As the decision of how K-12 education will move forward is being determined, UCSB has committed to a hybrid plan for the fall.
While many of my professors were considerate enough to not require textbooks with COVID-19 last quarter, the concern of myself and my peers is that professors may turn back to digital course materials like textbooks and access codes. Access codes force students to buy a single-use password, which is usually only available with the newest edition of a textbook. These are required to access homework, mandatory texts and even tests!
All of this on top of tuition. With increased financial need due to the economic downturn, and a lack of universal and reliable internet access at home, it seems that a significant number of college students will be unable to pay to submit homework and fully participate in class.
There is a solution. Open textbooks, which are free to read, cheap to print, and high quality. They’re written under an open license, which means they’re free to share and professors can adapt them for their classes.
Classes that use open textbooks have seen increased student performance and completion, probably because students actually read books they can afford.
During the remaining time this summer, we need colleges and professors to explore options, like adapting free open textbooks and existing library resources to put onto their class website, to ensure all students are able to get the materials they need to succeed during this time of remote learning.