Course materials are educational tools that contribute to the learning experience for students. It is important that selected course materials are accessible, affordable, and effective. Below is a list of faculty considerations aimed at supporting the affordability and effectiveness of course materials:
- Consider the role, function and purpose of course materials in your course. How does your teaching practice, learning outcomes for students, and course structure support the use of your selected course materials?
- Consider your course materials as one part of students' semester expenses. Students are taking multiple classes and may have to purchase required materials for several courses. Faculty making an effort to reduce the cost of their selected course materials can make a difference that supports student success.
- Determine if you need the latest version/edition of the textbook. Changes are often insignificant and may not impact the structure of your course and reusing previous editions will save students money.
- Collect feedback from your students regarding their use of course materials. Consider collecting feedback at multiple points in the semester to gauge students' extent of use, relevance of materials, and students' perception of utility of course materials as it relates to their success in your course. This information could help you better understand the relationship your students have with the course materials and produce insight that helps support making your course more effective.
- Evaluate your course materials regarding representation. Determine if the materials reflect diverse representation or if viewpoints come from one predominant perspective. Diverse representation supports students connecting to the material and can contribute to an inclusive classroom environment.
- Multi-purposed use of course materials. Does your course fall into a sequence? If so, consider how your course materials can be multi-purposed throughout the course sequence to scaffold costs while also integrating content to reinforce concepts.
- Consider how to apply fair use of educational materials to address affordability. Fair use of educational materials allows for copyrighted works to benefit everyone but there are important factors to consider. Reference the UNT Librariries Guide on Fair Use and CLEAR's Copyright Guide when considering fair use.
- Consider engaging your publisher representative in a cost conversation. If your course materials are a traditional textbook, you may talk with your publisher representative about reducing the cost based on course volume. Faculty may also partner with a publishing company to create a low-cost option for a particular course or set of courses. However, faculty may not negotiate direct sales or sales that include a vendor outside of the contracted Barnes & Noble campus bookstore.
- Communicate your intention regarding use of course materials to students. Faculty can do this in their syllabi, through classroom announcements, and/or periodically throughout the semester verbally. Often times students wait until the first day or beyond to decide if the required course materials are going to help them succeed in your course.