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Late books are a disadvantage for students

by Archives October 2, 2002

Part of going back to school is finding classrooms, exploring the campuses and – everyone’s favourite – dropping a few hundred dollars at the campus bookstore. Sometimes however books come in very late in the semester and this disrupts the learning process, putting students at a disadvantage.

Books required for fall courses are ordered at least eight weeks before classes begin, to ensure they will be on the shelves when students need them – at the beginning of the semester. But this is not always the case. Some courses still do not have their books and this is the fifth week of school.

One of my summer classes had to wait three weeks for a book. Summer classes are only seven weeks long. Many students did not properly master the material of the course, which was international public law. This is not a class for slackers and the course demanded a whole lot of reading to really understand the material.

Since the book came in so late, students had little time to absorb it. Moreover, because the book was late, parts of the course content were not covered, because the professor could not cover it, leaving students feeling short-changed. Thirty of the ninety students received a grade in the C range and below. Nothing annoys students more than getting a raw deal, especially when they are paying for education with their hard-earned money.

With nearly 30,000 students, the university should use pressure tactics and demand that publishers deliver their books on time. Considering that books are crucial to studying, they should at the bookstore when classes start. If the books are late, the publisher should bring down the price of books, in relation to the amount of time that they are late.

Not only that, but it is totally unfair to students. They pay to go to class and for books. If books are not in, their educational experience is greatly minimized and they should be compensated for something that is beyond their control.

In some instances shipping is to be blamed for late books. Books being late because they have to be printed is unacceptable; that is why professors order about eight weeks in advance to avoid this problem.

Concordia must negotiate with publishers that books be delivered in a timely fashion. And, when they are late, see to it that students are compensated – in the form of discounted prices – for lost study time. Students not getting books can prevent them from fully taking advantage of their courses.

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