Learned from International Experiences (2006, Eds Cecilia Braslavsky and Katya Hall) will be launched during the meeting.

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Source:

Bernard, J.. “Experts discuss textbooks as instruments for peace.” United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization . 14 Jun 2007. http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=53469&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html



Technology Costs Students, Then Saves Them

Technology has once again proven to be friend and foe. The advent of high-tech interactive learning materials has prompted its addition (along with a price increase) to college textbooks—without the consent of the average college student. On the other hand, new developments in technology are now allowing students to access e-books and other downloadable learning materials for only a fraction of the traditional textbook price, if not for free.

Critics of the textbook industry claim that the practice of bundling textbooks with special Web site access and interactive tools such as CDs and DVDs is just another excuse for raising textbook prices. The standardized bundles force students to buy bundled textbooks whether they want the interactive materials or not. Furthermore, when students go to sell the textbooks back at the end of the year, they are often either unable to do so, or have to settle for a lower buyback price because the interactive tools and Web site access can only be used once with the special code. Publishers argue that the textbook bundles are meant to enhance the learning experience by supplementing passive learning (reading) with active learning (interactive tools). Either way, bundled textbooks are here to stay and students have to pay for them.

For some college students anxious about paying skyrocketing prices for their textbooks, technology will also prove to be their saving grace. Ex-Microsoft executive Bruce Jacobsen has launched a new electronic textbook publishing house called Kinetic Books. An Introduction to Physics textbook for example, looks a lot like a regular textbook except that the chapters are enhanced with animation and videos that can demonstrate physics concepts like velocity and acceleration.

Teachers are also using technology to create a more interactive learning environment. Michigan State University biology professor Diane Ebert-May no longer uses textbooks in her classroom. She assigns an assortment of reading materials and articles to aid classroom instruction.

“Biology changes so rapidly that most of the readings in my class are not much older than 2004,” said Ebert-May. She does, however, keep some publishers' complimentary copies of textbooks on hand in the classroom as reference materials.

CampusBooks.com is a leading supporter of technology that helps students save money on textbooks. We are proud to include e-book retailers in our list of bookstore partners that are displayed on price comparison pages. That way, when students are searching for and comparing prices on textbooks on our site, they will indeed get the lowest price possible—e-books included.

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Source:

Kingsbury, Alex. “Textbooks Enter the Digital Era.” U.S. News and World Report 08 OCT 2006 http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/articles/061008/16books.htm


Government Advisory Committee Reports on Making Textbooks More Affordable

The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA) submitted a report to Congress on Friday that discussed their findings about the current state of textbook affordability. The one-year study was commissioned at the request of Congressmen Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and David Wu (D-OR) in June 2006 to investigate ways to make textbooks more affordable for students. In the letter requesting the study, the Advisory Committee was asked to:

· Investigate further the problem of rising textbook prices.

· Determine the impact of rising textbook prices on students' postsecondary education.

· Make recommendations to Congress, the Secretary, and other stakeholders on what can be done to make textbooks more affordable.[1]

The Advisory Committee determined that "all stakeholders—students, faculty, colleges, bookstores, and publishers as well—are victims of the failure of this market"[2]

The Committee found that all stakeholders had valid interests that needed to be protected when making textbooks affordable and so there is no reason to blame any one stakeholder. Instead, the main reason that textbooks are not affordable is "the underlying structural imperfection in the market for textbooks and learning materials"[3]—that is, the market is driven by supply instead of by demand. Faculty select the textbooks, the bookstores order them and students must pay for them. The end result is a market that is not driven by consumer demands, which ultimately results in a disregard for product price.

