Textbook alternatives present challenges

Books vs Computer

With the increases in costs of nearly everything these days, students are finding the prices of textbooks to be frustrating. Many classes have transitioned to a Day-1-Digital (D1D) format, a stark change to what used to be a paper textbook for every class. 

Day-1-Digital automatically charges students’ Kirkwood account for the price of the textbook so students can jump into the work very quickly. 

I have had two classes use Day-1-Digital but they were not the same. My Information Computing class used a program through Cengage where each assignment was easily accessible from a link within Talon. Once I linked my Cengage account to Talon, I only needed the Talon sign-in to access the assignments. 

However, my Intro to Chemistry class, which is through Pearson, requires me to click through three buttons just to access the assignments. 

Both programs allow for instant grading within the Talon gradebook. Both programs are also automatically added to the student bill without any option to avoid the cost without dropping the class. 

To be more transparent with this fixed cost, the college should include the cost in the price of tuition when signing up for classes. Although it may make the class less appealing to students upfront, it will lead to less confusion. Kirkwood is very transparent when it comes to other fees, so it seems odd that the price of Day-1-Digital is not presented at the class sign-up page. 

For context, Kirkwood only adds a $50 technology fee to its tuition while the University of Iowa has ten different fees with a sum of around $900 added to tuition.  

Some students have expressed a distaste for Day-1-Digital and claim that instructors are no longer teaching them the material and only using Day-1-Digital for practice. While online resources can eliminate the need for instructors to score practice quizzes, the instructors that I have had still gave solid classroom instruction and explained all concepts necessary for exams. 

While Day-1-Digital is the new and flashy way to learn, it has its flaws for students who like physical textbooks and doing work on paper.

Image courtesy of Zebi Kimani

Categories: Editorials, Opinion