Deadline approaching for fall '09 early textbook list;
first semester successful

Fall 2009 likely is far from the minds of those busy winding down the current semester, but as the registration season approaches, the university reminds faculty it is important to choose their texts early, to help students locate less expensive used books.

Early textbook-adoption deadlines for fall 2009 are June 25 for local bookstores to order used texts and July 20 for student comparison-shopping. If faculty already have listed their texts for their fall courses, students will see the selection during this registration period.

The early adoption program enacted before the current semester was quite successful, organizers say. Sixty-two percent of classes with enrollment capacity greater than 100 had textbooks or course packs entered by the early adoption deadline, and 4,432 textbooks were entered at one point into a new tool housed in the Wolverine Access Faculty Center. The tool was developed by Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS) and the CTools Implementation Group. When faculty members enter textbook information it also is visible to students via Wolverine Access Class Search/Course Catalog and in the CTools My Workspace.

"U-M faculty members have been very responsive to our students' need to save money on textbooks. It has been encouraging to see how many units have embraced the practice of early ordering," says Lester Monts, senior vice provost.

Deborah Goldberg, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in LSA, was a member of the task force that helped create the program. She says the 32 faculty members in her department responded favorably to early adoption.

"Once I explained to faculty the benefit to students, they were quite willing to do it," Goldberg says of the primary reason for the new program, which is to save students from having to pay for newer, more costly textbooks when used ones could be available.

Overall, faculty members across the university are positive about early deadlines, Goldberg says. They just like to be reminded.

"I think having it on CTools as a reminder is really helpful."

Dianna Rehn, third-year psychology student and a resident adviser, saw information about the program when she logged into CTools.

"I thought it was very helpful and I was able to get my books ahead of time," Rehn says. "Not all of my instructors had posted on there yet, so I wasn't able to get all of them. I got books for three of my psych classes, like research methods."

Many students embraced a new CTools feature called UBook that allows them to list books they wish to sell. For winter semester, students posted 4,417 texts. The total last week was up to 4,512, a number expected to grow over the next few weeks as students prepare to sell books from the current semester.

It's unclear how many books actually sold, because the tool serves as an electronic billboard only — the transactions occur between the students, not in the software.

Faculty responses to steering committee members and deans revealed some confusion about ordering exclusively through local sellers. The online tool allows a faculty member or department to order directly from all the local booksellers or a single preferred vendor.

The early adoption program comes well in advance of new federal rules through the Higher Education Opportunity Act that require universities to include textbook information and prices in online course listings by July 1, 2010. U-M will move toward 100 percent use of online ordering from local booksellers in the next 18 months.