In keeping with its focus on solutions instead of blame, the ACSFA identified short-term solutions and a long-term solution to the textbook affordability problem. The eight short-term solutions are:

1. Strengthen the used textbook market

2. Utilize faculty textbook selection guidelines

3. Provide key information to students and parents

4. Increase library resources

5. Adopt alternatives that lower price

6. Implement a textbook rental program

7. Improve related financial aid policies

8. Utilize 21st century technology

 

The long-term solution proposed by the Advisory Committee is a national digital marketplace. In theory, the infrastructure of the marketplace would consist of a transaction and rights clearinghouse, numerous marketplace Web applications, and hosted infrastructure resources.[4] The California State University is currently doing innovative work in the area of building such a digital marketplace. The initiative began in 2003 as way to "increase student and faculty success by reducing expenses for educational content, hardware, and software."[5]

The CSU Marketplace plans to serve the technological needs of students, faculty, and staff with both no-cost and fee-based educational content. The Advisory Committee hopes that "when fully developed, CSU's statewide solution can be the first step toward a national digital marketplace for voluntary use by other states, colleges, faculty, and students."[6]

CampusBooks.com is following these developments very closely and we've made digital textbooks available on our site. The future of the textbook market is fast heading in the direction of electronic textbooks, but in the meantime, CampusBooks.com is helping students save money on books by providing a robust marketplace to buy and sell textbooks quickly and inexpensively.

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References:

[1] Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, “Textbook Study Fact Sheet.” 2007. http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/acsfa/txtbkfactsht.pdf

[2-6] Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance , “Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable, MAY 2007.” Textbook Cost Study. May 2007. http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/acsfa/turnthepage.pdf


Students Willingly Shell Out Money For More Green

At least 14 campuses in the United States and four in Canada have passed student-approved fee increases to purchase renewable energy and/or reduce carbon emissions. Students are in favor of the $10-$25 a year fee hikes because the relatively small amount of money adds up to a lot of impact.

Students at the University of Florida voted for a $14 fee increase that is expected to raise approximately $645,000 a year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their campus. At Oregon State University, an $8.50 fee increase is estimated to be enough to offset all of the campus's electricity usage through the purchase of renewable energy credits. With the small fee increase, the currently coal-operated Oregon State University will be able to look into wind power purchases.

"There's the risk that they [students] will say, 'Well, we're funding this, so we can do whatever now,' " said Brandon Trelstad, Oregon State University's campus sustainability coordinator. "The beauty of the fee is if campus energy consumption goes up dramatically, so will the fee the next year if we want to continue to offset 100 percent of Oregon State's consumption."

Many colleges are supporting student efforts to go green by matching students' monetary contributions. Other colleges, like Oregon State University, have officially made the pledge to go green with their students. Oregon State University's president, signed the American Colleges and University President Climate Commitment as the vote for the fee increase was passed by students.

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Source:

Powers, Elia. “Cents and Sustainability.” Inside High Ed 18 MAY 2007 http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/18/fees.


 

 

 

Invasion of Privacy, or Protection of Property?

Wisconsin‘s Madison City Council has just passed legislation that regulates the sale of used textbooks by identifying who is selling what.

The ordinance, which will take effect in mid-July, requires students to provide valid photo identification when selling a used textbook back to a bookstore. Bookstores are then required to fill out a form identifying the book’s author, title, ISBN and the person selling the book. If the seller can not provide valid photo I.D., he or she will have to provide a social security number and the bookstore is to log a detailed physical description of the seller. These records are to be kept on file for six months, or be submitted to the Madison Police Department.

The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce the incidence of textbook thefts and re-sale for quick cash. However, there is concern that keeping records of what books people own and sell is a violation of their First Amendment rights. In addition, it is difficult to narrow down what exactly qualifies as a textbook. Classes about sensitive topics like human sexuality and women’s studies may require “textbooks” that are just regular books. This means there will be a record kept of who at one point owned and sold back those sensitive-topic books. A requirement to keep record of such sensitive information makes community members like Sandra Torkildson, owner of A Room of One’s Own Feminist Bookstore in Madison, uncomfortable.

“For over 30 years as a bookseller, I have never kept records of what my customers buy here,” said Torkildson. “Our store sells many books on sensitive social and political issues. Since the Patriot Act went into effect, we have been even more careful to make sure that no records link a customer’s name to any book we sell or purchase.”

Stacy Harbaugh of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin expressed concern that the new ordinance may breach privacy and expose students to identity theft.

“If all this information is stored together, are bookkeepers really prepared to keep a lock and key on all this?” Harbaugh said.

