Bring back physical textbooks


Student Reporter

It’s January 2021, and I’m walking into my first college class. Like a good student, I have my prescribed textbooks in hand. My older sister of ten years had warned me ahead of time that most of my learning would be done in the textbook. 

Imagine my surprise when the professor told us we wouldn’t be using the books. I thought it might just be a one-off. Perhaps that class, in particular, was just weird, but as time went on, I realized I hardly used my textbooks at all. 

The “textbooks” I did use were nothing more than a system to quiz and test me over the content of the class, and they weren’t even real textbooks. I purchased codes to have access to an online learning platform. I paid for a class, and then I paid for the learning platform I would be learning on. 

According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the average college student spends $1,200 on textbooks each year. That’s a lot of money to spend on something I will never use again. 

Sure, I can resell the physical textbooks and make some of that money back, but only under the right circumstances. 

While my sister may have had physical textbooks when she went through college, by the time I came around, most of my professors were assigned e-books and learning platforms. Once that class is over, the book is useless. I’ll only have access to these books for a set amount of time (normally six months). 

On top of that, the textbook was hardly the reason for purchasing online access. We purchased it for tutorial videos, problem examples and online quizzes.

Students are already having a hard time trying to figure out how to pay for college classes. Now we don’t just pay for college classes, we pay for the source our professors will use to grade us. In some classes, online learning is all there is. In place of lectures, it’s videos within the learning platform. Instead of taking notes, we go through examples online on our own. 

College has been, and probably always will be, a learning experience in which students rely on teaching themselves a majority of the curriculum, but I can’t help but think this is such a waste of money. 

Why should we have to pay for a class within a class? Bring back the physical textbooks and professor lectures. Don’t make us pay for a class when we’re just going to pay more to learn online. College is expensive enough. Don’t make it more expensive out of convenience.

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