A Textbook Dilemma

18 Sep

It’s a familiar topic at the beginning of a semester: textbook prices are increasing exponentially. The College Board estimates that an average U.S. college student spends $1,200 a year on textbooks — a figure representing an 82 percent increase in cost since 2002. That’s triple the rate of inflation in the United States. USF estimates students will spend $1,600 on textbooks per year, a significant expense for students and their families. By not giving students serious alternatives to expensive books, USF makes college less accessible for lower-income students and families.

Like most universities, USF subcontracts the sale of books to a third party, Follett Higher Education Group. Follett sets the prices for books sold on campus and provides a buyback service for students at the end of the semester. However, students expecting to get a fair value when reselling textbooks are routinely disappointed. Follett buys books back at up to 50 percent of their value before turning them around and reselling them as used books higher prices indefinitely.

Textbook prices have soared continually due to the specific nature of the textbook market: few publishers control the majority of the market, and students do not have a say in which texts they are assigned. Five massive educational publishers dominate the market, accounting for 80 percent of all sales. This prevents competition which could potentially drive down prices from entering the market. Further, professors assign book lists without personal financial consequence. Students must buy the books in order to pass the class. This degree of separation benefits textbook publishers, who therefore sell to a captive market with few options.

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College textbooks are going the way of Netflix

13 Sep

A new copy of Glenn Hubbard and Tony O’Brien’s widely used introductory economics textbook costs more than some smartphones. The phone can send you to any part of the web and holds access to the sum of human knowledge. The book is about 800 heavy pages of static text.
Yet thousands of college students around the US are shelling out $250 for these books, each semester, wincing at the many hours ahead of trying to make sense of this attempt to distill the global economy into tiny widgets and graphs. It’s a lot of money for what often feels like mind-numbing, low-grade torture. And it’s tradition. Many of their parents did it before them. It is a rite of passage.

Perhaps no more.

Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, and O’Brien, his co-author, have spent the last three years transforming their classic textbook into a product that can only be described as “education software.” Hubbard and O’Brien worked with an editor for a year and a half to determine what material would be text, and what was better suited for video or interactives. They then spent the same amount of time testing the book on students and professors. The new, virtual version makes its debut this fall. (And it’s one of the resources Texas A&M professor Jon Meer plans to use for his core undergraduate microeconomics course that is going online-only this year for the first time.)

This is the beginning of the end for college’s least enjoyable semi-annual tradition: when kids at the start of each semester have to trek to the school bookstore and walk out textbook-laden, wallet-light. On average, US college students end up spending about $1,200 on books a year.

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How Illinois students are borrowing textbooks for free

31 Aug

The quest for the cheapest textbooks takes students to the farthest reaches of the internet. But there is one online source for getting textbooks that many college students might not realize they have access to: interlibrary loan.

It’s a service that lets students borrow books from any academic or public library in Illinois (and, in some cases, the world). And through I-Share, the database of books available to borrow in Illinois, students can borrow books up to 16 weeks, said Sandy Harris, interlibrary loan manager at Olivet Nazarene University, which adds up to almost a full semester.

Olivet receives more than 2,500 books for students per week on average. While not all of those are textbooks, many of them are, Harris said. If a student has questions on how to get started, they should just ask a librarian. “There are a lot of references to support you if you just come into the library and ask,” Harris said.

And while many students use ILL services for journal articles, Harris added, many students don’t realize they can borrow everything from textbooks to DVDs from 86 participating libraries all over the state.

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HOW YOU CAN SELL THINGS FROM YOUR DORM ROOM

22 Aug

College life opens new possibilities for the students. It is a devil-may-care period of everyone’s life when you move from your parents’ house and start living in a dorm. A lot of students tend to decorate their dorm rooms and buy furniture and some things, which can make this temporary housing cozier. But, after ending the education, many graduates wonder how to earn extra money selling things from a dorm room. We prepared some advice on how to sell some college stuff for all the former students that are leaving for the new apartment.

1. Arrange the garage sale

This advice is too obvious, but it is very helpful. A garage sale is a very convenient way to get rid of stuff and declutter your home. Such type of event gathers many people, who are eager to purchase used things at low prices. Make sure every first-year student is aware about your selling out. They may be extremely interested in dorm room packages. If you have not enough space near your dorm, to organize a yard sale, you can make it possible at your parents’ house.

Things you need to conduct great yard sale: stuff you are going to sell, catchy ad, colorful stickers and a lot of energy!

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2. Offer your textbooks

Textbooks are what students always need. We bet you collected many of them during your college years and it’s time to sell them out!

If you need money fast, selling out your books is the best effective method. Freshmen will be very interested in buying used textbooks, because of two reasons: used books are cheaper, and they can contain previous owner’s tips.

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3. Try Craigslist

Not so long ago you’ve been browsing the Internet for decorating ideas for college dorm rooms, and now you are googling how to sell those decorations. Stop your search and try Craigslist. It is a network, where all who want can sell absolutely everything. Here you start by posting a free ad of the item you desire to sell and wait for the customers’ replies.

4. Get rid of old papers

Leaving your dorm room, you will probably forget about all those papers you have been preparing all years. But, your high quality custom papers, coursework and other assignments can be handy for next generation.

Organize all your papers in a big folder and try to offer them students that might be interested. Not only you will earn extra money, but also help other students in creating their essays and projects.

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5. Conduct an online auction

If you haven’t participated in any auction yet, no big deal – you can conduct one on your own. It is easier than you think and social networks may help you with that. You can post a photo of stuff you want to sell on Facebook or Instagram page and offer your followers to make their bets. Also, don’t forget to set the date of your auction’s ending and prepare to say goodbye to your stuff!

