Adam Williams

  • Textbook Alternative Pilot Evaluation
  • Adam Williams
  • Department of Geography and Global Studies
  • Fall 2014

Summary

I joined the Textbook Alternative Pilot in Fall 2014, working as Faculty Lead, alongside Ann Steckel and several members of the SSU faculty. Prior to my involvement in TAP, I had instructed several courses without a textbook, at the University of Colorado Boulder. I had also redesigned courses to reduce student’s individual costs, often by using earlier edition of textbooks to improve availability at reduced prices.

My participation in the TAP program in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 includes elminating textbook purchases for students in four courses: GEOG 202, 203-­‐001, 203-­‐002, and 396. The General Education required courses have a total enrollment of 316 students, while 20 students are currently enrolled in GEOG 396.

Conclusion

In developing and teaching these courses, I have received valuable feedback from students. Feedback regarding the elimination of required textbook purchase has been overwhelmingly positive. Most students report that the purchase of textbooks creates significant financial strain at the beginning of semesters. Students emphasized that they appreciate having customized reading materials available for download on Moodle. This approach promotes a more useful curriculum that is tailored to course themes and student needs, creating a more customized learning experience.

By selecting a variety of reading materials for students, the course becomes more relevant, timely, and accessible. For students initially reluctant or resentful about required enrollment in GE courses, a textbook cost reduction program is appreciated and respected. In conclusion, I have found the TAP program to be an invaluable step forward in aligning course design and costs with student needs, financial challenges, and learning goals.