There are so many things students have to pay for. But when astronomical book prices are taking the place of general living purchases such as beds or groceries, we have to ask ourselves if there’s another way.
There is. In 2002, the University made available a system that allows teachers to place material online that would normally be printed.
The system is called e-reserve and it allows students to log onto the University’s electronic reserves page, using their X500 username and password, and access the materials free of charge.
More than 300 faculty members have used the system to provide material for more than 500 courses. The system supports PDF, JPG and MP3 files, as well as direct links to the Internet.
Not only does e-reserve allow teachers to provide material to students for free, but it also enables them to use different formats and varieties of course materials without the hassle of printing and distributing.
The materials may be used for courses if they are in the public domain, used with permission from the copyright holder, used under the provisions of a contract or license agreement, or used under the provision of fair use as outlined in the classroom guidelines.
Teachers submit the materials to the biomedical library in person or online at www.lib.umn.edu/pdf/eressubform.pdf. Materials must be submitted at least two weeks before the start of the semester if they are to be available online for the first day of class.
But the system doesn’t come without its flaws. Some teachers require students to print out tens of pages of materials a day, creating waste and asking students to pay for printing while not getting the luxury of selling a book back. This problem could be lessened, however, with teachers asking students to print in moderation.
Still, we strongly urge teachers to use venues such as e-reserve to cut down on costs of classroom materials for students.