6. Just put an ad in your dorm hall

How didn’t you come up with this idea earlier? All the dormitory halls have boards how small advertisements and announcements. You can draw a bright attracting attention poster and inform inhabitants that you are selling out some things. Add your room location and wait for the first clients. Many first-year collegians will show willingness and desire to buy your desk, pillows or fluffy rug.

7. Make a party

Yeah, even party may help you realize your room sale. Who said parties have to be free? But, instead of the average entrance fee, you can ask visitors to buy something at your place. Deciding on things to sell in college remember about prices: students always live on a shoestring budget, so make your stuff affordable for collegians. Besides, used stuff cannot be expensive.

And don’t forget about the original concept of every party: to have fun! Plan your activities and present exclusive and extraordinary things for sale.

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We are confident those tips will help you make your wallet thicker. But, if you don’t chase money, you can try good old charity. A lot of people can’t afford some furniture and other things, so you can invest in your karma and give away your stuff.

By Nicholas

Challenges Faced By Students During Research For Their Final Year Projects

29 Jul

Expert Author Samuel Nengolong

It is common knowledge in Nigeria as a nation that every first degree seeking individual (undergraduates) at the tail end (final year) of his/her stay in the tertiary institution of learning, must as a matter of fact undergo one of the must “dreaded” and strenuous part of schooling (some students go ahead to hire a writer to carry on their research(es) for them, popular known among the educational populace as project or Final Year Project.

Many things come together to form the criteria for setting apart who was successful in his stay in school and otherwise. Continuous Assessment, Test, group work(s) and at times personal research then the mother of all, exams. All these are more or less, the yardstick for weighing the “bright” students from the “dull” ones.

Where do final year projects come into the picture and why? We will take a close look at it below.

Tertiary institutions are structured to be the last point of training of professionals (undergraduates) who will duly fill in the vacuums, if there are any and they make up the manpower industry. None can be a lawyer, doctor, sociologist, engineer, architect without proper training in the University.

That being said and done, let’s take a quick look at one of the most vital and important part of this aforementioned training.

FINAL YEAR PROJECT TOPICS.

What entails a final year project topic or research?

The definition of the word project as provided by the Oxford advanced learners dictionary will not serve our purpose for this article.

The final year project is the culmination of the degree – it gives students a chance to demonstrate all they have learned. The project module is very different from other modules. The project tests students’ ability to: design, engineer and evaluate quality systems, research their chosen subject area.

This final year project research works, just like every other part of schooling has in its own stead some difficulties attached to it.

One of which is the nature of the final year project topics.

The difficulties attached to this is not far fetched as, even though every project topic is important but we cannot deny the fact that there are some very difficult phenomenon that will serve as a bone in one’s research.

For instance if one’s final year project topic has a lot to do with the menaces of cultism and it’s effects on the student population in Nigerian tertiary institutions, we cannot dispute the obvious fact that it is a very important topic but the process and research will perhaps be a herculean one. How to go about this topic may not be the problem, but getting first hand information will seriously be an issue.

Another difficulty faced by students is accessibility to important (undergraduate) research materials. It is a bitter truth to state that some tertiary institutions in Nigeria have substandard libraries and old books. Where students cannot get access to updated books, they will by extension find difficulties in getting adequate information vital for the undertaking of their final year project.

Another difficulty faced by students is the nature of some of their project supervisors.

Supervisors are meant to supervise, support, advice and aid students in the course of their research but some of this supervisors only frustrate the work of the students. Some students pray fervently they escape some particular lecturers as supervisors when they finally get to the promise land.

A lecturer’s strict nature coupled with their high taste of judgmental nature may scare students in the course of their project. I’ve seen situations where supervisors cancel the first submissions made by their students for very trivial reasons which could be easily corrected.

Another difficulty faced by students is the approval of final year project topics.

This should normally take effect as soon as possible so that students can have enough time to make research, conduct interviews and make questionnaires so that they can catch the early worm but at times, for no concrete reasons the approval gets delayed for way too long and when it finally gets approved students may not get enough time to execute the projects judicially.

Another difficulty faced by students to be honest is the procrastination on the students part.

Time management is one of the most imperative factors to be duly considered by students in school but some of the students procrastinate and when it’s almost time for submissions then they rush, rush and rush their work. No it won’t work well that way. It won’t.

In a situation where ones final year project requires oral communication, relating with people who may not be learned or literate per-say, may be little bit of a problem. I know of a lady whose final year project was to be executed in a remote village and she was to conduct an interview with a faction of the villagers. Communicating with the women was a serious problem for her.

Just like every other phenomenon in life generally, difficulties are sure to come our way. Even roses have thorns.

It’s only a matter of hard work and dedication that can ease the stress that comes along with projects. Being in the know of the challenges and the very importance of projects in molding students and preparing them for what to expect in the wider world and to be specific their field of professionalism, tertiary institutions may want to go back to the drawing board and conjure up ways to ease the stress students face during projects and also find means of getting the best out of students in the course of this important exercise.

Nobody loves low grades and the heavy credit load a final year project carries alone scares students into doing virtually everything in their power to make sure they pass and pass very well.

Nigerian students hardly get marred by difficult situations, they always find a way to make things happen.

Tough times don’t last but tough people do, and this by no means is justifying the neglect on the part of both students and teachers in this situation.

When we all do what we have to do, then we can bring into reality that which we’ve always dreamt of.

For further enquiry, reach me via email nensamuel[at]gmail[dot]com