A new patent issued last week may change the very “Hey dude, let me borrow your book today” mentality that has become so prevalent on college campuses nationwide.
According to Virtual-Strategy Magazine the patent was written by a Puerto Rican Economics professor (I didn’t even know our little island colony’s residents had that kind of power). The main focus is to add an online “Access Code” to every textbook, which is required to access mandatory online discussion boards for the class.
The patent is mainly designed to prevent online piracy, but in an effort to overcome the potential loss of profits it completely loses sight of the most important part of the college equation, the student.
If you’ve ever participated in an online discussion board for a class, you know how worthless they end up being. Every time a class requires online posts, the discussions end up being horrifically simple question and answer sessions, with every student just writing the bare minimum to get credit.
If this policy becomes adopted by major colleges, you can be assured that discussion boards will be filled with pointless statements like “I Really Liked Reading Chapter 4,” “Can Anyone Explain Market Segmentation?” and “Does Anyone Else Think the Professor is a Money Grubbing Cuntfuck?” Maybe not the last one, but we can dream can’t we? The fact of the matter is that educational enrichment does not spawn from a forced online discussion, and professors relying on them is just a tribute to their laziness.
Not only does this patent potentially add a huge inconvenience to class time, but it also will effectively cripple the used textbooks market that countless stores and websites rely on. To alleviate this, the author states that publishers can offer a reduced cost access code to those who purchase used textbooks. Essentially, they’re trying to get paid multiple times for the same textbook, and the only result could be a vast inflation of textbook prices.
If there’s one thing college doesn’t need, it’s more expensive textbooks. Year after year, I face another flaky professor who states “You don’t really need the book,” after each student has made a $200 non refundable purchase. Many professors use textbooks they’ve written themselves, and this process ensures that they’ll be getting a fat paycheck of student misery month after month.
I can only hope this attempt to standardize college textbooks fails miserably. If you’ve never been a student in the internet age, you shouldn’t have the right to dictate how future students use this technology in their educational pursuits. We think online discussion boards are pointless, we only want to pay for textbooks once, and we think you should be able to borrow a friend’s textbook whenever you damn well please. Lighten the fuck up accordingly.