TAAPing Into Different Perspectives: Engineering and computer science students support TAAP despite shared frustration with communication  

The transition to TAAP has been met with overall support among students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, but some would like to see more communication. 

On Oct. 5, The Scribe tabled at the Engineering and Applied Science building to gauge student opinions on the new TAAP program. Many students and even the Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, Don Rabern, expressed their lack of knowledge about the program in general.  

While students were generally supportive of the TAAP program, the most common complaint was a lack of transparency and education about it. 

Jake Biles (he/him) – junior in computer science 

Biles said he benefitted from using TAAP, but the communication from the people behind the program has not been great. 

“There’s communication?”  Biles said. Biles wasn’t aware he had a choice to opt out of TAAP, and he ended up buying his books outside of TAAP and had to get a refund because he didn’t know the program was new.  

Despite the initial confusion, Biles said he hasn’t had any trouble acquiring course materials and believes he paid less for them because of TAAP. “It makes it a lot easier. It makes it much, much more simple and straightforward. I just wish they were more open about what it’s doing.”  

Biles said he would be in favor of seeing TAAP continue in future semesters. 

Phillip Albrecht (he/him) – junior in electrical engineering 

Albrecht said TAAP has helped him in some ways but hurt in others. He wishes there was a way he could TAAP out of certain classes. “Either I have the book from a previous class … or it’s cheaper [elsewhere] or somebody else had it,” he said. 

The communication from TAAP has been overall good for Albrecht, but he mentioned he had trouble getting two textbooks from TAAP. “I never got my Python book,” Albrecht said, “and then we got [another] book like four weeks late.”  

To keep up in class, Albrecht bought the textbook on Amazon because it was late, so he tried to return the late book when it arrived. He has yet to receive a refund. 

Albrecht also mentioned he has two classes that required him to buy kits that were not covered by TAAP, which ended up costing him over $100 per kit. He believed he paid more for his materials because of TAAP but was not certain. 

Albrecht said he would not be in favor of seeing TAAP continue in future semesters. “I think it might help some freshmen that aren’t prepared, but overall, the majority of students, I don’t think it helps,” he said. 

Garrett Smith (he/him) – junior in computer science 

Smith TAAPed out this semester because most of his classes either didn’t require the textbook, or he found them cheaper or for free online. He believes he has saved a minimum of $88 by not using TAAP, and he has not had any problems with course materials. 

To Smith, TAAP’s communication was very misleading. “It seemed kind of scummy that they made you opt-in by default. I think that’s like, super sketchy” he said. 

“I barely caught it when the semester started. I feel like a lot of people don’t even know that they paid for textbooks this semester,” Smith said. 

Despite TAAPing out, Smith supports seeing TAAP continue for future semesters. He said TAAP is a great tool for a lot of people but thinks students should not be automatically opted in. 

“I know a couple of people who would love to get like every book for every course. If that’s what you want to do, fine, but the default opt in is horrible,” Smith said. 

Cole Powell (he/him) – junior in computer science 

Powell TAAPed in this semester and estimated he would have spent over $400 had he not. One of his books was a month late because they were out, but he noted that this happened to him in the past before TAAP.  

Powell said TAAP is way easier to use than the old system and cheaper. He also liked how TAAP orders each students’ books automatically. 

“I know if I was a freshman, I would definitely love it because it was [frustrating] as a freshman just figuring out how to use the library system — how to log into all of that,” Powell said. “With this, I didn’t even have to look this year.” 

Powell said he would be in favor of seeing TAAP continue in the future. 

Dr. Don Rabern (he/him) – Dean for the College of Engineering and Applied Science 

Rabern said he did not know much about the TAAP program, so he did not have a strong opinion on it. He did mention that many faculty members he’s talked to have said TAAP has gone smoothly, but others have also had an issue with a required book being made optional.  

Until he’s able to see data about how TAAP is affecting students, Rabern said it’s too early to make an assessment about the program and that he’d like to cast judgement with “real life defensible information.” 

“If it proves itself that it’s a cost savings, it’s convenient and we’re able to still achieve educational outcomes, then I think it’s good,” Rabern said. “But I think it has to prove itself to make sure that we meet a high standard for convenience for faculty and students.” 

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.    

Michael Bihn, a UCCS student, provides feedback on the TAAP program in the Engineering building. Photo by Meghan Germain.