INSTRUCTOR SURVEY RESULTS -- (Survey completed in early October 2010)

The Textbook Affordability Task Force created an online instructor survey regarding textbook questions. The survey went out at the end of September and was available for two weeks. You can review the major results below.

We received over 236 submissions. Results:

For the class in which you use the MOST EXPENSIVE, required texbook, which type of class are you describing?

How much do students need to pay for all the required textbooks in this class?

    Noncredit responses: (32)
    • 69% textbook costs $50 or less
    • 16% textbook costs $51 to $100
    • 12.5% textbook costs $101 to $150
    • 3% textbook costs $151 to $200.
    Credit responses: (197)
    • 12% textbook costs $50 or less
    • 39% textbook costs $51 to $100
    • 34.5% textbook costs $101 to $150
    • 14% textbook costs $151 to $200
    • 1.5% textbook costs over $201.
What % of materials in this class are available online?
    Noncredit responses: (32)
    • 9% provide 100% of the class materials online
    • 6% provide 75% of the class materials online
    • 12.5% provide 50% of the class materials online
    • 16% provide 25% of the class materials online
    • 56% provide none of the class materials online
    Credit responses: (197)
    • 11% provide 100% of the class materials online
    • 8% provide 75% of the class materials online
    • 12% provide 50% of the class materials online
    • 28% provide 25% of the class materials online
    • 41% provide none of the class materials online
In this class, how often do you assign readings or homework or activities that require the textbook(s)?
    Noncredit responses: (32)
    • 75% assign from the book daily
    • 19% assign from the book weekly
    • 6% never assign from the book
    Credit responses: (197)
    • 33.5% assign from the book daily
    • 62% assign from the book weekly
    • 1% assign from the book monthly
    • 0.5% assign from the book once per semester
    • 2% never assign from the book

Which of these options have you advertised to your students for textbook access? Select all the ones you've advertised.

When you choose textbooks for your classes, how much weight do you give to price?
On a scale from 1 to 5 (where 1 is not at all important and 5 is most important)
    Noncredit responses: Average score was 4.0
    Credit responses: Average score was 3.3
When you choose textbooks for your classes, which of these issues do you take into consideration? Choose all that apply.

How often do you get your textbook information into the bookstore within the time requested?

If you answered SOMETIMES or NEVER above, what is the primary reason for not getting textbook information in on time?
TOP RESPONSES: (out of 40)
  • Not enough time (10)
  • Book I want isn't yet available (10)
  • Instructor assignments given late or at last minute or changed (7)
  • Forget / procrasinate (6)
  • Get textbooks/reading material from elsewhere (not bookstore) (3)
  • It's in the hands of the department chair (2)
  • I don't think the bookstore really needs it so early (2)
  • Too busy to deal (2)
  • Bookstore forms miss new or revised classes
Have you ever negotiated a special price directly with the publisher?

Comments: What is the most important concern you have about textbook choice?
We received 180 responses covering the following general themes:
  • Affordable (70)
  • Appropriate to class level (accessible to all students) and curriculum (articulation and class goals) (38)
  • Clear enjoyable read (33)
  • High quality (31)
  • Thorough coverage of material (22)
  • Inspiring; filled with good stories, examples, and comparisons; captures student’s real concerns; uses relevant and diverse examples (18)
  • Contains online/computer support/activities/materials (15)
  • Current (14)
  • Can serve needs for many years (13)
  • Acts as a long-term resource/reference (10)
  • Organized and designed well for ease of use (9)
  • Contains high-quality exercises and plenty of them (10)
  • Contains high-quality educational illustrations (7)
  • Accurate (no errors) (6)
  • Online options available for students (4)
  • Uses good pedagogy (4)
  • Readily available used (4)
  • Necessary and not filled with lots of extra content we won’t use. (4)
  • Good preparation for exams/certifications/official training requirements. (4)
  • Usable in classroom (2)
  • Lightweight (2)
  • Copies available for library reserve (2)
  • Reliable (2)
  • Clear presentation of graphs and math (2)
  • Comes with multiple types of assessment materials (2)
  • Protects intellectual property rights (copyrights) (2)
More specific comments:

  • I get input from students who take noncredit ESL courses. Even a $20 book is a hardship for many new immigrants who have no job nor any support. They do not qualify for financial aid. There is no book loan program. The instructors would change to a slightly different version of textbook, so students couldn't even use the same one if they repeat the same course (and many take the same Level of ESL for more that one semester. Is there any way to create a fund to lend text books to noncredit ESL students?
  • Textbooks are getting exorbitantly expensive for our non-credit students who are new immigrants, living on their limited savings while trying to get a job and learning a new language. $30 might not be a lot compared to other textbooks, but for somebody with no income or somebody making $6 per hour, $30 is a huge amount (5 hours of work; on our faculty $50/hour salary scale, that would be $250.) If they are taking more than one class and if the family has two to three members attending school, the cost is extremely high. Can our Bookstore lower their 30% markup?
  • A lot of non-credit students are suffering economically and can not afford expensive books.
  • For more specific noncredit comments, see Noncredit Instructor Perspectives
New editions
  • I hate having to change to a new edition when the previous edition was better!
  • New editions generally just contain an update of current events that could be provided in a pamphlet resulting in the same text being used much longer. This would result in cheaper textbooks.
Making sure we use it
  • I look to see if the length/detail of the material is appropriate for the confines of the semester. If I know I'll only get through half the book, I won't order it.
  • I want to make sure that the textbook is one that we can use often. I was/am a student, too, and I know how frustrating it is when a textbook is required and we rarely, if ever, use it in class. I try to make sure the textbooks are integral to the class.
Readers and online resources
  • I use readers – my students seem to prefer it.
  • Instead of making students buy the book, I provide notes & powerpoints from the book.
  • I would be very happy if we switched to open source online material.
  • I feel very constrained with the textbook format -- I was never given textbooks in college, I hate feeling that I have to use them. I need to get set up with WebCT or Blackboard or something of that nature.
General complaints or suggestions
  • I feel that electronic resources such as Kindle could be used. All textbooks could be downloaded to Kindle for a fraction of the price. Students would not have to lug books around, spend enormous sums of money, and it would be eco-friendly. Special prices could be negotiated with the publishers.
  • I want my students to have a secondary resource in addition to lectures to support their learning. But, the books are really expensive, and I'm finding that other resources (like the iClicker) are also expensive, but in some ways even more valuable. So the book may be the most expendable item...
  • I want something that students will actually read – so I want it in their hands and written well with lots of good current inspiring anecdotes and comparisons.
  • Publisher websites are horrible! It’s hard to weigh options. There seem to be limited options with good qualities. Need help.
  • We need to return to basic textbooks minus bells and whistles.
  • There shouldn’t be bookstore shortages!
  • I am concerned that right now students and teachers are photocopying texts.


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