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 Public Service.
Students in the college felt that TAAP could give students more agency and need improvement in areas of communication, but faculty from the college felt that TAAP is a step in the right direction in making materials more affordable for students.
Amanda Savoie (she/her) – graduate student in social work
Savoie TAAPed in, but she felt her decision was rushed. “I didn’t really feel like I had time to think about it or know what my choices [were],” she said.
Savoie’s biggest frustration with the program is that she won’t have access to her digital materials after this semester.
As a social work student, one of Savoie’s materials is the DSM-5-TR, a book used to diagnose mental disorders. “That’s like [clinical social workers’] flagship, and they take it into their career, and now I’m going to have to buy it again,” she said.
Savoie paid around $600 for course materials in previous semesters, so TAAP did save her money. However, she doesn’t feel like it was worth it since she plans on rebuying the DSM-5-TR after the semester is over, which can cost up to $200.
Savoie does not want to use TAAP in the future unless the program makes some changes. “I just want that access back to be able to have that autonomy over what I do want or don’t want,” she said.
If TAAP allowed students to choose between physical or digital textbooks, Savoie said she would TAAP in again.
Catherine Simmons (she/her) – department chair in social work
While Simmons agrees that the DSM-5-TR is an important tool for students to have post-graduation, she said most professional social work agencies have physical and digital copies of the book available to the professionals who need them.
Simmons recommended two suggestions for students concerned about accessing the DSM-5-TR with TAAP. “Some students may choose to use TAAP and wait until they are in practice to buy the DSM-5-TR. Others may opt out for the semester that they choose to buy it. In all cases, it is a personal choice,” she said.
Simmons feels that TAAP lessens the trade-off between cost and quality. “The TAAP program allows us to easily find a balance. They ensure that students receive high-quality, low-cost course materials,” she said.
On the faculty side, Simmons feels that the communication from TAAP has been going smoothly. “The UCCS bookstore did a fabulous job working with the faculty to ensure we have our orders in with enough time for them to make the process as seamless as possible,” she said.
Alejandra Rodrigues (she/her) – senior in criminal justice and psychology
Rodrigues TAAPed in because she thought it was going to make the process of getting textbooks less stressful, but the program instead made the beginning of her semester more stressful.
Rodrigues struggled to communicate with the Campus Store, noting she never received an email that her textbooks were ready. “The employees seem to have been ill-prepared for the TAAP program,” she said.
Rodrigues tried to call the Campus Store to ask when her books would be ready, but they couldn’t help her. She eventually picked up her books a month into the semester.
“I feel like it was kind of an expectation that by the first day of class, everybody would have their textbooks,” Rodrigues said. “That was the idea in theory, but it didn’t work out.”
Rodrigues had to wait so long for her books that she got less time on some assignments, which added some unnecessary stress to her semester.
TAAP also ended up being more expensive for Rodrigues because she paid $374 for three textbooks through the program, which she said she probably could have gotten for around $200.
Rodriguez does not plan on using TAAP next semester, but she may TAAP in for future semesters if some improvements are made.
“If they just streamlined the process, if they had given us more information about it, if the people at the bookstore were more informed on the TAAP program … then it might have been less stressful, and I might be willing to pay the extra dough,” Rodriguez said.
David Moon (he/him) – department chair for public administration
Moon feels that TAAP is a great opportunity to reduce costs for students while getting them their course materials early in the semester. “I think timeliness is better than it’s ever been because I would have students add the course late,” he said.
One issue that Moon had with TAAP was that some courses had not been assigned professors by the due date, so they couldn’t select their course materials for TAAP.
According to Moon, the program did accommodate for those courses. “I think it’s been an exercise in communication rather than a real problem with the program,” he said.
Before TAAP, the university was pushing professors to redesign their courses using Open Educational Resources to make materials free. “It is a huge amount of work for an individual faculty member to find and make equivalent [OER].” Moon said.
Moon feels that TAAP is a great alternative for professors who are overwhelmed by trying to find OER and lets them give students access to cheaper course materials without having to spend a lot of time redesigning their courses.
Even after the introduction of TAAP, Moon said the College of Public Service has not seen a decline in use of OER.
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.