USF Bookstore Announces New Price Matching Policy

Posted August 19th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

The USF Campus Bookstore has confirmed that they will be participating in an enhanced price matching program. Starting in the Fall 2015 semester, Barnes & Noble will match competitor pricing for both physical and online bookstores. The price difference will be refunded to a gift card.

Additional details about the Price Match Promise program are as follows:

  • •Price matching will be honored within 7 days of the original purchase date.
  • •The textbook must be in stock and available for immediate shipment at the campus bookstore and the local competitor or online retailer.
  • •The price advertised must be for the exact book/edition offered at the campus bookstore, including all accompanying components such as CDs, online access cards, student manuals or workbooks, etc.
  • •Price matching includes purchase (new and used) and rental pricing. The rental term period must be the same.
  • •The original receipt must be provided, and should show whether or not the textbook was rented or purchased, along with the price.
  • •Digital titles and special orders are excluded.
  • •Price matching applies to same condition items, used book to used book, new book to new book, used rental to used rental and new rental to new rental.

The new price matching policy will not apply to bulk purchases or any purchases made from aggregator sites, peer-to-peer marketplaces, or textbook marketplaces where products or services are provided by multiple third parties, vendors, and shops such as Amazon Marketplace, or chegg.  For additional information, visit the USF Bookstore website.

Senate Bill 938 Aims to Make College More Affordable

Posted April 13th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

State senator Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has officially filed a measured aimed at making post-secondary education in Florida more affordable.

Senate Bill 938 would exempt college textbooks and other instructional material from sales taxes. In order to obtain the tax exemption, students would have to present their student ID number and course syllabus to the textbook vendor.

The bill would also require that public universities list textbooks and other instructional material for at least 90% of courses and course sections to be taught in the upcoming term. This list would be made available to students at least 14 days before the start of class registration, and would have to be featured prominently on both the university website and within the course registration system.

In additional to textbook affordability, the bill also attempts to grant tax exempt status to the purchase of prepaid meal plans and prohibit resident undergraduate, graduate and professional tuition from exceeding a specified amount per credit hour.

To read the bill in its entirety, download the pdf, or visit the Florida State Senate Website

Scott Proposes an End to Taxes on Textbooks

Posted February 9th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

In an effort to reduce the price of college for Florida students, Governor Rick Scott is proposing an end to state and local sales taxes on college textbooks.  This new plan would cost the State of Florida approximately $40 million, but “would save full-time students at least $60 per year.”  The textbook savings plan was released in conjunction with $23.5 million plan to expand Bright Futures Scholarships to include summer courses.  In total, this particular proposal to the 2015-2016 budget would cost approximately $65 million.

If you would like to read more, please visit:

http://www.usforacle.com/news/view.php/858761/Scott-pitches-no-textbook-tax-Bright-Fut

Creators of Textbook Price Comparison Tool Face Potential Litigation

Posted January 12th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

Following a recent Reddit discussion thread, a new textbook price comparison tool called Occupy The Bookstore has grown in popularity.  According to the Reddit thread, Occupy The Bookstore is “a Chrome Plugin which overlays competitive market prices for textbooks directly on the college bookstore website.”  When a user installs the extension, they see their bookstore’s prices for textbooks, as well as pricing from various online vendors.

The creators of the chrome extension, Peter Frank and Ben Halpern, are also the founders of Texts.com, a site that helps buyers find the best prices for textbooks.  They are now facing litigation from the Follett Higher Education Group, the largest campus bookstore operator in the US.  The Follett Group recently emailed Frank and Halpern and asked that they remove the extension on the basis that it “is effectively changing the presentation of the information on the screen.”  Follett then stated that legal action would be pursued in the event of noncompliance.  Unfortunately for Follett, their requests seem to have generated an unforeseen amount of publicity for the plugin; Occupy The Bookstore has now been downloaded from the Chrome Web Store more than 20,000 times and its creators have no intentions of removing it.

If you would like to learn more, please visit:

http://www.businessinsider.com/textbooks-just-got-a-lot-cheaper-thanks-to-2-college-grads-2015-1

http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-DGB-39652

New Open Courseware Released

Posted November 13th, 2014 in Faculty, Graduates, Staff, stories, Undergraduates by Micah Jenkins

On October 31, 2014, Dr. Autar Kaw, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida, simultaneously released all of the resources needed to complete the online, university level course “Introduction to Matrix Algebra.” As an OpenCourseWare (OCW), the course is free and open to all users.

The courseware includes:

  • 150 YouTube video lectures (approximately 14 viewing hours) with transcripts
  • 10 textbook chapters, presented in both PDF and DOC formats
  • 10 online multiple-choice quizzes with complete solutions
  • 10 problem sets
  • 10 PowerPoint presentations
  • 6 applied problems in engineering and science

and covers the following topics:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Vectors
  • Chapter 3: Binary Matrix Operations
  • Chapter 4: Unary Matrix Operations
  • Chapter 5: System of Equations
  • Chapter 6: Gaussian Elimination Method
  • Chapter 7: LU Decomposition
  • Chapter 8: Gauss-Seidel Method
  • Chapter 9: Adequacy of Solutions
  • Chapter 10: Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors

Introduction to Matrix Algebra is not the first OCW delivered by Kaw.  It follows the 2009 release of the OCW titled “Holistic Numerical Methods,” which receives more than a million page views annually.  The associated YouTube lectures received more than 900,000 views last year, and the “Numerical Methods Guy” blog now receives 150,000 annual visitors.

Kaw, along with his colleagues from around the nation, have been developing, implementing, refining and assessing these online resources since 2002.  They are funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and, to date, have received four NSF grants totaling more than $1.5 million.

For questions or more information, please contact Dr. Autar Kaw.