TAAPing Into Different Perspectives: Education students experienced delays in accessing course materials

The Scribe tabled across campus for the week of Nov. 6 to gauge student and faculty opinions on the TAAP program from the College of Education.  

Although the program was met with overall support, the biggest complaint from students and faculty was that some students didn’t receive their course materials in a timely manner, causing larger issues across the program. 

Abby Hart (she/her) – graduate student in counseling 

Hart stayed TAAPed in because it was the easiest option for her. “It seemed like all our professors wanted us to just do it that way,” she said. 

While Hart said the communication from TAAP was good, she also felt like the program was sprung on students. “It just kind of happened, and then after that, we got all of the communication about it,” she said. 

One of Hart’s books was delayed, so she didn’t have access to it at the beginning of the semester. “I ended up just going and getting it from the actual seller because I didn’t really want to wait,” she said.  

Hart said that the professor for that class uploaded the reading every week for students who didn’t have access to the book until it arrived. 

Despite this complication, Hart still prefers TAAP over the previous system and will use it in the future. She enjoys the ease of not having to search for her own books and the convenience of having all of them in one place. 

Amanda Aerts (she/her) – senior in chemistry – secondary education 

Aerts TAAPed in this semester, but it wasn’t a conscious decision. “I didn’t even really know I was TAAPed in until I got the emails,” she said.  

Aerts had already bought all of her course materials before she got the email from the bookstore that she had materials to pick up, but she said it did not have a huge financial impact on her since she is an out-of-state student who already spends a lot of money for school. Even though TAAP didn’t affect her semester that much, Aerts still would have preferred to not be automatically opted into the program. 

While Aerts didn’t personally benefit from the program, she is in favor of seeing the program continue because she thinks it’s helpful for first year students who may not know what books they need. 

Henrietta Pichon (she/her) – dean of the College of Education 

Pichon thinks TAAP has the potential to be very beneficial for students, but she said her college in particular experienced several issues with receiving materials in a timely manner.  

To accommodate for these issues, Pichon said faculty members had to provide alternative assignments until materials arrived, noting several were trying to figure out if it was a breach of copyright to photocopy and post materials for their classes. 

According to Pichon, several faculty members who were assigned classes early secured timely course material adoption, but faculty who were assigned classes later could not. 

“Also, when these issues arose, there was no system in place to allow the department chairs and/or deans to know that adoptions were not submitted and/or were creating issues for students,” Pichon said.  

Pichon accredits these issues to both the TAAP staff and faculty still learning how to navigate the program. She said faculty from her college are already working with TAAP staff to reduce these issues for future semesters. 

“Processes for course material adoption are being reviewed as well as timeliness. We have to figure out which course material request created challenges and the ramifications of those challenges not being addressed,” Pichon said. 

Pichon feels like the College of Education presents a unique challenge for the TAAP program because of how varied the college is, and she encourages the TAAP team to visit each department and learn how to better accommodate their needs.  

“Our programs represent several different [departments], and we want to make sure that the TAAP staff understand what that looks like and what will work best for our students,” Pichon said. 

Despite the issues facing the college, Pichon thinks TAAP could be very beneficial to students. 

“TAAP could be a great program for students to access course material in a timely and affordable way. It has the potential to revolutionize course material ordering, especially as course material costs continues to rise,” Pichon said. 

Curtis Turner (he/him) – Instructor in the teaching and learning department 

Some of Turner’s students were unable to access their course materials for the first few weeks of classes. To make up for the lack of course materials, he eased up on his reading requirements to accommodate the delay. 

“[TAAP] is a good idea, but it was clunky at the beginning of the semester,” Turner said. 

Turner doesn’t feel TAAP has really helped or hurt his students. “It’s benign,” he said. “Other than possible money savings, it’s the same.” 

Turner is not against seeing TAAP be used in the future, but he does wish that students had the option to TAAP certain classes. He noted students can usually get their books for his classes from a cheaper vendor outside of the program. 

This article and the ones before and after it are part of a series on the different perspectives of TAAP. Click here for the previous article.

Scribe reporters Nick Smith and Tori Smith survey students enrolled in the College of Public Service in Columbine Hall. Photo by Meghan Germain.