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Electronic or Print textbooks?

Here's an article from the Chronicle that opens with a shocking description of the recent textbook debacle at UL:

The university and the publisher worked together to set the sky-high price for the online text in an effort to discourage students from purchasing it.... Many of the materials in the book were 'needed for homework and in-class assignments,' and they wanted students to buy the print version. They’ve since lowered the online price to match the hard-copy cost, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The article discusses the quandary that faculty face when selecting textbook formats for students. Faculty are very concerned about the cost of textbooks and digital versions are typically less expensive. However, digital texts are problematic because they are hard for students to use and reading comprehension is lowered in the online environment. Faculty are then required to take time out of a packed syllabus to teach students how to use digital texts effectively.

Open educational resources solve the problem of affordability but instructor's worries about using online texts are valid since their first concern is student learning--justifiably so! But we can adopt open texts AND find ways to create affordable print versions for students.

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