Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Weird Blame site and contest

On to the news post for today -- which makes a nice follow-up to last Friday's posting. Check out the Weird Blame website sponsored by the CCRA up in Canada. The site has a well done video -- kind of weird, as you might expect. They had some variations, so I hope those get released at some point as well. The Weird Blame site was conceived of by the CCRA members and is a great idea. Here is some of the text explaining the site, and a related contest they are running...

... The textbook industry operates according to some very weird market forces. In what has been coined a "Broken Market," the student does not choose their product, and the instructor or department that does choose the textbook does not actually purchase it. As a result, price is removed from the purchasing decision, allowing publishers to set higher prices. In addition, there exists very little competition in the textbook market, with only a handful of major publishers to choose from.

It would also be 'weird' if university bookstores selected which textbooks to be used for every course. If that were the case, you can rest assured every book would be in stock well before the start of class! Unfortunately, textbooks can't be shipped until orders are received from the instructors, who first have to wait for department administration to decide their courses of instruction. As a result of this process, orders are often placed too late for the books to arrive before classes begin.

Although the prices of textbooks are climbing faster than would be expected, and communication problems can result in textbooks being ordered too late for the beginning of classes, it should be noted that both bookstores and faculty are committed to do all they can to get orders in on time, resist new editions of textbooks, prevent unwanted add-ons, and encourage peer-to-peer exchange (sale) of used books.

Kudos to the CCRA members!

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