Wednesday, April 07, 2010

There's No Money In Teaching, So....

So, the entrepreneurial instructor is going to make money writing textbooks:

No one likes rising textbook prices, but the bills may be even more painful to pay when it looks like a professor is cashing in on students. That's the sentiment at George Mason University, where students are grumbling about a professor who requires students to buy a book she helped to write. The case highlighting an ongoing debate about faculty profiting off their pupils.

Concerned about conflicts of interest, a number of universities now forbid professors from collecting royalties on textbooks they require their own students to purchase. But developers of some of these policies say they are admittedly tough to enforce, and there's no real consensus across higher education about the best way to protect students from exploitation while retaining the rights of faculty to assign preferred texts.


This is one area where I think the internet should be able to work wonders. Open source textbooks, published digitally.

6 comments:

Mr. Brammer said...

I had a professor in college, my adviser, that required a book he had edited (a compilation of historical articles that he had written a short intro to each). He had gone so far as to require tear out assignment pages so you couldn't resell.

Mrs. C said...

My husband remembers being required to purchase textbooks by his instructor... and there were three relevant paragraphs actually used. Trouble was, there was no way of knowing whether you will truly NEED the book at the beginning of class... and sometimes was out of stock when you actually did.

Today, we have amazon dot com! Yayyy... I have had some great buys from their used booksellers, and some crummy ones that I had to complain about.

Ellen K said...

He better take some computer classes while he writes, because Texas' governor is pushing for online textbooks in the next three years.

Anonymous said...

I will say -- the one prof we had who required we use his book gave us back his royalties if we bought a new copy. It was funny, lining up to get our $10.

DADvocate said...

When taking intro geology at the University of Tennessee, we had to buy a workbook which was written by one of the departments' professors for the labs. We really didn't think much of it. The book was fairly cheap.

The professor had a great sense of humor. The first day of the second quarter of classes he joked he hoped we had lost our workbooks because the books were paying for his Cadillac parked out front.

The English department used “Interpreting Literature” by K.L. Knickerbocker and H.W. Renniger in the freshman level courses. Knickerbocker was one of the professors. Years earlier I was Knickerbocker's paper boy, so maybe we broke even.

ChrisA said...

I have a hard time getting excited about this.