Law will make textbook info available before students register

After several years of debate, the Higher Educations Act has been reauthorized. A key part of the act, Section 133, will require professors to provide students with the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) of every required and recommended textbook and supplemental materials and retail price information, the act states. This information will be provided at the time of the student’s class registration "to the maximum extent practicable."

Currently, professors send their book requests to the bookstore which tells the bookstore which books need to be ordered. But once this act is in effect, professors must gather information on what books they will be using far before they have done in the past. ""[We] will have to find new ways of doing what we need to do," associate provost of Oswego state, Mohammad (Rameen) Mohammadi said.

This may become a very time-consuming process for professors and they will have to try new ways to get this information to students in the time required, Mohammadi said. He also said that it may become a problem when new professors enter Oswego State and they are unsure of which book they are interested in using for their course. Having information on the books too soon may also cause problems if a professor changes their mind or a new professor decides to use a different book from a previous professor in that class. The process of gathering the books’ information may even overlap into the summer. Though compliance with this federal law is expected to take effect by July 2010, 100 percent compliance is impossible said Mohammadi. And if professors run into problems, they are allowed to post that the information is "to be determined."

"It’s good for students because they have enough time to find books at the cheapest price," Stephen Dwyer, a junior technology major. He also said that it would give him the opportunity to purchase his books at home because of their cheaper price in comparison to the prices at Oswego State. ""The intent is for students to have more information," Mohammadi said. The increase in time students have will also stop them from scrambling for their books in the beginning of the semester.

"It’ll help the bookstore by making them more prepared for the incoming semesters because they will be able to get shipments sooner said Brittani Arnold sophomore TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) major, and former employee of the Oswego State College Bookstore. "But professors will not be happy." It will also be up to "Publishers [who] are required to provide faculty with information on price, copyright dates of the three previous editions, any substantial revisions between a new edition and prior iterations," the act states. Though Dwyer said it would be good for students, he also stated that it would negatively affect him when he becomes a teacher.

"Professors would have to make their lessons plan in advance," Dwyer said. "Usually professors use the summer to work on their lesson plan and this would take a lot of time away from them to figure things out." The Higher Education Act, a federal law, will take effect in July 2010 and every institution of higher learning will have to abide by it.