Ebook pilot begins here in January with developmental math

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By Bleah B. Patterson

bpatterson13@student.alamo.edu 

An instructional-material pilot is slated for this college in January, requiring ebooks in all five developmental math courses. The cost will be included in students’ fees and tuition.

Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor of academic success, announced the pilot program to trustees during the Oct. 21 Student Success Committee meeting.

In the spring, trustees approved instructional materials requiring at least 12 courses to adopt ebooks with the cost incorporated into student fees, effective in the spring semester.

District faced so much student and faculty resistance Chancellor Bruce Leslie backed down, choosing not to force it.

However, in the board of trustees charge to Leslie, upon renewing his contract, trustees asked him to pursue instructional material again.

“You can’t expect a student to have access,” board Chair Anna Bustamante said. “What are they supposed to do if they don’t have a computer?”

“Yeah,” District 1 trustee Joe Alderete Jr. said. “What do I do if I can’t access the computer at home?”

“Well, we have labs,” Renita D. Mitchell, chair of math at St. Philip’s College, said. “They’re welcome to use those.”

“But that’s just not convenient,” Bustamante said.

“The students I have right now at St. Philip’s make it work,” Mitchell said. “They know it’s their responsibility and 20 percent of the class is online.”

Student trustee Jacob Wong interjected, saying he is taking a math class right now that incorporates online resources and it is not working for him.

“Right now, our class is two weeks behind because the software failed,” he said. “Relying on electronics puts us in jeopardy. If I drop my book, I just pick it up and move on.”

Mitchell said, “My faculty is always willing to push back the dates. I’m sure SAC’s would be too.”

Wong laughed. “That’s my point, though. Then everyone gets behind. That’s not fair to anyone. We need to be technology friendly, not technology dependent.”

Trustees decided to allow the pilot at this college to see if it is feasible at large.

“Pilots are how we work out kinks,” Leslie said. “Let’s give it a chance. Remember, we were almost there last semester and then we got pushed back. Let’s try again.”

If the test is successful, officials will present a districtwide plan for fall 2015.

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