Alderman Eli Judge, District 8, was the co-sponsor of the ordinance. He believes the ordinance will be a strong deterrent to on-campus textbook theft.

“With class schedules and course book lists already recorded by the university, these logs will not store any information that could be construed as private,” said Judge. “During my campaign, I spent hours speaking to students at the doors about issues that mattered to them, and the frequency of crime came up again and again. This ordinance is a small but important step toward making our campus a safer place.”

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Sources:

Judge, Eli. “A First Step for Student Safety.” Eli Judge Madison’s 8th District Alder. 01 MAY 2007. Eli Judge. http://elijudge.org/2007/05/a_first_step_for_student_safet.html

Mueller, Beth. “Textbook ID plan passes.” The Badger Herald 02 MAY 2007. http://badgerherald.com/news/2007/05/02/textbook_id_plan_pas.php

Schoepp, Brittany. “Madison City Council OK’s rules for used books.” Wisconsin State Journal 02 MAY 2007. http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/index.php?ntid=131957&ntpid=3

Schwartz, Nomi. “When Selling Used Textbooks Is a Privacy Issue.” Bookselling This Week. 09 MAY 2007. American Booksellers Association. http://news.bookweb.org/freeexpression/5268.html


NACS Gets Involved with the Senator's Bill

Last time, we brought to your attention that Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., has introduced bill (S 945) in the U.S. Senate to regulate textbook price disclosures and posting requirements. To summarize, the bill would require publishers to offer bundled textbook materials in unbundled form, provide the ISBN and price of textbook in the course schedule, and provide the textbook requirement for each class to every bookstore that requests it. All these rules are meant to make textbooks more affordable to students. So who, in the world, would fight this bill?

The least likely organizations: your bookstores. The National Association of College Bookstores (NACS), which has 3,170 collegiate retailer[1] members, "opposes legislation that includes mandates that restrict the sale of faculty adopted course materials, including bundles"[2] Why? The NACS claims that limiting their ability to sell textbook bundles would undermine the ability of their college stores to "support the academic mission of the colleges and universities they serve."[3]

According to the Used Textbook Association (UTA), a group of wholesalers and bookstores that believe in the promotion of used textbooks as an affordable alternative, only 19 percent of students who have used the bundled materials find them useful[4]. Because many bundled materials (i.e. CDs and DVDs) have one-time use codes, students have a hard time reselling the book after they are done since codes are only issued with new books.

The NACS is currently working with Durbin's staff to discuss revisions to the bill. Hopefully, the main benefits of the bill will not be watered down by the NACS's influence.


[1] According to the NACS "Testimony to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance." September 19, 20006: http://www.nacs.org/public/NACSTestimonyACSFA.pdf.

[2] According to the NACS "FAQ on Bundles." April 2006: http://www.nacs.org/common/research/faq_bundles.pdf.

[3] According to the NACS "FAQ on Bundles." April 2006: http://www.nacs.org/common/research/faq_bundles.pdf.

[4] College Store Executive. January 2007: http://www.usedtextbookassociation.org/pdf/UTA_college_store_exec.pdf.


Multiple Textbook Time-Saver

In response to users' requests, CampusBooks.com has launched the Textbook Bulk Upload feature, which allows sellers to upload up to 100 textbooks at a time for sale. This new feature will save time for sellers who have more than one or two textbooks to sell, but don't want to sit around and list each book individually. Listing books is simple and easy:

  • Log into CampusBooks to access your account.
  • Click on "List Multiple Books."
  • Open the Excel file with the spreadsheet that has been pre-formatted for your convenience.
  • Type all your ISBNs into that one document along with what condition the textbooks are in and how much you'd like to sell them for. The spreadsheet should look like this:

Sample Spreadsheet

  • Go back to your account page, click on the button to upload the file and you're done!

Your list of textbooks is then posted to the CampusBooks Marketplace for sale at the price that you determined. Everything–from the format of the Excel sheet to the upload process–is designed to be user-friendly and easy to understand so you don't waste time trying to figure out complicated directions.

