Access codes should not be an alternative to physical textbooks

Access codes should not be an alternative to physical textbooks

Access codes should not be an alternative to physical textbooks
September 26
12:51 2017

Access codes have began to rise in popularity among universities, but just how useful are they really?

There are 25 varied universities in Texas that have moved major classes to being strictly online or partially online. This will require students to purchase access codes to do their homework or to even just begin the class.

Some classes require students to purchase just an access code instead of a physical textbook anymore. Using only access codes in place of physical textbooks yields far too many negatives to students.

Some physical textbooks include an access code along with the book, but most of the time the access code is the only thing which needs to be purchased. And most of the time, the access code alone is more expensive than the already ridiculously priced physical textbook. When students already spend hundreds of dollars on physical textbooks, the last thing students want to buy is an access code for an already purchased textbook or pay extra to have an unnecessary code included in a bundle with the textbook.

If students are already purchasing the required physical textbook, why is having the access code even necessary? Why must some necessary parts of the course be locked behind a paywall, especially when a textbook has already been purchased for that specific course?

The high prices are not the only problem with the access codes, however.

The contents of the access codes are only able to be accessed on a computer and with a wireless connection, so students are not able to access the textbook readings or assignments whenever they would like to if they are not near a computer or laptop or if they do not have a wireless connection.

The physical textbook can be used anytime and anywhere which is extremely beneficial to students. Most students will find themselves looking to get homework in at any possible opportunity.

Access codes are also only for a single use, so there is no sharing with friends or anyone else. And when the class is over, students are stuck with an already used code which has no value to yourself or anyone else because it cannot ever be redeemed again. So, it cannot even be resold to a used bookstore for a little extra cash like the physical counterpart.

Call me afraid of technology, but access codes are not a good alternative to physical textbooks. Paid access codes for textbooks are not necessary for the most part, but especially when the code is used to access homework. Paying for the book to access another paywall feels a bit cruel.

Featured illustration by Max Raign

About Author

Spencer Kain

Spencer Kain

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1 Comment

  1. Brian
    Brian September 28, 07:01

    Great information, I appreciated your perspective on the cost of textbooks issue.

    Reply to this comment

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