Give students the choice of how they acquire and use their textbooks, in any form, electronic or printed, regardless of platform.
This petition made change with 28 supporters!
I have been a student in an e-text program since last September. Last semester, fully 40% of my course e-texts were UNUSABLE. In one instance, the text was cut off on every other page of a math book, as captured in the screenshot.
In the other instance, my Communications book was improperly numbered. In that case, I couldn't use the Table of Contents or the Index. Both features are pretty important for students. Jumping to the right place in my text during class was time consuming and by the time I got to the proper page, the lesson had moved forward (interesting, how none of my instructors use e-books!).
I have asked Alqonquin College many times to refund my money, as they forced me as a student to buy the product. Larry Weatherdon, the e-text manager, refused. Even after acknowledging the obvious flaws in the e-texts when I showed them to him in person. Mr. Weatherdon stated that the decision to pursue a sole-sourced product, and to pass the financial obligation to students was made "way above him, like at the President's" level.
Well then, I hope Dr. MacDonald can do the right thing. The most disturbing thing gleaned from my conversation with Larry Weatherdon was that Algonquin College intends to pursue this program at any cost to students until enrollment declines at Algonquin College. Until the College is satisfied that e-texts are a failure, students will be forced to pay the college for products whose quality is inferior.
At some point, Algonquin College has shifted its priorities from educating students to revenue collection for publishers and large content companies. I don't appreciate that tax dollars are being use to benefit corporations at the cost of students' education.
The stated goals of the project have not been met. Many students are purchasing or renting hard copy books at extra cost, above those already collected by the college for e-texts. Other students are printing their textbooks, again at extra cost. Furthermore, students cannot sell their books to recoup their money or lend them to others. Students lose out. The College has not elicited any feedback from student since first semester to validate whether or not students are satisfied.
Algonquin College should do the right thing, and let its students choose how they acquire and experience their textbooks, whether it is electronic, hard copy, online or offline.
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