By Cassandra M. Rodriguez
Northwest Vista College’s Faculty Senate expressed opposition March 5 to replacing textbooks with e-books and adding the cost to tuition in a meeting with Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success.
“Are the district and chancellor thinking about upgrading the server?” history Professor Carlos Acosta asked.
“All students in the district will have to have access. Something is going to have to be done for this stuff to work the way you want it to. If my students can’t access their books while in class, that is going to be a problem,” Acosta said.
Fabianke said costly improvements are planned.
“I don’t see that this is favorable to students,” chemistry Professor Simon Van Dijk said. “Some students purchase other versions because of better prices. By linking text price to tuition, we are forcing students to buy from Follett, and I have a problem with that.”
Humanities Professor Carlos Lopez asked, “What if the student does not have access to a computer at home? Those materials charged would be pointless.”
Biology Professor Brian Stout said, “For certain courses, the benefit may outweigh the problem, but now they are forced to have an e-book. I think that’s the big issue. I know students who have started to hear about this are upset.”
“Long term, this will be the way students access material,” Fabianke said, adding Texas A&M University-San Antonio uses ebooks.
Jan. 23, The Mesquite at TAMU-SA reported 50 percent of courses there use e-books and the cost is added to students’ tuition. Lopez said, “That’s A&M; that’s not us.”
“I think we are very different because we are in the classroom teaching our kids. It’s what the administration is doing, forcing it down our throats without even letting us or the students know,” Acosta said.
Fabianke said, “We have to do our best to implement what the board has instructed. They can’t say what materials are used, but they have the right to dictate how we operate.”