An extra hour of not having to upload textbooks online means an extra hour of lounging on the beach or doing absolutely nothing, so "work smarter, not harder!" After all, wasn't that the point of getting a college education with those textbooks in the first place?To try out the Textbook Bulk Upload feature, just log into your account and under "Sell Books," click on "List Multiple Books." If you don't have an account, get one free on our secure site. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions/problems!

Read more »


Senator Steps Up to Make Textbooks Cheaper

The cost of college textbook prices is climbing at four times the rate of inflation, according to information released by Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin (D) via the State News Service in April 2007. The average student spends $900 a year on textbooks. This is ridiculous, considering that the average cost of tuition and fees at a public four-year institution is $5,836[1]. That means textbooks make up about 15 percent of the cost of attending college!

Durbin is proposing a bill that aims to make college textbooks and supplemental materials more affordable and easily accessible to college students. The bill is called the College Textbook Affordability Act. If passed, it would:

1. Require publishers to inform college faculty of:

  • A history of the textbook's revisions and whether the textbook and supplemental materials are available in a potentially lower-priced alternative format.
  • The price of the textbooks and supplemental material they are trying to market.

2. Requires publishers who bundle course material to offer the textbooks and supplemental material in unbundled versions.

Ed. Note: Thank goodness for this one! Every one knows that those CDs included in bundled books will just end up being the most expensive drink coasters a college student will ever own.

3. Require colleges receiving federal assistance to include the ISBN and retail price of textbooks and supplemental materials in the course schedule.

Ed. Note: Goody! Now we can compare prices online and order textbooks before we spend hours photocopying the library's edition to study for our midterm. Plus, with ISBNs given to us, there will be no chance of ordering the wrong book.

4. Require schools, when asked, to provide bookstores with access to the course schedule, ISBN numbers of course material, and the maximum and current course enrollment numbers.

Ed. Note: Some colleges already provide this information, but it will make it way more convenient to be able to purchase books in bundles according to each class instead of switching back and forth from window to window comparing total overall prices.

The bill has been ok'd by the Senate and is now waiting for approval from the House of Representatives. For more information about this bill, please visit http://durbin.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=271751.


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[1] According to Collegeboard.com, a Web site that administers admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid and enrollment programs for students. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/4494.html


Textbook prices just keep going up, as I’m sure you’re all painfully aware! We know textbook prices are not exactly a riveting topic, but having all been college students, we know that although textbook prices are not exciting, saving money is ! We believe that it is important to keep up on the happenings of the textbook publishing world so that we can pass that knowledge on to the people who need it most: you. So check back often because we will be updating this blog at least once a week with textbook news that will put money in your pocket. For our more personal and revealing blog, check out our Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/campusbooks.


Who are we?
We are an online shopping comparison Web site for books. This includes textbooks, trade books, rare books, general interest books, etc. Any book that you’re looking for, from Bridget Jones’s Diary to Introduction to Psychology , we’ve got it. The main purpose of our site is to allow users to search over 40 different online bookstores at the same time, just by entering the title or ISBN of the book. You can search for your book and we will find the best price for that book. Easy huh? To see a sample of what it would look like, click on any of the previously mentioned titles. You can also visit our Web site for more information about us: http://www.campusbooks.com

Why are we blogging?
Textbook prices just keep going up, as I'm sure you're all painfully aware! We know textbook prices are not exactly a riveting topic, but having all been college students, we know that although textbook prices are not exciting, saving money is. We believe that it is important to keep up on the happenings of the textbook publishing world so that we can pass that knowledge on to our consumers. So check back often because we will be updating this blog at least once a week with textbook news that will put money in your pocket. For our more personal and revealing blog, check out our Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/campusbooks and add us!

Please note: CampusBooks.com is not a formal news service and does not claim to be. We are simply trying to bring attention to issues that affect our main public—college students—in order to help you make the most informed choices possible. Any stories we choose to bring up for discussion in the blog do not reflect our political affiliations or bias for any party. Republican, Democrat, Independent or unaffiliated, it doesn't matter to us. Our decision regarding what stories to discuss depend on what we think will most affect you.