Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Access codes are a scam

Posted on January 28, 2018 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Hawraa Rikan, Contributor 

It is January, which means it is the start of the spring semester for students. Students are preparing to begin classes, which means doing their least favorite thing: buying books. Now before I dig deeper into this article, I am certain that some baby boomers will read this article and call me a whiny millennial. Keep in mind that I am whining because the cost of college and books have gone up drastically since you were my age.  

After multiple attempts by college students to decrease the cost of books, companies have figured a way to make it impossible for students to resell their books. They introduced access codes, which come with their own advantages, such as; access to an e-book, practice exam questions, online videos to help students understand concepts, and course assignments. These access codes, unlike books, can only be used once. Hey baby boomers, remember when you did all of that by paper and pens? Well, here is something to be thankful for: you did not have to pay hundreds of dollars to do your homework.

When I was a freshman in college, I took a math course where the professor required us to purchase a MyMathLab course code. I was able to do my math problems and get them corrected online. If I was stuck on a problem and needed help, there was an online demonstration to help me solve the problem. Now, I am sure you are asking yourself, what was the purpose of the professor who got paid thousands of dollars to “teach” the course? Well, her job was to get on MyMathLab and access students’ scores, and put these scores in her grading book. Wouldn’t you love to get paid thousands of dollars just to do that? I know I do!

Numerous research suggests that doing homework and taking notes by hand help students learn, focus, and memorize concepts better. Unfortunately, professors want to make their job easier by making technology do their work. We sure are technologically advancing, but morally retrogressing. Maybe we should require professors to pay a fee for the online system that allows them to put grades in. I would love to see their reactions. You also cannot use the argument that they are saving trees by going digital, because these companies that produce the access codes also offer the physical books at an extra charge to students.

What should be the next step? Perhaps moving away from the scam that is called access codes would be a great way to ensure students learn better and get some profit back by reselling their used books to other struggling college students. Also, not everyone has the technological means to do their homework online. Go back to paper and pens, for God’s sake.

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