February 8, 2018
We all share a concern about reducing the high cost of course materials and ensuring those materials are accessible by our students. Please see below for information regarding instructors’ responsibilities and important upcoming deadlines for submitting assigned course books and readers.
Affordability: The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) has provisions to reduce costs to students while supporting instructors' ability to select high-quality course materials. HEOA requires that course book information be made available to students before they enroll in a course. UC Berkeley complies with HEOA by asking faculty to submit book orders to the Cal Student Store even in cases where faculty place orders with independent bookstores, so they can be listed in the course catalogue. Providing book lists to the Cal Student Store, regardless of where books are ordered, also makes it possible for the store to buy back books at the end of the semester and offer them at a discount in the future.
Accessibility: In addition, each faculty has the responsibility* to identify instructional materials for his or her courses far enough in advance of the semester that the Disabled Students Program has adequate time to convert them into an accessible format, e.g., Braille, large print, digital/electronic. Timely submission of textbook adoptions enables the University to meet its legal requirement to provide students with disabilities an equal educational opportunity to learn course subject matter, to participate actively in classroom discussions, and to meet assignment deadlines.
The first date is the HEOA affordability deadline for submitting textbook adoptions to the Cal Student Store. The second date is the seven week-accommodation deadline by which textbooks and readers should be adopted/available for purposes of accommodating students with disabilities.
- Affordability Deadline: March 15, 2018
- Accommodation Deadline: April 16, 2018
- Affordability Deadline: April 15, 2018
- Accommodation Deadline: July 11, 2018
- Affordability Deadline: October 15, 2019
- Accommodation Deadline: December 3, 2019
Tips for Reducing Costs and Increasing Accessibility
There are many ways to reduce these costs and ensure accessibility, and you and your colleagues have helped in a variety of ways. We hope you continue to:
- use common textbooks, where possible, for related courses or keep the same text for two or more years;
- create online readers that combine open educational resources with electronic resources licensed by the Library http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/services/ereadings.html;
- place copies on Library reserve (for those textbooks that are still in print);
- use electronic and open content solutions available to students at very low or no cost (http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/);
- meet textbook adoption deadlines to allow timely course book availability and low-cost book options;
- work with the Disabled Students Program to provide students with print disabilities a copy of the course textbook/reader in an accessible format (note: for conversion purposes, it is important that course-reader text be clean and legible);
- meet textbook/reader identification deadlines to allow timely conversion and thus equal educational opportunity for students with print disabilities.
For more tips, please visit:
Best regards and thank you for your assistance in this increasingly important matter.
Catherine P. Koshland
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education
*Details on faculty responsibility with regard to student accessibility:
Faculty and other course instructors may be subject to referral to the Vice Provost for the Faculty if they refuse to submit textbook adoptions at least seven weeks before classes start. To be subject to referral, the instructors must have been made aware of this policy and must have knowingly refused to follow it without good cause, whether arbitrarily or not. The Vice Provost will consider whether faculty misconduct has occurred under Section II.A. of the Faculty Code of Conduct http://apo.chance.berkeley.edu/faculty_misconduct_015.pdf for (1) failure to meet the responsibilities of instruction due to “arbitrary denial of access to instruction”, (2) discrimination against a student for reasons of disability, or (3) violation of University policy, including the pertinent guidelines concerning nondiscrimination against students on the basis of disability.