A Whole Lot of Empathy

I have mentioned before that one of the most problematic things to deal with when taking classes online is the textbook issue. It is often difficult to get the information on the required texts in time to actually get them before the start of the semester – especially for the spring semester. I am currently still waiting for my last textbook to arrive – and am not able to complete all of my current reading assignments because of it. With these frustrations in mind, I definitely felt tons of empathy for Nicole Engard, from What I Learned Today. In a post entitled, Getting angry, Nicole vents about her textbook problems. I have to say that I don’t think my problems are nearly as bad. I can’t believe that the school, the ILS department or the bookstore doesn’t give enough information so that students can find the books someplace outside of the bookstore. It is outrageous to have to email professors in order to ask them to give you the required texts – and is downright wrong to try and force students to buy the texts from the bookstore. Prices are generally so much higher at the bookstore than other online sources.

Books are a real problem that I think schools are going to have to address in order to keep distance students. I have several classmates from overseas – and they need at-least a couple of months in order to have books shipped to them. Professors need to make book selections much further in advance than they do for traditional students who can walk to the bookstore. Schools need to make this information available to students in means other than via the school’s bookstore. The ILS department at SCSU actually has a web page which lists all of the required texts. Of course, not all classes are listed – which can make one even angrier and more frustrated. I realize that faculty need time to prepare (and that sometimes professors are not assigned to a class until the start of the semester), but it is unreasonable for professors to expect that they can let students know a week before the class starts what books are required for a class – and then expect the students to have them for the first day of class.

Nicole, I empathize with you about your book situation. I sincerely hope that it gets better, but tend to think you may have some degree of frustration each semester. I’m not sure if people who run distance education programs understand how difficult getting textbooks can be – and how much frustration students experience because of this issue.

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One Response to A Whole Lot of Empathy

  1. Thanks for the empathy – but I don’t plan on having as hard a time next term — why? Because when the fall term starts I will get an academic advisor and I’m going to use him/her to get the info I need – hopefully he/she is used to working with distance students – and students who are trying to not pay hundreds of dollats more than they have to.

    If I’m wrong – I’m sure you’ll hear about it!

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