The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Faculty vote on objection to common course textbooks

By Joshua Knopp/managing editor

The Joint Consultation Committee representing district faculty has drawn up a resolution condemning the potential standardization of textbooks across TCC campuses. The resolution has been sent to teachers and faculty for approval.
In its resolution, the JCC expresses concerns that the district’s plans to standardize textbooks across all campuses will not lower book costs and instead undermine a teacher’s authority and teaching ability. Faculty have until March 28 to vote on the resolution.

According to vice chancellor of academic affairs David Wells, consolidating books is part of TCC’s larger effort to reduce the cost of textbooks.

“The primary thing we’re trying to do here is address the issue of the high cost of learning materials,” Wells said.

He said consolidating textbooks will reduce costs by allowing the college to purchase textbooks in bulk. Also, if students need to take the same class on a different campus, their books would transfer to the next campus.

Currently, for example, the NW Spanish book, Puntos de Partida, costs $227 but covers a student for four semesters of Spanish. However, if something changes and students need to take Spanish on another campus, they’ll need to buy a different Spanish book.

Mark Anderson, associate professor of philosophy on TR Campus, was torn about the JCC resolution.

“It’s worded a little too aggressively for me,” he said. “I get the vibe that I’m not the only one who looks at that and says it’s a little too strong.”

Anderson was, however, concerned about standardized textbooks narrowing the ways he could teach.

“My way [of teaching Ethics] is kind of weird. When it comes to teaching Introduction to Philosophy, there’s even more flexibility,” he said. “If you have a common textbook, it’s not obvious that everyone would be accounted for, and when something like that happens, the quality of teaching is going to drop.”

Because the goal is to reduce student costs, teachers can bring in their own materials. TR Spanish instructor Janet Rodriguez, who, with Spanish instructor Kate Brooke, wrote a work manual that follows in step with Rosetta Stone, offers her course material free to her students and, because of this, can keep using it.

“Our administrators are supporting us, especially because we offer our text free of charge,” she said.

Wells noted that the potential use of e-textbooks and expanded use of OpenCourseWare, or free learning material available on the Internet, would do more to save for students.

“We have a lot of faculty who have aggressively pursued different ways of helping lower textbook costs to students,” Wells said about the current use of OpenCourseWare. “The more significant savings occur if faculty decide they want to allow the use of electronic textbooks, but again, that’s their choice.”

JCC chair Anne Drake declined comment.

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