9 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2020
  2. Jul 2020
  3. Apr 2020
  4. Jul 2019
    1. Reporting on a study at Queensborough Community College, also in the CUNY system, Sheila Beck notes that the library’s reserve textbook collection is “heavily used,” however, staffing and other concerns have prompted librarians to consider “less labor intensive and less costly alternatives.“ Beyond textbook reserves, academic librarians can help students to locate required course readings in other ways: older editions of their required textbook, pre- or post-prints of articles in institutional repositories, articles or other texts in databases subscribed to by the library, or readings that may be in the public domain or otherwise available on the open web.

      The basic economics of this system would indicate (especially as classes become larger and larger) that more careful consideration of choice, economics, accessibility, availability, etc. on a larger institutional level creates larger marginal gains for those in the class. If a staff librarian, teacher, or someone else within the system does the leg-work up front and does it well, then the dozens or even hundreds of students in the course don't need to spend (read: waste) their own time re-inventing the proverbial textbook wheel once they're in the class.

      Portions of the situation here make me wonder if we might pull a page from Dr. Peter Pronovost's playbook in the health care space and create a simple checklist of what to do when planning for textbooks and readings. Checklists that include things like:

      • will the texts actually be used?
      • will they be primary to the subject or are they supplementary?
      • What are their prices?
      • Are alternate materials available?
      • Are older editions available?
      • are public domain or open web versions available?
      • are there copies in the library? reserves? pirated versions? pre/post prints?
      • etc.

      Once such a checklist is available, institutions should require that it be available along with syllabi and other course listings.

      cross references:

  5. Aug 2018
    1. Anomie (/ˈænəˌmi/) is a "condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals".[1] It is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community, e.g., under unruly scenarios resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.

      I can't help but see this definition and think it needs to be applied to economics immediately. In particular I can think of a few quick examples of economic anomie which are artificially covering up a free market and causing issues within individual communities.

      College Textbooks: Here publishers are marketing to professors who assign particular textbooks and subverting students which are the actual market and consumers of those textbooks. This causes an inflated market and has allowed textbook prices to spiral out of control.

      The American Health Care Market In this example, the health care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) have been segmented away from their consumers (patients) by intermediary insurance companies which are driving the market to their own good rather than a free-er set of smaller (and importantly local) markets that would be composed of just the sellers and the buyers. As a result, the consumer of health care has no ability to put a particular price on what they're receiving (and typically they rarely ever ask, even more so when they have insurance). This type of economic anomie is causing terrific havoc within the area.

      (Aside: while the majority of health care markets is very small in size (by distance), I will submit that the advent of medical tourism does a bit to widen potential markets, but this segment of the market is tiny and very privileged in comparison.)