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Wait a Minute: Textbooks — are they relevant?

A new semester begins, and for parents and students alike, expensive textbooks are an additional stressor. Educators sometimes demand students buy the newest copy, access codes or the copy they have written personally. Do we really need them, or is this a scam for professors to make money?

With technology at our fingertips like never before, most resources are online. Yes, there are online textbooks, but from my experience, I learn more from taking notes in class than I do from any textbook. Also, not all professors use all chapters in these textbooks, making me wonder, "How much money did I waste on words I won’t even read? "

Now, I’m not a professor and have not done any studies on whether or not owning an expensive textbook helps you do to better in school, but why not just pay for the chapters we need? Can we rent textbooks for chapters? Have professors buy pamphlets or make their own mini book we rent for the semester from them personally? Do we need to spend nearly five hundred dollars on books that, honestly, very few students read?

I learn most from note taking and lectures. Top Hat quizzes and in class discussions really help me engage in the material and the class. Sitting in silence reading and taking notes can help to an extent, but I am not nearly as enthusiastic about my learning. That is why I believe finding alternative ways, or less textbook readings, may benefit learning and help save money. 

I think education is expensive enough, and yet with our changing world, it is almost vital to get a degree in order to have a financially well-off job. So, whether you’re a parent or student, don’t be afraid to ask questions to professors and universities about how necessary those textbooks are. 

Lauren Sheil is a freshman studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think? Let Lauren know by tweeting her @laurensheil101.

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