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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Textbook Computer Codes

I mentioned the other day that my daughter had to buy a $100.00 computer code for her French class to go with the $75.00 used book. The new book-natch-was $175.00. I didn't mention that her math teacher had the class purchase codes, but told them not to bother with the text. the text PLUS code was only a little more than the code alone.

Funny About Money
plaintively inquired:
Computer access code!? Heaven help us.

That is inexcusable. Is there any reason classmates can't be put in groups or group themselves informally so they can all access the computer using one member's code? What if each kid in the group paid the person who sprung for the new textbook $10 or so? That would bring down her cost and let the students who can't afford to spring for $175 for a French text(!!!!!!!) save their money.

She probably wasn't plaintive, actually. It's a good question.

Not being in the textbook biz, this is what I think. Anyone who knows better/different, do not hesitate to set me right on this.

I think this is a way the publishers keep students from buying used or sharing. The codes provide access to all sorts of material for students--in that sense, offer extra value. BUT BUT BUT the codes have to be-I think-unique, because they are linked to quizzes.

The quizzes are--again, I think--composed, graded, and recorded BY THE TEXTBOOK PUBLISHER. This is a way that publishers market their books--"Look TEACHER, we can save you the dreary work of composing and grading quizzes."

Anyone care to correct me on this? Really, I'm just surmising. What do you think of the practice?

If I'm right, what is for sale is a unique code. The text itself is just gravy.


Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said...

I know the codes are linked to online questions, so that's how they stop sharing, but I don't know about the rest. I hope another commenter knows more...what a racket!

Anonymous said...
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Funny about Money said...

Grrrrrr! Probably "enraged" is more to the point than "plaintive." what this boils down to is the textbook publishers are creating exams on their content and making the KIDS pay for it?

Oh! Lhudly sing goddamn!

Excuse me? When you're teaching, writing the quizzes and exams on the material you're asking your students to read is your JOB. That, not babysitting, is what you're paid to do.

Well, OK, if you're a TA and earning $1,200 a semester to teach a three-credit course (and likely paying for the privilege) or you're adjunct and earning a grandiose $2,400 per course per semester, it would be tempting to use someone else's exams. But not if the students have to pay for them. They're already paying you to do your job.

And certainly, if you're f/t, you're getting a decent salary to teach the course, then you should be doing the work for the course...and that includes writing the tests.

There oughta be a law!