bookshelf

Textbooks – Are They Necessary?

The last two semesters have seen significant change to the DSU bookstore. For starters the name- now officially the Trojan Zone. As of last semester, and in accordance with pandemic social distancing, the Trojan Zone exclusively sells textbooks online. The process is rather simple, and having books delivered has already become the standard on campus. While those who waited till the last minute to buy their books had to wait additional time in some cases, overall it seems to have gone off without any notable problems.

            At the beginning of this semester, the Trojan Zone implemented a new procedure that aims to make the process of purchasing books that much easier. With the implementation of a First Day Access model it has become nearly automatic to be prepared the first day of class. A message on the bookstore website indicates the new change. “First Day Access allows students to obtain eBooks via D2L on the first day of class at significantly reduced prices.” For any class that is part of the First Day Access program students will automatically have their books available to them. Another upside to this program is that these books will be charged to student accounts negating the hassle of extra costs associated with books at the beginning of the semester.

            To better understand how these changes have affected students I spoke with Cyber Operations major Angel Gamboa about how some students currently obtain and use textbooks. His general sentiment was that textbooks were becoming obsolete. This is because they lack sufficient content to teach everything in his computer science classes. “Higher level class lectures usually encompass the content, with textbooks being used for supplemental learning.” Gamboa went on to explain that he feels that professors that really care about the class don’t rely upon a book, especially when it comes to higher level cyber operations classes.

            According to Angel no textbook is sufficient to cover all the material in his classes. He told me that in particular his Information Security class utilized tweets to reference state of art research and knowledge being discovered. For some classes there isn’t enough published content for a single textbook to teach everything the class covers. For my fellow Cyber Leadership and Intelligence majors this is something we are familiar with as it is not uncommon for our classes to frequently utilize journal articles alongside, or in place of, textbooks. For those classes that Angel does need a book for he mentioned that “e-books are preferred so that I can search through the book easier” when doing homework and taking quizzes. 

            As we slowly emerge from the pandemic it appears that the Trojan Zone has already established some changes that will remain. The need to socially distance led to an all online book buying experience, and now it appears this method will stick around even after the pandemic subsides. The emergence of the First Day Access program also shows that the way in which we obtain and use class materials is slowly evolving to the default of digital books. When we come back to campus this fall, we can be reassured that the process of preparing for classes has become more streamlined with a simpler process of buying books. That is, if your classes still require them.

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