With the drop/add deadline already passed,
many students are left with books and coursepacks no longer
necessary for their class loads. While bookstores usually allow the
return of books no longer needed, coursepacks are another issue.
Typically, copy centers are unwilling to grant returns —
after all, as many students complain, there is a high price tag on
what is essentially several hundred pages of 10-cent copies. Since
copy centers are unable or unwilling to change policies, it is up
to professors to help students.
While coursepacks are often the best way of putting together a
variety of unique essays and information, professors should ensure
that within the first three weeks of class, when students are
switching between classes, that coursepack material is available on
library reserve. While there is no denying that a hard copy is
often the most desirable form, professors should also make better
use of the electronic reserve system that allows students to log on
and read the material online.
Professors have resources such as the library reserves and the
electronic reserves. Too many times, students have found that the
professor has not placed his coursepack on the library reserves
(special thanks to the professors who do). This simple task would
brighten the eyes of many. Instead of purchasing the coursepack for
a class that a student might be dropping, and losing money,
students should be able to simply go to the library and keep up
with the reading for free. Even for those not dropping the class,
it’s always helpful to have all of the course materials on
Instead of making students spend money on a 40-page coursepack,
it would be ideal to put the whole thing on electronic reserves.
This solution makes all students happy because it is free and frees
them from spending even more money and time in line during book
rush. It also saves paper. However, for those who prefer a hard
copy, professors should still offer the option of coursepacks.
If either of the reserve strategies does not work for the
professor, the last resort could always be to not assign coursepack
reading until after the drop deadline. Books can always be returned
or sold, or even held for the next semester. Coursepacks,
unfortunately, are class-specific and are not returnable.
During the first three weeks of class professors should ensure
that the class readings are accessible at either the library or
online. This way, students will feel more free to experiment with
classes and will not feel forced to remain in a class only so as to
justify the expense of an unreturnable $80 coursepack.