Faculty members play an important role in minimizing textbook costs for students. Here are some actions you can take to help reduce the cost of educational materials for your students.
1. Evaluate textbook and instructional material requirements
Evaluate textbook and instructional material requirements each time you teach a course. Using this opportunity to consider pricing, access, quality, etc. ensures that we have done the right thing for our students.
2. OERs Can Lower Costs
In some cases, OERs may be acceptable alternatives to commercially-produced textbook and instructional materials. To learn more about OER alternatives for your discipline, visit the Open Access Textbook Repository Database.
3. No-Cost Library Materials for Your Students
The USF Libraries’ TAP team has created a database that allows faculty to search for low-to-no cost alternatives to textbooks. Using the Ebooks for the Classroom+ database (over 400,000 titles in all disciplines), faculty can search for and select titles for course adoption. If you select a title that is not currently part of our collection, the USF Libraries will purchase the title if possible and make it available at no cost to your students.
4. Use Course Reserves at the Library
The USF Tampa Library routinely purchases copies of textbooks for courses with enrollments exceeding 75 students. Instructors may place their personal copies of books and other materials on Reserve for students to use during the semester. Faculty can request that additional items be placed on Course Reserves through the online form.
5. Bundles May Be More Costly
Avoid unnecessary bundling when possible. Florida Statutes Section 1004.085 7(b) requires faculty to confirm that they will use everything included in a bundle. One caveat: when it is less expensive to purchase a bundle than it is to purchase items individually, this may justify requiring the bundle.
6. Formats Impact Costs
Cost calculations are based on the required format(s), so always limit requirements to the least expensive format of textbooks and instructional materials. If students have a preference for a different format, they can always purchase the alternative.
7. Recommended Titles Increase Costs
Avoid submitting “Recommended” titles to the bookstore. Compliance with Florida Statutes Section 1004.085 and BOG regulations requires us to consider those costs as well as the required materials. Feel free to use your syllabus to convey additional options to your students.
8. Coordination Reduces Cost Variance
Whenever possible coordinate selection of required textbooks and instructional materials across multiple sections of the same course.
9. Course Packs Increase Costs
Save time with Curriculum Builder. Integrated in Canvas, this tool allows faculty to search library content and immediately populate reading lists with minimal effort, in the process eliminating copyright costs associated with services such as ProCopy.