In college, many courses require students to purchase textbooks to accompany the material professors teach in class.
On average, Pranay Patel said he uses his textbooks about two hours a week.
“I don’t feel like [textbooks] are necessary,” the sophomore economics major said. “There are a lot of other ways for you to learn, but they are definitely helpful if you use them,”
Patel said he buys about four textbooks every semester; however, he only ends up actually using two.
Ange Cho, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, said she only uses textbooks during finals week for about 10 hours because lecture material is more imperative.
“I rely on the professor’s notes more than the book.” Cho said. “The tests we take are usually off of the professor’s notes.”
University research assistant professor Timothy Canty said he relies on textbooks as a foundation to supplement with lectures.
“Keep in mind that a lot of textbooks got their start as a professor’s class notes and grew into an actual text,” he said.
Students estimated spending an average of $370 on required course materials during the 2013 fall semester, according to the National Association of College Stores.
Cho said she purchased about 12 textbooks at the beginning of last year’s fall semester leading to her current semester. She said she used only three or four textbooks.
“I can envision classes without textbooks requiring more engaged discussion, but this would require students to actively participate in their classes,” Canty said. “And, from my experience, it’s very difficult to get that from some students.”
Corey Ruben, a sophomore business major, said textbooks are essential.
“Sometimes I don’t even go to class and I just use my textbooks because they have all the information that the professors actually use,” Ruben said.
The Internet makes some textbooks outdated and unnecessary, sophomore economics major Daniel Galitsky said.
“Textbooks are becoming less and less relevant in this day and age,” he said. “The Internet is what is causing the textbook to lose much of its relevance.”
Galitsky estimated 25 percent of his textbooks go unopened during the semester. He said textbooks serve a small purpose.
“A reference material for the whole class to use is good, but the actual physical copy and paying money for it is unnecessary,” Galitsky said.
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