Course Materials & Textbook Terminology
Both textbooks and course materials come in a variety of formats. While faculty select which materials will be used in their classes. The BookStore works to offer students economical options to either purchase or rent these materials. The following is a list of common terms you may encounter when purchasing course materials and textbooks in-store or online.
Some classes required students to get digital access to a course –specific website that is administered by the instructor. These website are similar to online classes and can include assignments, quizzes, study aids, discussion groups, and even an e-textbook. Although some access codes can be purchased separately (similar to an online subscription) they usually are packaged with new textbooks or included in custom bundles.
Instructors often work with publishers to create custom course material bundles. These packages often include an abridged version of the required textbook, an access code, and possibly lecture notes produced specifically for the class. Individual components might be available for purchase separately.
At the end of term, The BookStore provides students with the opportunity to sell their textbooks through a program called Buyback. If your professor, or another professor has opted to adopt the book for the next semester, then you may be able to get cash for textbook.
Custom coursepacks are collections of readings from various sources that your instructor has produced specifically for a class. Coursepacks can range in size from a few pages to several hundred and are almost always required.
Direct Inclusive Access aka Direct Digital
A new type of educational software adapts content ot the knowledge level of the learner to create a more personalized learning experience, which helps the student to master concepts before moving on to new material.
Some textbooks are available in a digital format that can be read on a variety of devices. Because there are no associated printing costs, the price of e-textbooks is generally lower than traditional formats. It’s worth noting, however, that access expires after a certain length of time, generally 6-24 months.
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is 13-digit number that uniquely identifies the specific edition of a given work. It’s important for students to find the ISBN of a required course material to make sure they have the correct edition needed.
Learning Management System (LMS)
A learning management system, or electronic registrar, handles record keeping for enrollment and student management, including information on students such as skills tracking. Students can log into the LMS to view information on each of their classes, submit homework, take tests, participate in discussions, and communicate with faculty. In some cases, course materials may even be accessed through the LMS.
Open Educations Resources (OER)
Open educational resources are materials that are available at no cost or low cost to students. This is because they were created under an open copyright license or are no longer under copyright. Many OER materials must be accessed online, but check with your professor to see if a print version is available.
Professors might recommend optional materials to expand students’ understanding of a given subject. Unlike required textbooks and course materials, instructors don’t generally refer to optional materials nor will they assign specific readings or assignments from them.
Always, always, always keep your receipts! If you need to return any of your course materials, you’ll need the receipt. Before you purchase or rent materials, take the time to read and understand the return policy. Don’t assume that our vendors will allow you to return materials for full credit. Also, most course materials are considered tax deductible, which again requires the receipts.
These are textbooks and course materials that instructors will teach from, often assigning specific readings and assignments necessary to learn the subject. These materials are considered essential for academic success. Most lab manuals, for example, are required since students must regularly submit completed assignments for grading purposes.
Many campus stores rent textbooks for a set period, such as a semester. This can be a cost-effective solution, especially when students won’t be using the textbook for subsequent classes.
Because many professors use the same textbook for several terms, students are often able to buy (and sell) used textbooks, whether through The BookStore or another location, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Be aware that instructors require specific editions of a given textbook for their courses. Be sure to make sure that you’re getting the correct version required for your class. Also, if a course requires an access code, see if The BookStore offers the code to be purchases separately before buying used materials elsewhere. Otherwise you may end up spending more money than you anticipated. Finally, because stock is always limited, be sure to shop early in the term as used books tend to sell first. When in doubt, ask our staff for assistance.
Still have questions? When in doubt, ask your instructor or The BookStore for help with your textbooks. Student success is based on Getting the best most-effective course materials possible, and help is always available.