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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Dec 2020
    1. People who think that racial differences are all biological might say that all these non-White groups have suffered so much excess death because of that bottom circle, because of greater biological susceptibility.  Recent studies have evaluated this hypothesis and found that it’s not true.  Instead the answer is simpler: Black and Latino/a people in particular are dying of COVID-19 at such staggering rates because they are more likely to be exposed to the virus in infectious settings, particularly workplaces.
  3. Oct 2020
    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:

  4. Aug 2020
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  6. Apr 2020