Faculty Textbook Information
As the person selecting course materials, you have a key role in helping students save money while they learn. You have many options when selecting textbooks, and students have many options when purchasing. Definitely, ensuring that your students are receiving the best materials is very important. However, you may be able to maximize the opportunities for students to reduce costs. See below for information on:
- Strategies to reduce student costs
- How to Adopt Course Materials
- Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008
Reasons that instructors must let the UC Bookstores know about all course material requirements (including ‘no books’):
- Federal compliance
- Ensure materials are available
- Let students know the full cost of the course
- Allow the University to best leverage its buying power
After an extensive review of eText platforms/vendors, by a task force comprised of faculty, staff, and student from across the University, UC selected Brytewave powered by VitalSource as our preferred platform. We have branded this UC SmartBooks.
Benefits to faculty:
- Publisher agnostic - textbooks from any publisher can be made available through UC SmartBooks (pending a publisher agreement with VitalSource)
- Strong teaching and learning features – in addition to the typical highlighting and notetaking, UC SmartBooks provides the ability for faculty and students to share specific highlighters with each other. (For more information on this, download the Bookshelf Online Introductory Course.)
- Technical support is available through VitalSource.
- Student engagement dashboards to track student time and location in the material
The UC Bookstores routinely request that paper-based textbooks are ingested into the UC Smartbooks (Brytewave powered by VitalSource) platform when possible. In Catalyst, students will see UC Smartbooks identified as “Digital” when they are available.
Strategies to reduce student costs
1. Always include the UC Bookstore in your conversations with publishers. UC Bookstores are charged with the responsibility to serve as the central point of contact to assess affordability, pricing consistency, deliverability, and other factors that hold publishers accountable, and integrate their proposed solutions into the University’s evolving strategies.
2. Adopt early, commit to multi-year adoptions, and/or express flexibility for multiple editions. Such adoptions can drive four critical strategies that lower cost to students.
a. Next semester’s adoptions inform this semester’s Buy Back program, returning up to 50% of the original cost to students.
b. Used books (sometimes older editions) are a finite supply; early adoptions allows UC to assertively retain or source used titles.
c. Rental programs are created for each book for each semester, based upon the projected need for future used books.
d. UC SmartBooks are our preferred digital platform offering the most significant savings as well as substantial teaching and learning features. Ingesting titles requires lead time.
3. Adopt by ISBN, and understand the format bundles and options. Consider the functionality of non-traditional materials and be clear about their necessity for success in the course.
4. When you complete your courses’ textbook adoption form, indicate all editions (on the textbook order form, under ‘Edition’, indicate ‘any’ or specific editions) which would be acceptable (older editions may be significantly cheaper than the newest).
5. When applicable, help your students consider the academic or professional impacts of choosing to keep course materials, or return/rent them.
6. Help grow students’ trust in the relevancy, reliability, and transparency of course materials information in Catalyst across their UC experience, so that they can shop early, and in an informed manner.
7. Consider adopting Open Educational Resources (copyright-free texts/materials) for applicability and quality.
8. Create e-reserve options (to make digital versions of texts available via University of Cincinnati Libraries).
9. Use course packets and publisher-customized materials advisedly and in consultation with UC Bookstores (as copyright and other costs might add significantly to the total cost.)
10. When working directly with publishers to customize materials and bundles (such as book and DVD or goggles, etc) check with the UC Bookstore manager to ensure this is a good deal. Your publisher will create a new ISBN for a custom book. This ISBN must be communicated to the UC Bookstore.
Customized publications may reduce the cost to students by limiting the total volume of material that they must purchase. Lab manuals, in particular, can be customized to the particular experiments that you plan for your students to conduct. Savings from custom packaged publications vary widely but can range up to 70 percent off the combined retail price for the standard materials that students would otherwise have needed to purchase.
11. Be aware of any applicable technology limits and needs (as some students may not have the digital resources needed to access some electronic texts and others may need a device for accessibility purposes).
12. Work with The Center for Excellence in eLearning to write your own eTextbook.
13. When selecting the desired materials, contact the UC Bookstore. The UC Bookstore will work with you and the sellers/publisher(s) to ensure the student receives the best price.
If you have questions about textbook affordability, email TextbookAffordability@uc.edu to get connected with a representative.
How to Adopt Course Materials
Textbook adoption is scheduled typically 4 months prior to the semester start! The Office of the Provost sends a reminder each semester to get adoptions in by the deadline, before student registration begins.
To adopt your books, see the options on the Campus Services Course Material Adoption webpage.
To specify that you would like students to obtain the UC SmartBook version of a text, either contact your UC Bookstore manager or, on the online course material adoption form, select the etext ISBN. If no etext format is available, contact your UC Bookstore manager to determine if the material can be ingested into a UC SmartBook before the term begins.
In some cases, you may not be able to adopt your books. Check with your department head or course coordinator if you have questions.
Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008
As a part of The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the university is required to make textbook information for all courses available to students. This information includes both ISBN numbers and pricing information. This information must be offered as part of UC's online class schedule, and must be viewable by students in advance of registration for any given academic term.