Univ. of Maryland System Schools Test Book-Free Courses - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Univ. of Maryland System Schools Test Book-Free Courses

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SALISBURY, Md. - With the rising cost of college these days, college students may be forced to find ways to trim expenses. But, with the advances in modern technology, some Maryland Universities are helping them by ditching the books.

This spring, the University System of Maryland is testing a pilot program at select schools, where students use open source texts instead of course books in certain classes.

"I think it cold be very helpful," said Salisbury Junior Alejandro Batlle.

"I think it's a good idea," agreed Tony Posada. "Everyone is always on their phones, tablets and Macs already."

Similar set-ups are already being used at schools like M.I.T., where students can download notes, lectures and watch videos, ultimately making course books less important.

Professor Kamal Hennayake is currently using it at Chesapeake College, and says his students love it because it's easy to access, and it saves them $160 each on the equation text.

"I share the links through the course management system," Hennayake said. "They can keep it on their computer and they like it. But there are no solutions at the end of the book," he laughed.

A lot of a college student's costs doesn't go to what they learn in the classroom, it's what they bring to it. Some hope they adopt the change to lighten the load.

"That would save me a lot of money," Freshman Megan Bradford said. "I mean I spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks."

The proof it is in black and white. So far, the 1,100 students in the program have saved a total $130,000 on books. But some worry about yet another reason to be online.

"I prefer having the textbooks just because you're able to write in it, you can mark it up as much as you want," Freshman Shannon McCarthy said.

"Yes, they are heavy, you have to lug them around but we always stare at computer screens for our own personal use or at our phones, so I feel like if I was trying to read a textbook online, I would just spend too much time on a computer screen."

The pilot is at six schools: Bowie State, Chesapeake College, Coppin State, St. Mary's College, and the Universities of Baltimore and College Park.

The University System of Maryland plans to evaluate the impact of the pilot on student costs and learning, and include it in a global study to determine how useful it could be system wide.

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