Course Material Adoption Guidelines

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Blue Mountain Community College recognizes that the concept of academic freedom is a right of faculty members.   Accompanying this right is the responsibility of selecting and adopting the most appropriate textbook for the course being taught.  This institution strongly encourages faculty and departments consider other criteria as well and follow these guidelines when adopting course materials to help reduce the cost of an education to our students.

  1. PRICE OF COURSE MATERIALS: Consider the price of the course materials as one of the criteria during the textbook selection process.  Course materials that deliver high quality at a reasonable cost to students should be selected whenever possible.   Price and cost information may be requested from the publisher or the University store though both are subject to change.  Make it clear to publisher sales representatives that price is an important factor in the decision-making process.
  2. NEGOTIATE A BETTER PRICE: Faculty members are in the best position to negotiate better prices for students.   Ask your publisher’s representative for volume and/or price matching discounts.  Publishers may give discounts for adoptions made in courses with large numbers of sections or if you are adopting their materials for your other courses as well.   Try to get a long term commitment from the publisher to not raise the price.  Consider a maximum price point and negotiate with publishers to match that price.  Openly discuss costs with faculty at other colleges within your same discipline.  Publishers may provide price matching discounts when pricing at other institutions is less than at ours.  If you aren’t comfortable negotiating or need support, ask the bookstore for help.
  3. USE THE SAME MATERIALS IN ALL SECTIONS: Whenever possible, department chairs should are encouraged to require all sections of a course as well as all courses in a sequential series to use the same course materials.   This helps the institution to provide consistent instruction across all sections and locations and students avoid being placed at a financial disadvantage if they change sections.     Additionally, this generally enables bookstores to buy back more course materials and procure more used copies.
  4. OLD EDITIONS: Consider using an older edition of the textbook or allowing multiple editions to be utilized in your course.   Repeated use of the same books provides students more opportunity to save money by buying used books or renting them and there are often few changes between editions.  Faculty choosing a non-current edition should work closely with the bookstore to ensure sufficient supply of the old edition is available and it will provide a cost savings to students.
  5. USE YOUR BOOK: Use the course materials you adopt.   Students are paying for the textbook and course materials you have selected.  By utilizing what you have adopted you create a perception of value for the student.  Course materials that are not fully utilized cause students to incur unnecessary costs.  If you require less than 51% of the text, then consider an alternative text or an alternative format such as a custom text or short (brief) edition of the text.  Exceptions to this rule may include a text that includes material for two or more sequels to the course.
  6. CUSTOM TEXTBOOKS: If you are only utilizing a portion of a textbook in your class, consider creating a custom edition of the textbook.  Custom texts may consist of selected chapters from one or more textbooks and can sometimes include professor prepared handouts and lecture notes.   The advantage to students is that only those chapters required of the students are included in the text.   These texts are softbound, usually printed in black and white and, if the text is used continually for several semesters, the bookstore can buy the textbooks back from students.
  7. LONG TERM ADOPTION: Except when there are extenuating circumstances such as a change of instructors, a text out of print, negative student response, or a new edition is released, try to use your course materials for an extended length of time, preferably for at least two years.  Using textbooks for an extended length of time gives students the greatest economic benefit by increasing the inventory of used books available and providing more opportunities for students to sell back their textbooks.
  8. CHEAP ALTERNATIVES: Faculty are encouraged to consider the availability of low cost alternate formats or delivery methods.   Ask your publisher if there black and white, loose leaf or e-book versions.   Determine the rentability of your adopted textbook.  Provide as many choices for our students to select their preferred way of obtaining and reading course material.
  9. OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: Blue Mountain Community College encourages faculty to participate in the development, review and adoption of high quality open education resources (OERs).   Open education resources offer a huge cost savings to our students as they are free digitally and printed versions can often be acquired at prices generally much less expensive than those of traditional textbooks.
  10. BUNDLES AND CODES: Only adopt products bundled with access codes or supplemental materials when they are essential to the course and the bundle provides a cost savings to the student.  Understand that bundling is a tactic publishers use to eliminate the used book market.  Any cost savings from bundling may be offset by the lack of the ability of our students to sell back the textbook or rent one.  Have your publisher representative explain to you what additional resources the supplemental materials provide as compared to what resources are already available to your students at no cost.  Access codes may have expiration dates and limit students’ ability to use the resource after a certain period of time and are generally non-returnable once opened.   Whenever possible, adopt textbooks and materials that allow students to buy parts of the bundle separately so that students who already own some of bundle components only have to buy what they need.