Faculty Taking Steps to Reduce Text Costs

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Faculty Soft-cover Books Image

TMCC faculty including Thomas Cardoza, Blakely Hume, John Kemp, Ted Lambert, Ben Scheible and other professors have worked to reduce costs of textbooks for students.

Faculty and staff at Truckee Meadows Community College are now accelerating the adoption of lower cost academic course materials, creating a more economical pathway for students.

These savings complement the already cost-effective tuition rate at the community college level in Nevada, which is less than one-half of most other four-year universities.

TMCC professors have developed economical soft-cover textbooks, including interactive materials and free texts. Careful attention is paid to building quality, collaborative materials, professors say.

“I wrote my own, free-to-students online textbook for my Humanities 105 students,” said Thomas Cardoza, PhD, Humanities Professor. “I teach 70 students per semester, and it saves them each about $100. I've set that entire course up so that students can do it with no costs beyond their TMCC fees.”

For Communications 101 and 113, Dr. Cardoza and two colleagues edited two existing communications textbooks through Fountainhead Press, completing a TMCC custom edition. Additionally, this reduced the cost of the books from $130 to under $59.

“The instructors who did the most work on this project were Jennifer Hennessy-Booth and Olivia Biondi,” Cardoza said. “I also wrote a soft-cover Core Humanities 203 textbook, 'The American Experiment,’ with Blakely Hume. That replaced two books at $274 with a single volume costing just over $92. About 1000 students per year use that book.”

Philosophy faculty also moved to less expensive titles of textbooks for the courses PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy, PHIL 102: Critical Thinking and Reasoning, and PHIL 210: World Religions.

“It's hard to pin down exact cost savings since students rent, borrow, or buy used, but I estimate we have saved students many thousands of dollars in the last year alone, and we hope to do more in the future,” Cardoza added.

Ted Lambert, Mathematics Professor, has created low-cost textbooks for Algebra, Precalculus and College Mathematics that also include lecture videos, workbooks or homework software. Rebecca Burke co-wrote the Beginning Algebra text.

Real Estate and Business Professor Ben Scheible has written a textbook which retails for close to $29. The textbook is published by Dearborn Real Estate Education, a division of Kaplan, Inc. and is entitled, "Nevada Real Estate Principles, 2nd ed."

Free Curated Library Research Guides are Online

Instructors, together with Library staff, have developed Library Research Guides to help students with research papers, including the following:

  • Anthropology 102: Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Janeal Godfrey, Instructor
  • Business 107: Business Speech Communications, Nancy O’Neal, Instructor
  • Core Humanities 202: The Modern World, Joe Domitrovich, Instructor
  • Core Humanities 203: American Experiences and Constitutional Change, Joe Domitrovich, Instructor
  • English 102: Composition II, Lindsay Wilson, Professor
  • EPY 101: Educational, Career and Personal Development, multiple staff members
  • Nursing 212: Cultural Aspects of Nursing Care, Ellen House, Professor
  • Spanish 222: Hispanic-America and Its Culture, Gabriela Brochu, Instructor

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Another way that textbook costs are now being reduced is with open source materials. These are publicly available and free to use by students and professors. Many of these materials are peer-reviewed and most can be adapted to a specific course by adding additional information or conforming their contents to custom match the required concepts.

For more information about assistance with college costs, please contact the Financial Aid, Scholarships and Student Employment Office at 775-673-7072, and for information about OER, please contact Neil Siegel at 775-674-7608.